If you’re looking for leaders, look to the Environmental Leadership Program. Halifax Regional Council votes for climate change tax, plus more climate change updates in Canada, and how Canada’s helping its citizens adapt to climate change.
Halifax Council Votes For Climate Change Tax, The Environmental Leadership Program, How Canada’s Adapting to Climate Change
THE ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
The Environmental Leadership Program was launched in 2000, founded with a unifying vision: prepare a diverse new generation of leaders who would work effectively in this emerging interdisciplinary context— bringing different perspectives and voices to find common cause and advance positive change across sectors and areas of work.
The mission of the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) is to support visionary, action-oriented, and diverse leadership for a just and sustainable future. ELP aims to catalyze change by providing emerging leaders with the support and guidance they need to launch new endeavors, achieve new successes, and rise to new leadership positions.
ELP believes that:
- Leadership begins with relationships and the personal skills needed to develop them. Our greatest impact will lie in the collective capacity of the network we are creating.
- Diversity is a crucial component of public leadership. Environmental leaders must themselves reflect the diversity of the country and have the skills to work across difference.
- Leadership relies on individuals daring to take calculated professional risks.
And why does the work of ELP matter to us? Think of them as a boot camp for future climate leaders. The group is determined to build a diverse community of emerging leaders and creating programs to support their development. It does that by:
- Providing training and learning opportunities to increase their leadership capacity through our Fellowship Program;
- Connecting Fellows with peers through our regional and national networks;
- Linking Fellows with experienced environmental leaders through substantive interactions and mentoring opportunities;
- Focusing attention on the need for the environmental community to develop the next generation of leaders.
Since 2000 it’s created a network of over 1,300 of the country’s emerging environmental and social change leaders. ELP also offers an extensive job board for people looking for careers in the climate space.
DEEPER DIVE: ELP
HALIFAX REGIONAL COUNCIL VOTES FOR CLIMATE CHANGE TAX
By a 14-3 margin, Canada’s Halifax Regional Council voted for a 4.6% property tax increase, two thirds of which would go toward that municipality’s climate action plan. When enacted, the tax increase is expected to raise almost $28 million annually. Of that figure, $18 million would be allocated to climate action.
Under the climate plan, Halifax will implement a three-pronged strategy: electrifying public transportation, cutting Halifax-owned municipal building energy use, and climate change adaptation. The tax money will go towards electric vehicles (public transportation), adding solar panels to municipal buildings, and critical infrastructure projects to prevent erosion and flooding on coastal shore roads.
Halifax is expected to receive the first 30 of its electric transit bus fleet, with another 30 planned for 2024. According to Shannon Miedema, Halifax Regional Municipality’s Director of Environment and Climate Change, Halifax owns about 300 buildings, so one goal is to cut energy consumption in those buildings by at least 50%, through energy efficiency retrofitting as well as the installation of renewable energy, like solar.
In terms of adaptation and resilience, the city is eyeing capital improvements to deal with eroding coastlines and flooding of coastal shore roads. The council is also looking to address food security, shelters and telecommunications under the broad umbrella of climate change adaptation.
Why does Halifax’s tax increase matter to us? Proof and precedence. It’s proof that that region of Nova Scotia is now taking climate change seriously. As councilor Sam Austin said, “We opted to press the snooze button over and over and over on this issue. And now the science is screaming loud and clear.”
And it sets a precedent for other cities to move on climate action now. Again quoting Sam Austin, “It’s business as usual as a civilization that has gotten us into this awful mess in the first place.”
CLIMATE CHANGE AND CANADA UPDATES
As reported a year ago by The Climate Daily, Canada’s latest federal budget included $200 million Natural Infrastructure Fund to support natural and hybrid climate change mitigation, resiliency and adaptation solutions. Canada recognized that beyond bridges and roads, green infrastructure projects, like re-forestation, oyster bed restoration and other forms of green infrastructure deliver fantastic value for money.
Last year additional money was set aside for a green infrastructure program. Green infrastructure was set up for Canada to help its citizen entrepreneurs accelerate the deployment and market entry of next-generation clean energy infrastructure. That fund invests in:
- commercial-scale technology demonstrations
- community capacity building
- targeted research and development
This year comes an announcement that there is an additional $300 million is available until 2027 for clean energy projects in Indigenous, rural and remote communities across Canada.
The goal is to help advance Indigenous-led climate action, support local economic development and create skilled jobs while reducing pollution and improving air quality.
Areas of focus include
- Indigenous, rural and remote areas that use fossil fuels for heat or power, including Northern and Arctic regions and industrial sites
- Prioritize Indigenous-owned or led projects, or projects with community partnerships
- Support for all project stages and a variety of technology types
Why does Canada’s focus on clean energy projects for its indigenous, rural and remote communities matter to us? 2% of Americans, 5.2 million people are members of indigenous tribes. Most live in rural or remote settings with little access to any energy, much less clean, green energy.
Similarly, just over 19% of the US population–or about 50 million Americans live in remote or rural settings. They suffer from the same lack of access to clean/green energy, and telecommunication, as do US indigenous populations. Canada’s initiative is a model for the rest of us.
HOW CANADA’S HELPING ITS CITIZENS ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE
Here’s an idea many civil governments could learn from. Canada recently published its first website dedicated to helping Canadians understand and adapt to, climate change. It’s housed under the umbrella website of “Natural Resources Canada,” and the website is called, “Climate Change: Adapting to Impacts and Reducing Emissions.”
Here Canadians (and other Earth citizens) can learn about how climate change is affecting the Canadian provinces and ways to reduce its worst effects through the reduction in personal GHG emissions. The site also helps people comprehend adaptation techniques, while also offering other educational programs and funding opportunities.
In fact, the site contains a climate change adaptation platform—billed as a “network of experts working and collaborating to adapt to a changing climate across 14 thematic areas,” it offers tools and resources to support individual and corporate adaptation strategies.
What I like about this site is its grounding in reality. There’s an educational document titled, “Adapting to Climate Change: an introduction for Canadian Municipalities.” The country also released a report on the probable maximum floods and dam safety in the 21st century.
Canada’s not shying away from the inevitable either—strategic relocation of communities in the face of increasing storm surges, flooding and sea level rise. For example, you can download a copy of that nation’s report on “Planned Retreat Approaches to Support Resilience to Climate Change in Canada.”
Why does this website matter to us, non-Canadians? It’s been said that people can handle just about anything, as long as they know what that “anything” is. This website does its best to let Canadians what’s coming, what’s predicted, what’s already here and how to deal with all of it. It offers real-world, commonsense advice and strategies which people can follow.
It’s a great template for other states or nations to copy.