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

EDITORIAL: If climate really is an emergency, then act like it

Communities busy declaring climate emergencies while not doing nearly enough to fix the problem

It’s a discussion that has been playing out in council chambers and regional boardrooms across Vancouver Island.

Some councillors have been in favour of making a formal declaration of a climate emergency, while others have been against.

The VI Free Daily is going to have to take the dissenters’ side on this one.

We are not saying that climate is not an urgent global, regional and local issue. We are not even necessarily saying that our local leaders should not declare an emergency.

We are saying is we just don’t see the point of declaring an emergency when we are seeing very little evidence that authorities have any indication of acting like there really is one.

As on municipal councillor in the Interior put it: “If your house is on fire and it’s an emergency you don’t stop and mow the back lawn, you don’t stop and examine the foundation for cracks. You put the fire out.” 

Our councils are not acting like they are putting out a fire. They seem content to just turn the heat down a little.

When disaster threatens, or when it punches us in the face, individuals and families react, quickly and immediately, to make said disaster their highest sole focus. Everyday things like the Starbuck’s run are pushed aside. Luxuries like the weekend spa getway are not even considered.

RELATED: Who has the softest environmental footprint on Vancouver Island?

Why are our local government’s not immediately suspending discretionary spending in order to finish the storm sewers, converting to clean energy, outlawing single-use plastics, expanding recycling programs, banning recreational fossil fuel-guzzling vehicles and forcing residents switch to renewable heating and power options and other measures?

An emergency requires immediate, decisive action. Otherwise declaring one is merely a hollow gesture.

If we believe we are in a climate emergency, we need to put our money where its mouth is.

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