Sounds of Sirens

Climate scientists have been sounding the alarm for some time. Many of you will have heard of young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and her now famous speech to the World Economic Forum in January in which she urged us all to “… act as if the house was on fire. Because it is.” 

The acknowledged crisis-state of the environment has sparked activity at the local level, where municipalities, including the three on the Saanich Peninsula, as well as the Capital Regional District, have entertained (some have passed) motions declaring a Climate Emergency. Reaction at the municipal and regional level is highly appropriate given most of our country’s infrastructure is controlled by these levels of government and they/we have much to lose economically, environmentally, and from a community health perspective were damage resulting from climate breakdown to occur. Think of the devastation wrought by forest fires and flooding.   

The main goal of the local declarations of climate emergencies is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Is that enough? Cutting emissions is an important start. Influencing others to do the same is important. Recently, in Vancouver, Council adopted a climate emergency plan that arrived at “six big moves” for pollution reduction. The six areas of action are: 1) Walkable complete communities. 2) Safe and convenient active transportation and transit. 3) Pollution-free cars, trucks, and buses. 4) Zero-emission space and water heating. 5) Lower carbon construction. 6) Restored forests and coasts. In addition to these targets, Vancouver council also approved an impressive list of 53 “accelerated actions” that will ramp-up local action right away.  

Vancouver is an inspiring example of municipal leadership in this regard. Let us also be seen to be acting as if our house was on fire and use public money to support the urgent opportunity rather than subsidizing the economy of the past. 

Denny Warner,

Executive Director


Comments (2)

  • Karen Naylor

    I’m afraid your information is not entirely correct, i.e. there are many scientists who do not acknowledge a climate emergency. It’s hard to go against the force of media reports that tell us it’s time to panic, but in the interests of seeking truth through evidence, I believe it is important to keep our minds open to another point of view.

  • Andrew Bradley

    Whether you believe in climate change due to human activities or not the facts are that climate change IS occurring, naturally or otherwise, that humans substantially pollute and contribute green house emissions that wouldn’t occur if we were not here, that we are guests on this planet and WE need the planet…..the planet does NOT need us!
    For our species to survive we should be one with the planet, we should respect our host, reduce our footprint radically and be prepared to change as the planet changes.
    The fact that there are still many individuals who don’t believe in climate change is sheer lunacy and a total disservice to our species.
    Thankfully governments on all levels are starting to take notice, whether for the right reasons or not, and forcing change.
    Kudos to our own local municipalities and Vancouver for acknowledging what is plainly in sight.

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