BY JOHN BUTLER FOR SOUTHGREY.CA — Municipalities often publicly embrace climate change action because a group delegation appears before the municipal council, asking it to declare a climate emergency. A different path has emerged in the municipality of Chatsworth. On August 7, Chatsworth climate change activist Vitold Kreutzer, acting as a one-person delegation, addressed Chatsworth Council. Kreutzer, a retired organic baker who had operated his retail bakery in Markdale, brings a certain credibility with him since he lives “off the grid” on his Chatsworth farm, generating electricity via solar panels (soon to be augmented by a small wind turbine).
Kreutzer briefed the Chatsworth Council on the depth of the climate change crisis, but also on positive developments in terms of climate change mobilization within Grey County and globally. He highlighted the great interest across the county in the locally-produced climate change film Resilience, the number of climate action groups that had been created in Grey County and the interest several municipalities had shown in becoming leaders and partners in addressing climate change.
Said Kreutzer: “The solutions to the climate issue may seem insurmountable, paralyzing and overwhelming for any one individual to deal with, let alone to change towards healthy living standards that can sustain future generations – but together this hopelessness can be overcome by the additive energy of each of us sharing, caring and supporting each other, hopefully with the guidance and partnership of our municipal councils.” Kreutzer asserted that the first level of government — the municipal level — is best able to implement effective practices to reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants quickly, because municipal councillors don’t need to check with party policies before acting responsibly.
While not suggesting specific action the Chatsworth Council should take, Kreutzer said “I offer any help in this matter of climate change action that may benefit our home environment. We cannot afford to do nothing.”
Kreutzer’s presentation and offer was well received by Chatsworth Council. Mayor Scott Mackey indicated he had recently viewed the climate change film Resilience and was impressed by it. He also said he had visited Kreutzer’s off-the-grid home and could assure his fellow Council members that Kreuzter’s ecologically-aware lifestyle was far from primitive or unconnected. Kreutzer responded by inviting any interested Councillors to visit him, to see his approach to sustainable green living and to talk further about climate change action.
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