CLIMATE CHANGE | The Five Most Important Climate Solutions for Small Towns in BC

 

By Guy Dauncey —

 

1. Make a Sustainable Transportation Commitment

Aim for zero-carbon future local transportation by creating a walkable downtown community with a great local cycling environment, and by adopting the best policies for ridesharing, car-sharing, transit, transportation demand management, and electric vehicles.

Island Rideshare, Pender Island Car Stops, Kootenay Rideshare, and the Jack Bell Foundation are good rideshare examples. Most electric vehicles have a 100+ km range, so are quite practical for local trips. Grand Forks has built 6 km of multi-purpose bike paths.

2. Make a Sustainable Development Commitment

Foster and encourage the best developments and discourage ‘big box’ out-of-town shopping centres, with zero encroachment on the Agricultural Land Reserve. Adopt an urban containment boundary and use a Sustainable Development Checklist and Scorecard in rezoning and development permit applications, with minimum points needed before approval can be considered

A checklist allows a council to ensure that new developments embrace a high standard of sustainable development design, with points for social, environmental, transportation, and green energy features, as Port Coquitlam, Whistler, Kamloops, Nelson, and Surrey are doing. Ucluelet has created a very comprehensive smart growth strategy.

BC Sustainable Energy Logo

3. Make a Greenest Buildings Commitment

Lobby for provincial policies that would require all new buildings to be zero-carbon passive buildings heated by renewable energy; give property owners floor-space incentives to make their existing buildings more energy efficient; and, plan ahead for renewable energy district heat.

In the UK, all new buildings (urban and rural) must be zero-carbon from 2019; in California all new homes must be zero-net energy starting in 2020. In Berkeley and San Francisco, since 1981, every home must be upgraded to the latest energy standard before it can be sold.

4. Make a Sustainable Local Economy Commitment

Urge your Regional District to target zero waste by 2030; openly oppose the growth of oil tankers, pipelines, and coal exports; reinvest your carbon tax rebates in carbon reduction projects; encourage local businesses to sign up for Vancouver Island Green Business Certification or elsewhere in BC to join Climate Smart; reduce your energy use in all civic operations; encourage a local sharing economy; and, measure and report progress on all five solutions annually.

Saanich and Dawson Creek have established local Carbon Funds; the District of Chetwynd has installed wind turbines and solar panels to power its LED decorations; Burns Lake has created a long-term Community Energy Plan; Quesnel is doing feasibility work on a biomass-based community energy system; and Kimberley has developed a micro-hydro project.

5. Make a Healthy Food, Healthy Nature Commitment

Protect trees and plant new ones; establish more green spaces and community allotments; serve local food on municipal premises; help young farmers to work the land; encourage community fruit-picking; and, protect local forests and watersheds.

Armstrong has developed a great community greenhouse. In Sooke, the Regional Food CHI Society is working to create vibrant, sustainable food systems for the area.

BC Climate Action Toolkit: www.toolkit.bc.ca

Guy Dauncey is a speaker, author, activist, and eco-futurist who works to develop a positive vision of a sustainable future, and to translate that vision into action. He is founder of the BCSEA, co-founder of the Victoria Car Share Cooperative, and the author or co-author of nine books, including The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming. He is completing a new book set in the year 2032, titled City of the Future: A Better World Is Possible.

 

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