Members of Climate Change Lobby met with George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (left) when lobbying in Victoria. Photo submitted

Local advocates lobby for climate action

Volunteers met with MLAs in Victoria


British Columbians are bracing for yet another hot and dry summer, following two summers of record wildfires and smoke. In spite of decades of targets and treaties, climate polluting emissions have still not declined globally, nationally, or provincially. The IPCC warned in its report last fall that we need to cut global emissions in half in the next decade or we will hit irreversible tipping points in our climate system.

This news could lead to despair, but not for eight locals who travelled on their own dime to Victoria last month to lobby for climate solutions. They were joined by others from across B.C. to meet with MLAs to gauge their understanding of the climate crisis, and to offer some solutions.

Volunteers from Citizens’ Climate Lobby met with 26 MLAs including George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and local MLA Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources. They hosted meetings with NDP, Liberal and Green Party caucuses and met with the executive director of the BC Climate Action Secretariat.

People like local Uphill Bakery owner David Beringer took time away from his business to go on the lobbying trip because of the urgency he feels about climate change.

Fellow climate lobbyist Judy Betts said, “It was the birth of my first grandchild that prompted me to find the courage to ask our MLAs to take action.”

“Organizing volunteers from across B.C. to converge on Victoria and speak with one voice on climate action is a big task, but it’s important that we show up,” said volunteer Judy O’Leary who co-leads CCL-BC with Laura Sacks. “The oil and gas lobbyists are there pressuring them all the time, so we need to remind our elected officials about the power of constituents’ voices.”

At the meeting with Mungall, they thanked her for her government’s work on CleanBC, and then presented a local petition and an open letter. The ask is for financial supports to be shifted from developing fracked gas and a new LNG industry to communities to help with the costs of reducing emissions and adapting to climate impacts. The petition was signed by hundreds of community members and the open letter was signed by the City of Nelson, Village of Kaslo, and various community groups, businesses and faith organizations.

Since that meeting, the RDCK, who had earlier declared a climate action imperative, also signed the letter at their board meeting on May 16. The Village of Salmo signed on May 28.

Inspired by Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement, youth across the world are conducting school strikes for the climate — including hundreds in Nelson — demanding that everything possible be done to address the climate crisis. Most recently students at L.V. Rogers Secondary conducted a 24-hour sit in for climate action.

“It is time for all levels of government to listen to the people and align policies so we can rapidly reduce emissions,” said Sacks. “More of of us need to speak to our politicians about the urgency of the climate crisis. The time to step up is now.”

Just Posted

Former Nelson swimmers competing in NCAA

Jordan and Kelsey Andrusak will be rivals in in the Western Athletic Conference

CHECK THIS OUT: Don’t let reading fall by the wayside this summer

Avi Silberstein is the children’s librarian at the Nelson Public Library

Kootenay students learn about lake stewardship

Two hundred and fifty students from around Kootenay Lake participated in the Youth Water Festival

Restoration underway on Nelson cenotaph

The Nelson War Memorial was constructed in 1922

Protesters rally in Victoria over newly approved Trans Mountain pipeline

The Still No Consent! No Trans Mountain! 20 kilometre march will end at Island View Beach

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read