June 18, 2019
Four municipalities in British Columbia’s Comox Valley have agreed to declare a climate crisis, spurred in part by actions taken by the Comox Valley Unitarian Fellowship (CVUF).
The municipalities’ declarations followed a letter issued by the CVUF’s social and environmental justice group, which was sent to all the councils in the area. Two Unitarians, Mike Bell, and Steve Faraher-Amidon, subsequently made a presentation to the Comox Council. Another Unitarian, May Partridge, presented to the Courtenay Council and made the case for the declaration.
CVUF’s letter began by recognizing municipalities in the region for efforts they had already made at climate change mitigation and adaptation. It went on to state that further action is needed to address what is clearly a worsening situation. The letter cited deepening summer droughts, increasingly violent winter storms, and severe flooding as evidence of climate change’s impacts on the region. These examples were backed up by the recent report indicating Canada is warming at twice the global rate.
The letter went on to ask the four councils to formally declare a state of climate emergency, which “will enable the necessary planning and measures required to meet the kinds of potential disasters which may occur and to move proactively to prevent them.”
CVUF called on the municipalities to undertake a series of measures as part of the declaration, including an initial approach to plan how communities can meet extreme climate events such as storms, fires, and floods; the establishment of a standing committee on the climate emergency; and a commitment that staff will keep the community continually informed on its progress in meeting the climate emergency.
Members of the fellowship were pleased with the outcome of both presentations, with the Comox and Courtenay councils subsequently approving motions to declare a “climate crisis” (the councils’ preferred terminology). The fellowship is awaiting news on what the next steps will be.
Learn About the Climate Emergency Campaign.