The Green Party of Nova Scotia recognizes the intricate connections of a healthy environment, conservative use of our natural resources, thriving communities, and a sustainable economy. We consider that people’s needs are best served in community where they are cared for and connected to each other.
The Green Party embraces the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act and the Nova Scotia Genuine Progress Index (GPI) as consistent with our goals. We will incorporate full-cost accounting, using the GPI as a primary measure and a planning guide for economic progress, recognizing that further work on the GPI is planned to include other key dimensions important to the Green Party, such as arts and culture, housing, and governance.
Progress toward sustainable long-term prosperity and well-being requires protection and strengthening of social and environmental assets and termination of damaging activities. The Green Party is committed to work toward reduced exposures to hazardous chemicals and to minimize additional ionizing radiation for all Nova Scotians. The Green Party will apply the precautionary principle with respect to potential exposures for workers, the public, and ecosystems of the province, for their protection and the protection of future generations.
The Green Party of Nova Scotia understands that the corporate ethic of ever-increasing profit is untenable, and will focus on sustainability with a reasonable level of profit security for farmers through a program of investment in the broadest sense.
Nova Scotia needs to support its agricultural sector, ensuring that producers, harvesters, and food processors are able to make an adequate livelihood, and that agricultural production, harvesting, and food processing can be environmentally sustainable. Agriculture is an important part of our economy through direct, indirect, and induced benefits to Nova Scotia.
The Green Party places particular emphasis on organic production. We know that investment in organic food production triples, as it is also an investment in a healthier environment and a healthy population.
There is more value in a local food item than the price tag on a product. There is confidence in the control of the safety and quality of the product, the contribution to food security, reassurance of observance of human rights, support for ecologically sound agriculture, and participation in sustainable communities in Nova Scotia. The Green Party will support these values of agriculture in Nova Scotia as a priority over a multi-national profit margin.
The Green Party recognizes that both misuse of the living surfaces of the planet and energy choices play a significant role in the present climate instability. The Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act requires that the province reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level at least 10% below 1990 levels by 2020. While a number of gases contribute to global warming, the situation with carbon dioxide is of particular concern.
The carbon cycle, one of life’s sustaining systems, is out of balance. We need carbon dioxide in our atmosphere but the concentration is elevated and continuing to rise, with planetary consequences. We have released too much carbon dioxide, particularly through the use of fossil fuels, at the same time as we have reduced Earth’s ability to absorb carbon oxide by our destruction of plant communities, particularly forests.
An important factor in the rising carbon dioxide levels is the loss of biologically diverse vegetation to biologically impoverished or inanimate cover. Failure to protect terrestrial and aquatic flora communities from toxins, over-use, and destruction has significant impacts on carbon dioxide levels as well as other negative impacts on all life cycles.
Carbon dioxide from our use of fossil fuels for energy has been identified as a major contributor to the carbon cycle imbalance. However, evaluating energy choices is not just about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As well as addressing climate change issues, the goal is to reduce the environmental, health, and security risks of our energy choices. Also, our energy options must be assessed from starting materials to waste products.
Community Health and Prosperity
The Green Party of Nova Scotia understands that in order to build and sustain a self-reliant and prosperous province, the basic needs of every Nova Scotian must first be met in their own communities in equitable and inclusive ways. We embrace social justice and respect for diversity as two of our six core principles; and in that, we acknowledge that effective social policy cannot be implemented using a one-size-fits-all framework.
The Green Party of Nova Scotia is committed to the principles of lifelong learning. From preschool through post-secondary to Seniors, we recognizes the importance of education for providing the stimulation and tools for everyone to participate successfully in society. Education is one of the building blocks for a prosperous sustainable future.
We understand that educating youth to succeed in the 21st century economy requires the development of innovative curriculum and investment in new technologies for classrooms across the province. We also understand new technologies in the classroom need to be paired with professional development for teachers, to ensure they are acquainted with the best practices for using these high-tech tools. These requirements put a demand on smaller local schools
The Green Party is concerned that the benefits of these local schools are not being fully valued in closure decisions. Schools are at the heart of a community. Local schools provide better integration of educational programs with parents and caregivers, facilitate access to extracurricular activities, and provide many important services to their communities including space for vibrant community events.
The Green Party recognizes that growing numbers of Nova Scotia children and youth require additional assistance in their classrooms and communities. We believe the school should be a place of whole-child development. In addition to traditional curriculum, children and youth require training in social, emotional and psychological literacy. By establishing a formal interdepartmental strategy involving the social services, health, and education departments, educators will be provided with the support required to address more of their students’ needs.
