Local Climate Program Moving to Action Phase
Kamloops, March 21, 2023 – The IPCC report issued a stark warning in its report yesterday: we need to increase both the pace and the scale of our response to the climate crisis. A collaboration of non-profit groups is determined to contribute to that effort on the local level.
Since January, Transition Kamloops has been partnering with the Kamloops Food Policy Council and the Kamloops Naturalist Club to deliver an ambitious, 3-step climate action program:
- Learning about the challenges around climate change and solutions that are being implemented around the world;
- Identifying opportunities for building local resilience;
- Taking action! Developing and implementing a “made-in-Kamloops” plan.
The local groups were stunned by the huge response: almost 300 people expressed interest in the program, and over 160 signed up for the 12-week online course. “Those numbers tell us that the last few years of wildfires and floods have already made the consequences of climate change very real for us here in Kamloops—folks are very motivated to do what we can to mitigate further impacts,” says Gisela Ruckert, an organizer with Transition Kamloops.
Discussions among program participants have already generated a lot of creative ideas on ways to make a tangible difference in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and also preparing for a more unstable climate here in Kamloops. Those ideas and more will be the topic of discussion on April 29 at a one day community dialogue the organizers are dubbing Action Fest. The event will be a chance for the whole community to select and commit to implementing one or more local resilience-building projects. Details will be available soon on the Transition Kamloops website.
“Everyone who is interested in working on local climate action projects over the next months is invited to come out on April 29 and brainstorm with us,” says Ruckert. “The projects themselves are important, of course, but one of the many co-benefits of this project is strengthening connections between the people in our community. In the end, resilience IS connection. Also, we know that the single biggest power to fight climate change is the power over land use, which is a municipal power―so the local level is a really critical place to engage.”
The City of Kamloops already has a Community Climate Action Plan, with goals to make changes in the transportation sector, in the energy-efficiency of our buildings, and in land-use ― for example enhancing natural areas to support biodiversity. “We need to make it easier for people’s everyday activities to have a low, or neutral carbon impact,” says Jess Payette of the Kamloops Food Policy Council. “We need to re-localize our food system so everyone can enjoy an abundance of food, without relying on importing crops we can grow ourselves. We need to rethink how we are designing our city so that getting around on transit, foot, or bicycle is the easiest and most pleasant way to travel. The City plan is a good start, but we need to do more to involve the community.”
“It’s not too late to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” says Ruckert. “But we need to get on it. The longer we delay, the harder and more expensive it gets. We know how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions― we just need to get serious about doing it. As Antonio Guterres said yesterday, we need to do ‘everything, everywhere, all at once.’”
Local champions are stepping up to lead―and they’re calling on Kamloopsians to join them.