Week 7: Where Does Your Government Stand?
By Sherri Jackson and Laurel Hood, 52 Weeks of Climate Action
Over the past weeks, we’ve looked at our carbon footprint. We’ve gotten familiar with what climate change looks like, and hopefully we each have a clearer picture of how urgent the situation is, and where change is needed - both in our own lives, and in the greater community.
This week, we’re finding out what each level of government is doing (or not doing), and looking at strategies each level of government could be implementing to become part of the solution.
The reality is that nothing can substantially change if our governments are not on board, and actively working towards transforming our communities and our economies through serious and committed focus on sustainability. Many communities have declared “Climate Emergencies”. But what does that really mean, if it isn’t backed up with a strategy to address it? There isn’t any more time available for political lip service. We need to hold our governments accountable for the decisions they make, and for the promises they have made to us. A moving target of reduced emissions decades in the future does nothing to ensure a livable future for the next generation. And, in our CoVid recovery, we have an obligation as citizens to ensure we build back better, and expect more from our governments in the process.
Challenge 7a: Get informed about your governments’ strategy for climate change
Local Municipal Governments
The following links will take you to the strategic plans for communities in Simcoe County. For those of you outside that region, you can follow the links on your own government’s website.
Collingwood is currently updating its strategic plan. See the latest here.
Challenge 7b: What can governments do
Now that you know what your governments propose they’ll do, take a look at what other governments have already implemented. The good news is, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are many examples of communities taking action, in ways that work best for them. It’s having positive effects on more than just the environment. Improved health, better public transit systems, and more community engagement. So, imagine the possibilities outlined in the links below, and brainstorm what could work for your own community. Jot down your ideas, concerns and hopes. 22 things cities (and smaller towns) can do: Look at the big picture on pages 12-13.
30 things regional and provincial governments can do: Look at the big picture on page 8.
The Exponential Roadmap: Scaling 36 Solutions To Halve Emissions By 2030: Browse through pages 119-139 Cities and Climate Leadership.
Canadian Institute for Climate Choices: This think tank gets federal funding but no government representation on their board of directors.
Building a greener Vancouver, one house at a time | Canadian Institute for Climate Choices Keep track of the good ideas you encounter, and thoughts on what could work for your own community. Because next week, we’re going to contact our government representatives, tell them our concerns and what matters to us, and let them know what we want to see in the stimulus packages, and in environmental policy as we move toward recovery.
Yours in Sustainability,
Sherri & Laurel