On November 17th, 2021, Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the BC Greens and Member of the Legislative Assembly for Cowichan Valley issued the following statement: “Calling this state of emergency is a necessary but overdue step to better respond to the flooding that has resulted in the loss of life, devastation in communities, and displacement of thousands of British Columbians”. (BC Green Caucus).

Furstenau urged the government to get out of the “reactive mode” when it comes to the impact of climate change. Instead, Furstenau says the government should adopt a proactive approach.

The 5 main causes of climate change are fossil fuels, deforestation, increasing livestock farming, fertilizers containing nitrogen, and fluorinated gases (The National).

In order to mitigate the effects of climate change, climate activists say humans must stop burning fossil fuels including coal, oil, wood, and natural gas and we must demand for countries and companies to pledge zero-emission targets. (The National).

According to US ‘Environmental Protection Agency’, “a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. This number can vary based on a vehicle’s fuel, fuel economy, and the number of miles driven per year” (EPA).

Taking public transit can help reduce one’s carbon footprint. When using ride-shares, such as Uber, including opting for “Uber Green” vehicles because Uber Green rides have lower-emission rates and each trip in an Uber Green vehicle produces at least 25% fewer carbon emissions than the average trip.

Furthermore, activities like planting trees, recycling, and not wasting paper, are some strategies we can use to help our environment, specifically in regards to deforestation.

“A growing demand for meat has led to intensive agriculture of animals” says Georgia Tolley, a writer for The National News. “Cows and sheep produce large amounts of methane when they digest their food and this gas adds to the greenhouse effect on Earth”. Animals also need fields to graze on, which leads to deforestation. We can mitigate the increase in livestock farming by eating less meat such as following a pescatarian, vegetarian, or even vegan diet.

Lastly, fluorinated gases can be very damaging gases and can come from refrigerators, air conditioning systems, and heat pumps. Purchasing energy-efficient appliances can help us to be able to contribute to the mitigation of climate change when it comes to fluorinated gases.

As Furstenau stated, we must be proactive when it comes to climate change and climate justice. Climate justice starts at home and as residents of British Columbia, we must work together to fight for a safe and viable environment for future generations.

Jienelise Hilario

Jien is an experienced writer/journalist, researcher, administrative professional, speaker, and educator. She was born in the Philippines but has enjoyed living in Beautiful British Columbia since 2003. Jien holds a B.A. degree in Psychology from Simon Fraser University, completing the degree in 2018. In addition, she also obtained her Early Childhood Education Assistance License. She is currently working on her full Early Childhood Educator Certificate at Langara College while taking supplementary courses in Journalism at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

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