The Gleaner

Bold action on the environment is needed at the local level

At the moment, we are on a fast track to devastation that will only be slowed by strong action to reduce carbon emissions. We need to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, but the status quo will see a global increase of 2.7 degrees – a fact our politicians have only recently admitted. We are past the time to insist on a “gentle” transition away from fossil fuels, coal, and other polluting power sources.

From October 31 to November 12, world leaders will be gathering in Glasgow as the United Kingdom hosts the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). The aim of the summit is to bring parties together to accelerate actions to keep the world just teetering at the brink of catastrophic global warming and not falling over the edge.

International pledges can feel so far removed from our daily lives. Something to bear in mind, however, and especially as we go to the polls during this municipal election period, is that promises without action shouldn’t be accepted at the local level either.

Individually, we can all make small changes to our lifestyles that will have a collective impact, but our municipalities have a significant influence on our services as well – not least on the manner in which our villages and towns develop.

The Kahnawà:ke Environment Protection Office’s (KEPO) Há’o Tewaiéntho! Let’s Plant! initiative is an excellent example of community-based adaptation and planning to mitigate climate change and warming temperatures. And this is just one of a host of programs and initiatives coming out of KEPO to counter climate change at the micro-level.

Hopefully our local candidates will consider integrating such bold ideas into their planning, particularly where so many municipalities are seeing new suburban-style developments take root. Such developments traditionally prioritize concrete and cars over vegetation and green community spaces.

Development is shaping up to be a significant issue in the Valley, along with many others that will have an impact on our environment. Our municipal representatives have significant say in the form new developments will take, and it is our responsibility to ensure that the decisions made now consider the long-term effects on a growing Valley.
Sarah Rennie

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