Elected officials have a duty to enact policy that is good for society. Elected officials believe that too. Yet in the face of this enormous problem our elected officials are not being proactive on climate change. Why? Mainly because they don’t believe it will keep them in office.
It is our responsibility to tell them it will; and to vote accordingly.
Climate Ottawa is my personal effort to have my city do better on the climate change file.
The focus is constructive actions that people can take.*
At the time of the Copenhagen round of United Nations climate change conferences in late 2009 there was also a side conference going on called Climate Summit For Mayors. You can hear about that in the CBC archives for their Radio One show The Current.
The mayor of Toronto was there. The mayor of Calgary was there. Since I live in Ottawa I wondered what my local government was doing with respect to climate change.
I searched the Ottawa.ca website but the only things I could find appeared to be quite outdated.
Time went by. I did nothing. Most other people did nothing either. It continued to bug me though.
After the 2010 municipal elections, the following spring, I queried my new Councillor. I said that I figured an organization needed a plan when trying to address big problems. I’d only been able to find a climate change plan from 2004 and that I couldn’t find how we’d done against the targets of that plan. Could she help me out?
The City of Ottawa is doing things on climate change, but the fact that my Councillor wasn’t aware of whether or not there was a current climate change plan underlines that this problem isn’t top of mind. In July of 2011 City Council adopted its Term of Council Priorities stretching out to 2014; there is nothing in there about climate change.
Because I feel that we could be doing better I have begun to take action. This website is the result.
*One Trick Pony
I won’t be spinning out a long list of examples of how bad things are. We know it’s bad. You can find those stories elsewhere. Nor will I enter into debate as to whether climate change is real or not, or if it’s the most important issue. This website has one purpose and one purpose only, to offer people in Ottawa some easily actionable ideas that will increase the priority of this one issue among locally elected politicians.
In case you attend a Committee meeting or something and wonder if I’m in the room this is what I looked like a few years ago.
I’m greyer now.
Please do introduce yourself.
UPDATE: In early 2012 I was invited to join the Steering Committee of Ecology Ottawa and have accepted. Much of my effort to constructively move Ottawa City Hall toward stronger climate change action is now undertaken in collaboration with other Ecology Ottawa efforts.