Upcoming elections will be critical for climate action
Letter to the Editor
Temperatures are on the rise. Here in the East Kootenay, we haven’t had a moment of –30C temperatures since 2004 in Cranbrook, but have had many days over +40C, and along with this, lots of smoke.
Those are significant historical changes that we can’t ignore.
We need to act and often think that the solutions lie with the province, the federal government, the US or China. In fact, we can do a lot locally, with local governments as leaders and partners in taking climate action to mitigate climate change as well as build resilient communities.
For communities like ours in the East Kootenay, most of our emissions come from buildings and transportation. There are a lot of things that local governments can do to reduce those emissions.
Here are a few:
- Make our communities more bike and pedestrian-friendly with bike lanes, secure parking, more crosswalks painted, downtown blocks open to pedestrians only.
- Change zoning to increase density: more dwellings/lot, smaller setbacks, higher elevations allowed, and less onsite parking. These changes also aid affordability.
- Examine public transportation to look at on-demand services and/or electric buses.
- Advance building Step Codes more quickly so that more energy-efficient homes are built.
- Increase number of electric chargers downtown, on street light poles and city parking lots.
- Reduce speed limits in residential areas.
- Do energy audits on all public buildings and develop plans to make them all emissions-free and more energy efficient.
- All new city vehicles should be electric starting 2024 wherever possible.
- Develop a tree program in public areas and to provide street shading. Plant one tree per resident and incentivize residents to do the same.
- Educate homeowners on how to reduce energy use and take advantage of the many funding opportunities available.
- Look at bulk buys of energy saving commodities such as insulation, low flow shower heads, solar panels and heat pumps.
- Consider adaptation needs such as cooling stations with clean air for the vulnerable population.
There are more but these are actions that will move cities toward the net zero emissions goal in 2050.
In Cranbrook, the city has committed to a reduction of 40% emissions by 2030 so there is a lot of work to be done. That is why our upcoming local elections on October 15, are very important for climate action.
When considering candidates for councils, boards and mayors, be sure to find out where they stand on climate action, and support those who have an awareness of the warming trends and are committed to acting.
The 2022 elections are the most critical for climate action as we need to act now if we are to have a habitable climate for future generations.
East Kootenay Climate Hub