Highlands Coun. Ann Baird uses a solar dehydrator for low carbon food preservation. Baird serves on the CRD Climate Action Committee and proposed the District and other municipalities participate in a Municipal Survivor Climate Challenge. (Facebook/Gord Baird/Municipal Survivor Climate Challenge)

Highlands Coun. Ann Baird uses a solar dehydrator for low carbon food preservation. Baird serves on the CRD Climate Action Committee and proposed the District and other municipalities participate in a Municipal Survivor Climate Challenge. (Facebook/Gord Baird/Municipal Survivor Climate Challenge)

Who has the softest environmental footprint on Vancouver Island?

13 Vancouver Island councils and boards sign up for climate challenge to find out

Twelve Vancouver Island communities and the Capital Regional District board have signed up to compete in a year-long climate challenge.

The District of Highlands challenged all of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities local governments to the Municipal Survivor Climate Challenge.

Each participating council and board will measure their average footprint, using numbers from each individual council and board member. Once the average number is determined, the members will take steps over the next year to reduce their average footprint.

“It’s kind of a fun challenge but it’s highly educational for municipal leaders to see where our footprints come from in our own lives,” Highlands Coun. Ann Baird said when the challenge launched in March.

READ MORE: 49 Cowichan groups urge local governments to declare climate emergency

A memo from Baird about the challenge makes note of a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report says global average temperatures need to keep under a 1.5 C rise.

“The IPCC findings state that global emissions must reduce by 45 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2050,” the memo reads. “The good news is that scientists and economists say this is possible. The bad news is that we need to change everything immediately.”

The purpose of the Municipal Survivor Climate Challenge is not only to find out what each council and board’s footprint is, but to also educate, engage the community, and demonstrate community leadership in responding to the climate crisis, according to the memo.

Local governments will measure their footprint using an online calculator. It asks participants questions about their transportation, electricity use, where their food comes from and recycling habits, among other things.

The calculator then tells the participant how many Earths would be required if everyone lived like them, how many hectares of land are required for their lifestyle and their carbon footprint in tonnes.

READ MORE: Capital Regional District directors demand declaration of climate emergency

The starting numbers for each participating government are in, giving them one year to improve their averages. Not every municipality has listed their ecological and carbon footprints, but based on the average number of Earths required for the municipalities, the City of Colwood is in the lead, followed by Tofino and then Comox Valley.

Here are the participating Municipal Survivor Climate Challenge communities and their 2019 average results:

Capital Regional District

Number of Earths: 3.2

Eco footprint (hectares of land required): 5.2

Carbon footprint (tonnes): 8.9

City of Colwood

Earths: 1.6

Comox Valley Regional District

Earths: 2.2

Eco footprint: 3.7

Carbon footprint: 5.9

Village of Cumberland

Earths: 3.2

Eco footprint: 5.2

Carbon footprint: 8.5

City of Duncan

Earths: 2.7

Eco footprint: 3.7

Carbon footprint: 5

District of Highlands

Earths: 2.4

Eco footprint: 4.1

Carbon footprint: 6.9

City of Nanaimo

Earths: 2.9

Eco footprint: 4.2

Carbon footprint: 6.3

District of North Saanich

Earths: 3.3

Eco footprint: 5.7

Carbon footprint: 10.1

District of Saanich

Earths: 2.6

Eco footprint: 3.6

Carbon footprint: 6.6

Town of Qualicum Beach

Earths: 3.3

Eco footprint: 5.7

Carbon footprint: 7.7

Town of Sidney

Earths: 2.5

Eco footprint: 4.3

Carbon footprint: 6.3

District of Sooke

Earths: 2.7

Eco footprint: 3.1

Carbon footprint: 4.9

District of Tofino

Earths: 1.8

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


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