Climate change ( A letter written in response to a concerned islander).

Thank you for your helpful suggestions. You raise very serious issues which need to be addressed by all of us.

Unlike the remediation of water quality in St Mary Lake and the protection of our watersheds, the solutions to climate change are so dependent on the actions of those in other parts of the world over whom we have no control that it has the capacity to render any action and investment we make futile. That is not an excuse for inaction on our part, but it should cause us to carefully consider what resources we ask our communities to expend when all our efforts might well be in vain. A recent report in the Vancouver Sun about the effect of additional cars in the developing world over the next few years says it all….”the increase will negate all the gains made in recent years”.

The powers possessed by the LTC to tackle this issue are extremely limited. Climate action and reducing GHG emissions need provincial and federal support to make meaningful strides. At a time when both those governments are seeking to expand resource extraction and fossil fuel exploration, it’s akin to Salt Spring trying to fill in a hole with a teaspoon while the provincial and federal governments keep digging it out with a backhoe.

If Salt Spring stopped producing any GHGs tomorrow, our collective contribution to a reduction in Canada’s GHG emission would be something less 0.03%. If we are to make a meaningful difference, then we have to encourage, cajole and lobby both federal and provincial governments to lead the change. Stopping all GHGs on Salt Spring is going to be far less impactful than if we work towards having the provincial and federal governments make legislative changes that in one stroke will achieve more than we can ever do locally.  Changes to building codes to increase insulation requirements, the use of solar energy, rainwater capture and higher standards for septic systems could have a huge and meaningful effect.

Having said that, we cannot ignore what is staring us in the face and must work diligently to do what we can where we can. Dealing with climate concerns must be on everyone’s agenda and each of us must take responsibility. And dealing with the effects of climate change must be incorporated into the OCP including issues relating to water quantity, quality, sea levels and fire risks.

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