Share Royal Roads Online

Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency

May 17, 2021
Catherine Etmanski
A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency

A Message from Seth Klein on the Climate Emergency Unit

Image credits: Joseph Sydney Hallam (left); Meital Smith (right)

On January 22, 2021, Seth Klein (author of A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency), spoke on a panel with Jess Housty and Joanna Kerr as part of the School of Leadership Studies’ Leading in Extraordinary Times webinar series. Hosted by the MA-Leadership, Executive Leadership specialization, the panel explored how bold leaders and organizations were mobilizing for the climate emergency. You can view the recording here.

In this blog post, we share an update on Seth Klein’s recent initiatives, especially the Climate Emergency Unit.

Although the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to be front of mind, as RRU’s MA in Climate Action Leadership Program Head, Dr. Robin Cox reminds us, there’s no vaccine for climate change.

In the words below, Seth shares how everyday citizens can stay informed and get involved in mobilizing Canada to address the climate emergency.


Dear friends,

Quote by C.D. Howe

Today, I’m writing to share some very exciting news – the launch of a new 5-year initiative, the Climate Emergency Unit. The response to A Good War has been very enthusiastic and gratifying. I’ve been giving about three book-related talks a week since the book was released in early September 2020. The book’s message about the urgent need for a new, more ambitious approach to tackling the climate crisis, and its hopeful example of what wartime-scale action can actually look like, seems to have landed just when people were ready for it.

Like many of you, I’m now keen to spend the next few decisive years singularly focused on advancing the emergency ideas outlined in A Good War. Today, I invite you to join me in that task. Realizing I needed a base and a team with which to do this work, I partnered with the David Suzuki Institute, whose board kindly gave me an institutional home from which to launch this new endeavor. (The DSI is a separate entity from the David Suzuki Foundation; it’s a non-profit, but not a registered charity, which means the Climate Emergency Unit is able to be politically engaged in a way that a charity cannot.) And I’m thrilled to share that I’ve now been joined by a dynamite team. Together, we’re intent on pressing for implementation of true climate emergency policies across Canada. We will encourage governments at all levels and all major institutions to up their level of climate action ambition.

I invite you to check out the Climate Emergency Unit’s website here to learn more about us, our plans and our team.

The CEU will be producing a regular e-newsletter (issued about once a month). Our e-newsletter will share news, updates and campaign ideas from the Climate Emergency Unit. We’ll invite you to take action in various ways on this task of our lives.

If you’d like to receive the CEU newsletter, I invite you to sign-up here

These next few years are all about speed and scale, as we seek to rapidly decarbonize and electrify our society and economy while enhancing social justice and equity. We all need to press our governments to take wartime-scale actions on the climate crisis. Join us!



P.S. You might be pleased to know that, after one of my recent webinars, I woman in Kingston named Mary Jane Philp decided to purchase 338 copies of A Good War and deliver it to every MP in Canada. You can see more about what she did here. Now, no matter where you live in Canada, your MP has received my book. Feel free to contact them, ask them if they have read the book, and press them about what they are doing to move Canada into emergency mode.

P.P.S. I’m now writing a twice-monthly column from the National Observer, in which I share ideas for climate emergency mobilization. You can find recent editions here.


Interested in learning more about Climate Action Leadership at RRU? Check out these recent webinar recordings:

What does it mean to be a climate action leader?
Climate Action: Designing with Policy in Mind