The West Kootenay EcoSociety will kick off its new initiative, 100% Renewable Kootenays, supporting clean energy, green jobs, and a healthy planet on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Nelson Legion Hall. The aim of this campaign is to transition the West Kootenay from fossil fuels to renewable energy by mid-century.
“We’ve been saying ‘no’ for so long; no to pipelines, super tankers, and developments,” said EcoSociety executive director Montana Burgess. “While we still have to oppose big oil expanding, we now have an opportunity to say yes. We can say yes to local renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions,”
The EcoSociety hopes to get one-third of residents in each West Kootenay community to sign a petition, as well as bring together businesses, organizations, and institutions to endorse the transition to entirely renewable energy no later than 2050.
“The organizing team for the campaign launch party and fundraiser event is pretty amazing. There are four high school students, several retired folks, and men and women of all ages in-between. Their enthusiasm and creative ideas to kick-off the transition for our renewable energy future inspires me every day,” said Burgess.
The campaign kick-off and fundraiser will include a silent auction with donated items from local businesses, a used book sale, silk screening, community discussion on solutions, snacks and drinks for purchase, as well as a performance by the local folk band, First After the Fire.
“We can build the local self-reliant community we want, complete with green jobs,” said EcoSociety organizer Keith Wiley. “On June 18 we’re going to start figuring out how to do this together, as a community.”
The 100% Renewable Kootenays campaign will work to ensure the West Kootenay phases out fossil fuels by 2050 and transitions to entirely renewable energy in all sectors including: electricity, heating and cooling, and transportation. To meet this commitment, key cities and districts must commit to this long-term goal, create plans to ensure their community transitions to entirely renewables, and put staff in place to lead the work at the community-level in the near and long-term.
The municipal transition plans will inspire and serve as feasible and ambitious templates for other rural and small communities in Canada and internationally to plan their transition to renewable energy. In Canada, Vancouver and Oxford County, Ont. have already made this commitment to renewable energy and are working on developing strategy and implementing plans.