A local green group is urging Vernon council to adopt measures to prevent climate change.
Mary Stockdale from the Vernon Climate Action Group says the impact of global warming has been felt locally.
“The loss of jobs in forestry due to pine bark beetles infestations, and the cost to farms and households from increasing violent storms, floods and fires,” Stockdale told council.
The group is asking the city to take several steps (see below) including joining a partnership for climate protection with other Canadian municipalities.
“There are many municipalities around the province and country that are already doing this, so there would be a lot of experience to be able to draw on,” says group member Bill Darnell.
Another recommendation is to form a group to work towards reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Stockdale says the panel could include interested residents and city staff.
“We know there are knowledgeable and energetic residents of Vernon who would be willing to serve as members of this group and basically act as cheerleaders and supporting as we move along this process.”
Council will officially discuss the request at its next meeting.
Councillor Brian Quiring agrees the city could do more to prevent climate change..
“We don’t take any advantage of solar, and we don’t have any electric vehicles in our fleet, except for a scooter. There are a lot of ways we could be leading by example, but we’re not,” said Quiring.
Councillor Juliette Cunningham thanked the group for continuing “the battle” to prevent climate change.
“It is a challenge. There are opposing forces, people are afraid of the economic impact, but we have to look at doing things more sustainably,’ said Cunningham.
Requests made to Vernon council:
1. Become a Partner for Climate Protection through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Penticton, Revelstoke, Kamloops, Kelowna and the RDCO, and over 300 other Canadian municipalities are already partners. The program empowers municipalities to take action against climate change through a five-milestone process that guides members in 1. creating GHG inventories, 2. setting realistic and achievable GHG reduction targets, 3. developing local action plans, and 4. implementing plans using specific, measurable actions to reduce emissions and 5. measuring outcomes.
2. As outlined in West Coast Environmental Law Association’s January 25, 2017 letter, join other local governments and 1. Demand from the fossil fuel industry accountability for the costs of climate change. 2. If necessary, work towards a local government class action law suit to require those who create the greenhouse gases are accountable for their share of the costs.
3. Create a body of interested residents and staff to support and advise the City of Vernon on the transition to a low GHG emissions municipality. We know there are knowledgeable, energetic residents of Vernon who would be willing to serve as a members of this group.