The Capital Regional District (CRD), and many municipalities within it, have set themselves a lofty goal to become carbon neutral in a little over a decade.
Making this plan a reality requires detailed process, says Highlands councillor Ann Baird.
“If we’re going to do this, then we have to do it right, or else it’s a waste of time,” she adds.
While most local officials widely agree that the plan to make the region energy efficient was important, many aren’t clear on what this means, she said.
The region is still in the process of declaring an emergency and committing to climate neutrality, but rather than having an empty plan, Baird said, decision-making can be better served even in early stages by having a outline to follow.
“What if the CRD created it’s own community carbon market place… Let’s start having a conversation about how we can do our job in the south Island and create a movement.”
It starts with being honest and talking about what it means to avoid a climate catastrophe and taking steps to have a livable planet, Baird added.
She began researching the issue and wrote a preliminary report on the need to count emissions and the steps the region could take to offset their carbon.
This involves deciding on the method of counting emissions. For instance, China shouldn’t be blamed for the products we throw away, she says.
“It’s us that created the problem by buying all these goods. Who counts it? It’s a complicated question.”
As a relatively wealthy community, Greater Victorians fly “a lot,” Baird says. Local tourism and the economy as well rely on aviation. These emissions must be counted to achieve true carbon neutrality, she points out.
“We can’t fix this… unless we think globally and act locally,” she added. “We can’t ignore reality just because it’s uncomfortable.”
Her report has been shared with her colleagues at the CRD Climate Action Task Force and is slated to be discussed in an upcoming meeting, she said.
It discusses plans to offset emissions by using building materials that sequester carbon, farming organically without fertilizers and pesticides, creating wetlands and planting a new food forest.