The Green Party of Nova Scotia sees that Nova Scotian democracy would benefit by reducing the financial barriers to running for political office, decision-making with meaningful participation of the citizens, and change to a voting system that more fairly translates people’s votes into representation in the Legislative Assembly.
Fossil fuel energy has been the driving force since the Industrial Revolution. With the environmental impact of rising levels of greenhouse gases and the level of dependence on insecure sources of fossil fuels in Nova Scotia, the time to transition to secure renewable energy is now.
Nova Scotia gets most of its electricity by burning imported coal. Not only does this produce greenhouse gases and other air contaminants, the importation does not give the province a secure source, and much of the coal is imported from mining companies associated with serious human rights abuses. Natural gas from Nova Scotia’s Offshore is mostly exported to the New England States.
Production from the Sable gas field is producing export royalties rather then being distributed widely to Nova Scotians. The Sable field is expected to play out in about 2012. The Deep Panuke field will carry the supply starting at about this time but will itself play out in approximately 2020. There is no security in these supplies. Millions of dollars have been invested and the Nova Scotia’s 2009 Energy Strategy reports that plans are to continue to invest millions in Offshore petroleum and promoting Onshore petroleum, even though success in Offshore exploration is uncertain and Onshore gas production from unconventional fields like shale and coal is uncertain.
Transportation presents itself as a serious problem as it is the largest user of refined petroleum products in the province. The province does not have an affordable public transportation over much of its area and it offers little for safe, effective bike use. The switch to alternate energy sources in Nova Scotia should begin as soon as possible.
Conservation is by far the cheapest and most doable step. There is also great potential in cogeneration, where energy, especially heat that would normally be wasted from a commercial operation, is recovered for use.
The Green Party of Nova Scotia views health and wellness in a broad sense, emphasizing healthy communities, healthy lifestyles and a healthy environment, not just health care. Strategies to reduce toxins in our environment, address the social determinants of health, and encourage healthy lifestyle choices are important components of the Green Party’s health plan.
The health of Nova Scotians is not only dependent on the health services they receive but on social policy that provides affordable housing, available employment, and accessible education. Health promotion is fiscally prudent and will lead to improved wellness and more affordable health care for Nova Scotians.
The Green Party strongly supports publicly funded health care, which should include both the removal of the financial barrier for the patient, and the reorganization and revamping of the health care social support system. The Green Party believes the Canadian single-payer system has the potential to be affordable, effective and provide care for all Nova Scotians. However, this system requires a change from the current reactive-focused health care system to the implementation of long-term strategies to promote health, prevent illness and build healthy
The Green Party recognizes that in spite of large annual monetary commitments Nova Scotians are still facing several significant challenges to accessing the health care they need and want in their communities. Lack of family physicians, emergency room closures and long wait times, and high drug costs are all crucial challenges facing the health care system in Nova Scotia. The Green Party offers a vision to reform the current system, to tackle these issues and plan for viable, sustainable health care in Nova Scotia for generations to come.
Natural Resources Utilization and Protection
The Green Party is dedicated to the establishment and maintenance of a focus on the respectful, efficient, and conservative use of our natural resources. A healthy environment is fundamental to healthy communities and a secure livelihood.
Developments and broadly based utilizations of our natural resources, both renewable and nonrenewable, need to be evaluated within a comprehensive provincial strategy, incorporating environmental, social, and economic considerations. The acceptability of the utilization of a natural resource at a given location must be evaluated from both the technical and social perspectives.
The Green Party of Nova Scotia recognizes that a plan to build healthy sustainable communities must include a comprehensive strategy that addresses all aspects of poverty in Nova Scotia – its causes and effects. Before we expect Nova Scotians to become active social and economic investors in their communities, we must first ensure that they have secure access to affordable shelter, nutritious food, clean water, and a fair wage.
The Green Party acknowledges the efforts of government departments and non-governmental organizations towards the relief of poverty in Nova Scotia. We support the initiatives highlighted in the document Preventing Poverty, Promoting Prosperity, however we recognize that fundamental policies are missing from this Poverty Reduction Strategy. While poverty reduction strategies are important for immediate relief, in a province wealthy with natural resources and social capital, we should be working towards the elimination of poverty.
Addressing poverty in our communities requires the collaborative effort of all government departments, along with thoughtful, considered policies and flexible service delivery.
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