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We are in the same storm, not the same boat.

As we are in Phase 2 restarting, we ask ourselves: What do we want our community to look like? What did we learn from our time of self-isolation? What will be our economy?

At CCEC, we support a just recovery for all. We agree that now is the time to move forward with innovative, progressive recovery and rebuilding plans with a strong focus on social spending. Now is the time to invest in rebuilding our communities and cities based on care and compassion.

We cannot go back to the way things were. We are seeing the results of chronic underinvestment and inaction in the face of the ongoing, pre-existing crises of colonialism, human rights abuses, social inequity, ecological degradation, and climate change. We see that the people most impacted by the inequities are those living in poverty, women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), racialized, newcomer and LGBTQ2S+ communities, people with disabilities, and seniors. We are seeing that the situation is forcing governments and civil society to face the inadequacies and inequities of our systems. There is no going back as “normal” caused our current situation and problems.

The recently formed Just Recovery Canada, an informal alliance of more than 150 civil society groups, have released “Six Principles for a Just Recovery.” The principles ask that all recovery plans being created by governments and civil society:

  1. put people’s health and wellbeing first;
  2. strengthen the social safety net and provide relief directly to people;
  3. prioritize the needs of workers and communities;
  4. build resilience to prevent future crises;
  5. build solidarity and equity across communities, generations and borders; and
  6. uphold Indigenous rights and work in partnership with Indigenous people.

The principles aim to capture the immense amount of care work happening throughout Canadian civil society right now and present a vision of a Just Recovery that leaves no one behind.

 

Now is the time to get involved and fight for a Just Recovery. We need to be on the path toward an equitable and sustainable future. 

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“This is not a return to normal … we’re going to a new normal," said Premier John Horgan.


But what does “a new normal”  look like for you? 


Dogwood BC says, “It marks the beginning of our next big test. Will we seize this opportunity to rebuild a more resilient province — or rush back to business as usual?” They ask you to help shape this essential public conversation by sending a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or through their webpage.


Dogwood BC also says that in BC, “normal” was failing to meet our climate targets. “Normal” was Indigenous and rural communities with no economic opportunities. “Normal” was housing, homelessness and addiction crises in our cities. “Normal” was a wildly inequitable distribution of wealth and power in our province. Let’s not go back to “normal”. 

The province has set aside $1.5 billion to get our economy back on its feet again as we transition out of the pandemic. ‘There’s a huge opportunity for very important economic growth and economic benefits to be invested in greening our economy, in energy efficiency,’ says interim Green Leader Adam Olsen.

But, the Premier’s task force in charge includes big business and unions, but not green groups.

Our members say:  

Advocating for a "hard hat" or "shovel ready" recovery is grabbing the wrong end of the stick. We  need to see retraining and placement programs at an unprecedented scale, with gender equity outcomes far beyond anything anyone's achieved in any economic recovery I've heard about.

The recovery plan MUST include:

  • clean energy development - lots of new jobs there!

  • fossil fuel use reduction

  • remove subsidies to fossil fuels - stop investment in dying industries

  • develop local power grids like solar roofs and wind power (there are bird friendly windmills already developed)

  • invest in green transportation like public transit and safe bikeways

BC Transit needs to establish a province-wide public bus company that uses as much electric power as possible.  Many communities in BC cannot be reached by bus…forcing people to drive their cars, if they have them, are agile enough and can afford to drive.

This is a once-in-a-generation chance to invest these precious public dollars into projects that build the kind of B.C. we all want to live in.  We need to be louder. Spark a conversation in your community about what our province should look like as the economy powers up again.  

Get involved. We need a Green New Deal, a CleanBC and a Way Forward. 

Like and follow groups including DogwoodBC, Wilderness Committee, and  STAND.earth


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There are 19 proposed actions in the City’s five-year Climate Emergency Action Plan.  In 2019 Council declared a Climate Emergency and have now rolled out their proposed targets and actions for dealing with the emergency.  They ask for your feedback by completing their online survey,  attending a dialogue or hosting a dialogue.   The City has created a Dialogue kit that you can download that has instructions, tips, and discussion prompts. The categories they are exploring with Actions are “How We Move” and “How We Build/Renovate”.  The deadline is April 22 to gather your input for the plan that will go to Council in October 2020. 


Another climate change dialogue project is Cool 'Hood Champs: A workshop to teach local climate action.  Hosted by the CALP (Collaborative for Advanced  Landscape Planning), the workshop provides hands-on training for community members interested in bringing positive climate action to their neighbourhoods. There are three workshop dates to choose from. 


The Neighbourhood Small Grant program is accepting applications for small projects (up to $500) that help connect and engage us with our neighbours.  Applying for their Greenest City Grant to host a neighbourhood conversation on climate action using the materials from the City or at the Cool ‘Hood Champs would be a good idea. 


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Businesses that manufacture, import and sell products need to be responsible for the waste they generate. They need to be accountable for their products beyond selling them and change their manufacturing process “to design out waste and keep products and materials in use”.  Businesses need to use less plastic and stop producing single-use items. This shift in responsibility and accountability from consumer to business also entails recognizing the Circular Economy. 


Currently, Coca-Cola is one of the biggest producers of plastic waste. In 2019, it was found to be the most polluting brand in a global audit of plastic waste by the charity Break Free from Plastic. Nestlé is third in the list of top plastic polluters globally as 98% of their products are sold in single-use packaging. There are hundreds of multinational brands contributing to plastic pollution across the globe.


Did you know that seventy-nine percent of the world’s plastic is not recycled?  Our consumption of packaging and single-use items has a real impact on climate change: just under 30 percent of our greenhouse gases come from the way we make, consume, and dispose of stuff.  We know that compostables don’t outshine plastics when it comes to environmental benefits, and biodegradable packaging is even worse. We are overwhelmed with the quantity of  waste we cannot process. Our single-use culture needs to change and the solution is not in recycling. 


We need a solution that will have a positive impact on the environment and mitigate climate change.  Tell Us Yours! One strategy is a program called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). EPR’s push the manufacturers and retailers to contribute to the cost of collecting and reusing their products.  Businesses can introduce take-back programs or arrange waste collection and drop-off points, so the products can be re-purposed and re-introduced for another manufacturing process.


Adopting the Circular Economy model, we can design stuff better to last longer; food chains and toy makers can make better quality goods; producers can use fewer raw materials; waste can be made a resource; excess can be discouraged in schools and homes; we can shop hyper-locally and at secondhand shops, where, in an ecologically literate world, should be seen as pioneers of a new kind of socially aware consumerism.  


Vancouver has a plastic ban bylaw and a single-use-item reduction strategy as action to support their Zero-Waste 2040 Goal.  Over the next year we will see changes in the food industry as we ban styrofoam, plastic straws and plastic shopping bags. These are great steps and we need to do more. 


Let’s work towards a circular economic model and invest and shop locally, avoid buying products from the plastic polluters and advocate for increased manufacturer responsibility to avoid waste.

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