Deep Dive Discussion

October 29, 2020

COVID and Climate Change

Anything you noticed during Covid that is positive with respect to climate change: in the environment, in your lifestyle, etc.

  • Clear blue skies, less air pollution, quieter (fewer planes & vehicles)

  • More birds & wildlife

  • More people active outdoors (cycling, hiking, walking) & around home (hobbies)


Does our shared national experience and your personal experience with COVID-19 hold lessons on how to fight climate change?

  • Governments can respond quickly. If they want to do something, it can be done. Red tape disappears.

  • Working from home is a viable option for many (though for some is too isolating); saves money, time and reduces emission.

  • Humanity proved that we can slow down, and that we can reduce our carbon footprint.


How can economic recovery funding help a transition to a green economy?

  • Federal COVID recovery funding = $10 Billion. Is it best to target a few highly effective areas versus spreading funds thinly?

  • HFCs (refrigerant emissions) are 100 times worse than CO2. Since HFC alternatives already exist, governments should be targeting this.

  • Municipalities can act more quickly than higher levels of government as they can enact local bylaws.

  • Local bylaw ideas to reduce emissions: road tax proportionate to size of vehicle, use funding to subsidize e-transport, set tight emissions standards, free parking for EVs, incentives to improve energy efficiency of buildings, tighter building codes, ban single use plastics, no drive-thrus, restrict idling.

  • Research station could study regenerative agriculture methods, carbon sequestration, etc.

  • Existing sustainable grape growing program could be expanded.


What does a just and sustainable recovery mean and, should it happen, how do you imagine it will affect you and your community?
Reviewed the 6 principles of a Just Recovery before breaking into groups to discuss local ideas.

  • Agricultural land important.

  • Eating locally reduces a person’s carbon footprint (and increases their health!).

  • Locally generated electricity would make us less dependent on the big grid and more resilient to weather or fire related outages.

  • Food security really important!

  • Government incentives are important. Need to ensure incentives don’t exclude those with limited incomes.

  • Carbon fee is the best way to lower our carbon emissions. It is also the fairest way as those with lower incomes, who typically emit less, receive larger rebates.

  • Strengthening the safety net is hard because it involves 3 levels of government.

  • Reforestation and forest management projects are important.

  • Educate girls, e.g. provide scholarships.

  • We already have the science to draw our global emissions down, just need to do it! Drawdown provides solutions.

  • Local governments can do a lot.

  • Example of a Penticton project: 20 families had 2 garden beds built for them by the Co-Vic Garden Box Project. Vegetables from one bed were picked by the foodbank, the other was used by the family. Very positive feedback.


Closing thoughts?

  • Interesting discussion but how do we mobilize?

  • Can we form an action plan that we could use at the local level?

  • Liked the format and length of the discussion.

Please put your town in "Notes"

© 2020 First Things First Okanagan

First Things First Okanagan is a non-profit society encouraging the public and all levels of government to take actions to halt climate change.