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October 20, 2021

Climate action group celebrates first year

grey bruce climate action network 2021 report

In the past, local climate action groups across Bruce, Grey, and Simcoe counties worked in isolation from each other. That changed a year ago when representatives from nine groups (Blue Mountains, Collingwood, Georgian Bluffs, Grey Highlands, Meaford, Northern Bruce Peninsula, Owen Sound, Saugeen Shores, and West Grey) formed the Grey Bruce Climate Action Network, to work on issues affecting all the counties. The Network has just completed its first annual report.

“There is immense strength in numbers and in collaboration,” said Marilyn Struthers of Georgian Bluffs, “and we can now work powerfully together locally and regionally as well.” Struthers said the Network’s first year involved a mapping project to show the progress Grey and Bruce Counties and lower-tier municipalities have made toward climate action. The Network advocated for the restoration and preservation of the important role of the Conservation Authorities.

The creation of the Network coincides with progress at regional and local levels, says the annual report. For example, Grey County now has a draft Climate Change Action Plan and a Manager of Climate Change Initiatives, Georgian Bluffs has hired a Climate Action Coordinator and will be developing a climate action plan, and Owen Sound has employed a climate lens for revising its official plan as a step toward developing a climate action plan — all done with encouragement from local climate action groups and the region-wide Network. Local activities have included urging other councils to develop climate action plans and encouraging the development of waste diversion facilities for styrofoam and plastic film recycling

“Our Network is off to a strong start,” said Odette Bartnicki from Saugeen Shores. “This summer showed us how close every part of our country is to climate disaster. But working locally and regionally complements what must be done nationally and globally to keep emergencies from becoming catastrophes.”

The Network also enables each local group to share its successes and pitfalls with other groups. “For us, being copycats is a virtue, not a weakness” said Bartnicki.

“None of what we’ve done would have happened unless several hundred local folks joined their local climate groups in the last three years,” said Joachim Ostertag of Owen Sound. “Working together, we can move from hundreds of activists to thousands. Think of what that means for the achievements we can report on in our Network’s future annual reports.”

Grey County will be hosting three public engagement sessions to gain public feedback on the draft Climate Change Action Plan. Sessions will be held on October 26 at 7:00 p.m., October 27 at 1:00 pm, and October 28 at 5:30 pm. These sessions will be held online using the Zoom platform and will take approximately an hour and 30 minutes. Interested participants are asked to register online at www.grey.ca/ClimateAction.

“Climate change touches everyone and we in Grey County need to do our part to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Grey County Warden Selwyn Hicks. “We need to act today for a better tomorrow for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.”

As Grey County’s population continues to grow, it’s important for the County to understand how to develop sustainably in the context of our changing climate. The Grey County Climate Change Action Plan will establish long-term greenhouse gas reduction targets for County operations, and the Grey County community. It proposes actions to achieve to achieve these targets that also support potential job creation and public health benefits of reducing greenhouse gas pollution.

A draft of the climate change action plan is now available on the County website, www.grey.ca/ClimateAction, for public review and comment. Developed in partnership with ICLEI Canada(link is external), an organization dedicated to environmental sustainability by local governments, the plan identifies several corporate and community strategies for reducing emissions. The key themes identified in the draft plan are buildings, transportation, waste, agriculture, land-use planning, energy, and protection of waterways and shorelines.

Comments on the draft plan can be provided by email to linda.swanston@grey.ca(link sends e-mail) or in-person at one of the three public engagement sessions. County staff are also available to speak to community groups and receive feedback on the plan upon request. If you wish to provide comments another way, please contact Linda Swanston by email or call 519‑372‑0219 ext.1430.

Comments on this draft of the Climate Change Action plan will be accepted until November 5, 2021. Community and stakeholder engagement will continue throughout the lifecycle of the plan.

For more information visit www.grey.ca/ClimateAction.

 


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