West Kootenays showed up strong for bold climate action

by Montana Burgess

Last night, I had the great privilege of co-facilitating Nelson’s Climate Action Town Hall, hosted by Kootenay-Columbia Member of Parliament, Wayne Stetski. Almost 250 Nelson and area residents packed into the Prestige Lakeside Resort’s meeting room. It’s not too late to add your voice.

>Click here to send your message to Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister<

There were presentations from all sorts of community members. People from high school, peace groups, unions, faith groups, seniors, women’s groups and environmental groups gave 2-minute speeches sharing what they wanted to see in Canada’s climate plan. The messages citizens shared included wanting:

  • a just transition for workers to 100% renewable energy and green jobs
  • a price on carbon
  • real consultations with Indigenous Peoples and First Nations
  • oil kept in the ground
  • no new pipelines
  • Canada’s involvement in war halted
  • Canada to actually keep its promise to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius
  • the government to adopt a carbon pollution reduction goal that is in-line with the science because individual action is not enough
  • industry to be regulated and big oil to pay its fair share
  • Canada to stop funding and subsidizing fossil fuel companies

I was touched by many of the articulate and passionate speeches. Three high school students delivered the last presentation, Hannah, Lena and Andi. Their message was clear: young people care, they have the most to lose and need adults to do more and so they can have a good future. The final word on what we need to do as a country should come from younger people in these town halls, who have their whole lives at stake.

After the town hall, citizens had the opportunity to sign postcards, write letters, draw, decorate banners, and record video messages for the Government. We loaded up all of the messages and gave them to MP Wayne Stetski, who promised to take them to Ottawa and deliver them to Minister McKenna, head of Environment and Climate Change for the Government. We’ll also send the notes and video recording of the town hall proceedings to national decision-makers. But we need to do more.

If you missed the Nelson town hall you can participate through the Government’s website, send mail or email. This is your once in your lifetime opportunity to speak up for bold climate action, while we still have time to act. If enough of us speak loudly enough, they will listen.Let’s flood the online climate consultations for a climate future that keeps oil in the ground, and transitions to green jobs and 100% renewable energy, while providing justice and reconciliation for Indigenous Peoples. You can make your West Kootenay voice count.