The upcoming municipal election is bringing a lot of issues for voters to reflect on. And a local organization is making sure climate is at the forefront.
East Kootenay Climate Hub is putting to all candidates in the local government elections a questionnaire, to get each one’s take on the climate issues of the day.
Meghan Reiser, a member of the East Kootenay Climate Hub, said the group put together questions “focused around climate, emissions reductions and resiliency to extreme weather events.” They have been emailed to all candidates asking them to complete a short survey, where the questions are listed.
“As the candidates respond, we are compiling all the answers, which will be posted on our website on October 3 [eastkootenayclimatehub.ca].”
Reiser said responses from candidates were starting to come in already, as of last week.
“Hopefully we’ll hear from as many candidates as possible.”
Climate change and action to mitigate it are among the most pressing concerns facing the world today. But there is often a public misconception that the local level isn’t where climate action needs to be happening, or that local governments efforts would make no difference in the broad scheme of things. Reiser agrees that that’s a myth. “There’s lots that can happen at the local level,” she said. “For example, emissions are a huge contributor, and at the local level there is a lot of ability to make change in those areas. Transportation, buildings and waste are all key areas where emissions can be reduced at the local level.
“The other thing too is to help us become more resilient to extreme weather events that we know are recurring more frequently as a result of climate change. Things in our area like wildfire risk. At the local level there can be a lot of assistance to help us be more resilient as these things continue to happen.”
Despite scientific evidence, media attention, and changing weather patterns, conspiracy theories and beliefs abound that climate change is not real, is a hoax, or is not as serious as made out to be.
“Unfortunately these attitudes still exist,” Reiser said. “There are still folks that just don’t understand or realize how pressing this issue is. It really shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We all have a vested interest in making sure we’re safe, our environment is safe, that we’re protecting ourselves from those extreme weather events.
“But unfortunately there are still folks who either feel that it’s not real, or if it is real maybe it’s not main priority, or don’t see the extent to which it’s a concern.
“So I think it is really important for us to be asking candidates for their perspectives on these issues, so that folks can make an informed decision in the election.”
The Climate Hub’s outreach with the public has shown there is great interest among voters on these issues, and the candidates’ stance on them.
“One of the things I enjoy about the East Kootenay Climate Hub is that we have members from such a wide range of areas of the community — folks who work in different sectors, different ages, long- Cranbrooktime East Kootenay residents and folks who are more recent to the area. And across all those differences we see this real commitment to climate action, and a concern about it.
“And going beyond that, to people who aren’t members, we still hear a lot of interest in this topic. It is top of mind for a lot of folks.”
The B.C. municipal election is set for Saturday, Oct. 15. The East Kootenay Climate Hub will post the responses from candidates on climate matters to its website — eastkootenayclimatehub.ca — on October 3.