A coalition of climate emergency advocates is challenging municipalities across Simcoe County to make 2020 the year of climate action.
The Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition gathered at Barrie City Hall Wednesday morning to issue the challenge, claiming that about half of all greenhouse gasses produced in Canada is directly or indirectly controlled by municipalities. “Many of the decisions municipalities make can vastly improve our environment and climate,” said coalition member and city Councillor Keenan Aylwin, “Whether this is ensuring people have access to efficient and affordable public transit or whether it’s changing how we develop our communities so that public money is being spent more efficiently to maximize taxpayer dollars already spent on expensive infrastructure.” Aylwin helped craft the city’s Declaration of Climate Emergency several months ago.
Margaret Prophet, Executive Director of the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition, says that climate-resilient communities provide a multiplicity of benefits, including more green spaces, access to local food and support of a thriving local agriculture system, reducing commutes and essential services and amenities easily accessed by transit, biking, or walking. “Some may say that what we are demanding is too much and too radical, but what we are talking about is communities built for all ages and abilities. We are talking about communities where you can safely walk, bike, take transit, and get the services you need. This is especially important as we grow older. Yes, this is different from how most communities are developed now, but it’s not rocket science, and it’s definitely not radical. In fact, many communities outside of Canada are already doing it.”
Dr. Brent Elsey from Barrie DOCS (Doctors on Climate Solutions) says the cost of inaction is too high. “The public health implications in Simcoe County of not dealing with climate change are immense. If we want to ensure a healthy future for all of us, especially our future generations, then we must all work together. The science is clear – without action we face droughts, floods, extreme storms, and many deaths – even in Simcoe County.”
For more information, visit the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition website.