Communicate the urgent need to take climate action to the citizens of Kelowna and inform them about how they can be a positive influence on municipal climate policy through their vote.
We will actively monitor city planning and council decisions. To help citizens decide who is showing true leadership in the face of the climate crisis, we will grade mayor and council individually on climate sincerity. In the lead up to our next municipal election in 2026 we will grade council incumbents and challengers on their climate sincerity. The ultimate goals are that Kelowna declares a Climate Emergency and uses this to significantly improve efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change by implementing meaningful policy and action. Policy or policy changes that worsen GHG emissions must be curtailed.
Declaring a Climate Emergency
Declaring a climate emergency publicly acknowledges the urgency of the climate crisis and communicates the need for rapid and dramatic change in local policy and operations. It encourages evaluation of all new and existing projects through the lens of GHG emissions reduction and climate adaptation. Furthermore, the declaration of a climate emergency will raise the standard of success so that City of Kelowna staff, Mayor, and Council can set new goals which must then be achieved. Choosing not to declare a climate emergency is choosing not to be accountable to our community.
Forming a Climate Emergency Task Force
We believe it critical that the declaration of a climate emergency be followed by the formation of a citizens’ assembly – a Climate Emergency Task Force. This assembly would harness the wisdom of our community and include experts from academia, business, first nations, the faith community, and health providers. They would work with city staff, mayor, and council as allies, not adversaries. The task force and the city would work together to propose new by-laws and action plans with the goal of creating a legislative action framework within which Kelowna could achieve a 40% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 and net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. This group would also help the City devise effective communication strategies to keep our citizens informed and onside.
Creating a Climate Change and Sustainability Department
In order take the City of Kelowna’s GHG reduction aspirations to implementation, the city should consider forming a Climate Change and Sustainability Department which would be responsible for the planning, implementation, and communication of GHG reduction and climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives. The new climate reality justifies a work structure commensurate with the challenge. Extreme weather events the world over dictate that it is no longer possible to “kick this can down the road”.
Our desire is that the majority of Mayor and council embrace climate sincere policies and that staff, mayor, and council focus on the overarching aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.