Climate Change is a problem that I think a lot about. Climate Change is also an issue that Tooker cared deeply about and worked tirelessly on.
I think one of the many, many things Tooker did for the environmental movement in Canada was help to put a face to an issue that is so big and so overwhelming that many of us find it impossible to grasp. The causes and effects of climate change are everywhere. Climate Change impacts everything. And that is too big and too scary a concept for most of us to contemplate. So the world needed a person like Tooker, who refused to do what most of us do when something scares us, which is to pretend that it is not happening and hope that it goes away.
Tooker was somehow able to absorb all the terrifying facts about climate change and communicate it to the rest of us in a way that we could understand, and incredibly in a way that we could get excited about. He approached the issue with passion and urgency and refused to go along with the painfully slow and inadequate status quo. When international climate talks broke down in the Hague, largely due to the Canadian government, Tooker burned his passport. When Ralph Klein refused to address a report on the issue, Tooker locked himself in Klein’s vault.
Tooker took climate change seriously. He knew a huge amount about it and could argue his case clearly and convincingly to anyone who dared to doubt its importance. Even more importantly, I think, is that he approached the issue with joy and with deep feeling.
And when I think about Tooker, I think that maybe what made him respond to climate change with such passion was part of what made his life so difficult near its end. Maybe Tooker was able to feel things on a level that most of us can’t, or refuse to, and once you allow yourself to really feel what is happening to our planet, then it is impossible to stand idly by and do nothing.
We need more people to have the courage to feel what I think Tooker felt. That is not an easy thing to do, but we need to support each other, and we also need to remember that there is incredible joy and potential in feeling something deeply. Tooker knew that. I think what must have been so difficult was the fact that the rest of us couldn’t always see that. We couldn’t see that once you allow yourself to feel what is going on, you have to act, and there is enormous joy in that. I want to thank Tooker for pointing us toward that joy.