By Camille Aubin
Within the last few weeks, there has been an unimaginable amount of extreme climate events. Just to name a few: the historic rainstorm followed by life-threatening flooding in a large portion of central China, western Germany and Belgium, as well as India. Then there were extreme heatwaves in Finland and Ireland. One of the world’s coldest towns, Yakutsk in Russian Siberia, is on fire. A significant drought and wildfire crisis are affecting parts of the U.S. and Brazil. Extreme high temperatures in Canada killed 808 people in B.C. alone. Invermere recently went through a hail-storm that turned its main street into a raging river.
Global warming has been predicted for decades, but its effects are now becoming evident. Talking about climate change is one thing, but seeing it firsthand might change our perspective on the issue and more importantly, perhaps our behaviour.
Our climate is changing, and this means we are at greater risk of more severe and frequent weather events. The summer we have experienced so far is giving us a glimpse of what’s to come.
Rather than asking for better decisions about politics and the environment from the world’s leaders, why not ask our local leaders and councils?
Innovative solutions and technologies in the fields of energy, building, transportation, and planning can significantly reduce emissions. The towns in which we all live have significant carbon footprints due to poor design and planning.
So, what can we do to make things better? With a plate full of responsibilities, councils do their best with their own background and expertise.
Wouldn’t it be helpful if local governments were guided by an environmental expert who can assist and guide them in making environmentally friendly decisions? It’s called a climate change coordinator position. This option was recently introduced by the youth group Columbi-YA at the last council meeting in Invermere.
A climate change coordinator assists local governments in crafting policies around environmental sustainability, greenhouse gas reduction, infrastructure improvements, and other aspects of public services.
Here are a few ideas on how a climate change coordinator could help us do better:
Our towns can be designed, built, managed, and powered in a variety of ways that reduce harmful gas emissions.
A climate change coordinator could play an important role in the downtown revitalization plan of Invermere. The coordinator could use their time, energy, and knowledge to think of a way to improve community accessibility, making it pedestrian friendly rather than car-centric, by investing in safe paths and protected bike lanes, for example.
A climate change coordinator could also help minimize organic waste by improving waste management methods and taking steps to capture and utilize methane emissions from landfills.
Sounds like a lot, eh? This is why we need help and expertise.
In order to think, plan and achieve all of that (as well as tackling other important issues), we need knowledgeable resources, and hiring a climate change coordinator would be an excellent plan.