Parents, teachers and citizens alike united to march from Uptown shopping centre to the Greater Victoria School Board office on Boleskine Road on Monday to support trustee Jordan Watters’ climate emergency motion. (Parents 4 Climate/Facebook)

Victoria School Board latest to recognize climate emergency

‘Kids are hungry for adults to show action,’ trustee says

Members of the Parents 4 Climate group walked from Uptown shopping centre to the Greater Victoria School Board head office on Boleskine Road to support Monday night’s climate emergency motion.

The Parents 4 Climate group emerged earlier this year in support of the youth climate strikes happening in front of the legislature. They’ve also supported SD61 board chair Jordan Watters’ advance motion that the district develop a Climate Action Plan. That motion came before the district’s Operations Policy and Planning committee on Monday and will next come before the school board for final approval at the June 24 meeting.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently found limiting global warming to 1.5 C is still possible if there is a 45 per cent reduction of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

SD61 is believed to be the first school district in the province to adopt a climate emergency recognition and in doing so, will join the Capital Regional District, Victoria, View Royal, Esquimalt, Saanich, Sidney, Highlands, Oak Bay, Sooke and Colwood.

READ MORE: Victoria youth head to B.C. legislature for climate strike

“Kids are hungry for adults to show leadership around this,” Watters said. “It can’t just be lip service, it has to be action. We are truly called to act. It’s an emergency and the youth know that.”

Watters’ comment is also a claim that the Climate Action Plan needs to “have teeth” to ensure it is effective.

“We’re asking for an action plan, with targets, so that there can be some accountability built in.”

Once approved, SD61’s facilities department would be directed to create a plan with targets and strategies to see the line of greenhouse gas emissions decline, Watters said. SD61’s facilities department already files a carbon neutrality report with the province. This would take it one step further, though Watters’ can’t speculate on exactly what types of changes could be implemented. As an organization most of SD61’s emissions are from buildings and transportation.

READ ALSO: CRD endorses climate emergency declaration

Examples of similar efforts made in this area are Saanich’s installation of low-emission boilers at Saanich Commonwealth Place, reducing its carbon footprint by 90 per cent. The district could also develop an expedited plan to electrify its fleet of vehicles and buses.

However, it’s more than just physical options, Watters said.

“Any action is better than no action,” Watters said. “We already are taking steps towards this but not communicating it out, need to add to the conversation. The climate crisis has a communications problem.

“We need climate literacy. For how significant its impact is, [humans] don’t fully understand the climate crisis.”

SD61 already has champions, Watters pointed out, with teachers at every school engaging students about climate action.

“I would hope the plan amplifies these ways of sharing climate literacy, Watters said. “I hope it will have strategies big and small.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Saanich woman runs marathons to make dreams come true

Hempler gutted her way through 122 kms with minimal breaks, to support Help Fill a Dream Foundation

Tsartlip canoe team pulls for international glory in Australia

Geronimo Canoe Club paddles to Victoria to kick-start fundraising

Colwood resident cycles for 12.5 hours to raise money for hospice

Graham Hales will participate in the Cycle of Life tour in July

What’s bugging you? Exterminator talks pests in Victoria

Dealing with pests in the home this summer and beyond

The Nellie McClung Library is booked for June 22 and 23

Friends of the Library announce a big summer book sale the Nellie McClung branch

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody 6 months after release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

Most Read