For Immediate Release - Jul 3, 2019
(Op-Ed) The avalanche of major stories related to the destructive impact of climate change has been relentless and accelerating. Billions of dollars in homes and businesses lost from flooding, near-hurricane winds felt locally, massive crop failures developing globally, wild fires destroying vast areas of forest, growing shortages of fresh water, deadly heat waves in countries that rarely see them and increasing numbers of true hurricanes devastating coastal areas dominate the headlines.
“Climate change is biting hard and poised to get worse.” said Steve Tedesco, Chair of the Transition Guelph Board of Directors.
It’s in this context that Transition Guelph sends kudos to the federal parliament in declaring a climate emergency this past week. This was an important symbolic step in addressing Canada’s contribution to climate change; it also paves the way to meaningful change from ‘business as usual’ and setting priorities for a livable Canada in the future.
Rick Mercer’s clarion call: “C’mon, we’re Canadian. We’re up for a challenge.” may finally be answered – if there is follow-through with significant practical action.
Notably, the Federal declaration has been noticed outside of Canada, which is a good thing. In other news, the Feds turned around and approved the oil pipeline immediately after. A bit of a head-scratcher.
Equally perplexing was Guelph City Council’s failure earlier this June to join hundreds of Canadian cities to declare a climate emergency.
Steve continued, “How is it that one of the most environmentally progressive cities fumbles one of the biggest challenges facing us in generations? Transition Guelph doesn’t normally comment on politics, but this time we just couldn’t stay silent.”
While the federal declaration will help to mitigate this misstep, the symbolic and pragmatic potential missed here by Guelph Council, despite courageous support by some councilors, is a stunning disappointment.
Tedesco concludes, “Transition Guelph calls on Council to make climate change, and strengthening local resilience, a clear priority in all major decisions going forward. ”