Regional Action Plan Launch
The Georgian Bay Biosphere is launching its Regional Climate Action Plan (RCAP) on May 11th at the Charles W. Stockey Centre in Parry Sound. The RCAP outlines actions and initiatives that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase renewable energy adoption, enhance energy efficiency, promote sustainable transportation and offer waste management solutions.
“Making an impact on climate change can seem like a huge task. But if we all contribute, it can have a huge impact,” says Benjamin John, Climate & Energy Programs Manager with Georgian Bay Biosphere (GBB). “With a plan like this, the Biosphere hopes to inspire, encourage, and mobilize individuals, communities, and businesses across the region as they take climate action. It lays out ambitious but realistic targets by presenting a variety of achievable actions and will provide a map for our future.”
The event is designed to share information that is in the plan, including the targets for reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 2030 and 2050, and provide specific climate actions – for individuals, households and businesses. A tradeshow of energy booths, climate action opportunities, and community initiatives is planned. Electric vehicles will be on display outdoors so people can ask the owners questions about range, cost savings, and battery charging before the event starts.
Several key steps made the RCAP possible: volunteers in three Climate Action Groups recommended actions for the plan, the Integrated Community Energy & Climate Action Plans (ICECAP) partnership showed the support of area municipalities and First Nations, and a public survey with over 600 responses confirmed the main themes of Green Buildings, Sustainable Transportation, and Waste Management.
“As a partner of ICECAP, having a Regional Climate Action Plan is extremely exciting. It complements our Township’s Climate Action Plan(s) and has the potential to align with neighbouring partners to broaden our impact,” says Forrest Pengra, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Seguin Township.
“Actions with a focus on education and awareness are a top priority,” says Benjamin John. “Our survey showed that not only do people need information on WHAT they can do, they need to know WHY they should be doing it. Taking climate action is more than just reducing GHG emissions – there are economic and social benefits as well. Equipping people with knowledge on HOW to take action is the foundation from which everything else can be built.”
Moving forward, the Biosphere is seeking new volunteers for Climate Action Groups to help implement the priority actions for the region. These include information campaigns about energy efficiency, retrofits and the long-term costs savings of heat pumps, for example. Sustainable and active transportation were top concerns in the survey that can be addressed with more cycling infrastructure, trails, and EV charging stations. Waste reduction, better recycling, repair cafes, and composting programs need champions. New volunteers are always welcome, and anyone interested in joining a Climate Action Group is encouraged to reach out to the Biosphere at 705.774.0978 or [email protected].
“This will be a great opportunity for everyone to learn how we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions together and network with people from across our community,” says Allison Covert, Climate & Energy Programs Coordinator. “There are already so many positive intiatives underway that we can’t wait to share.”
The event will be held at the Stockey Centre on May 11th from 4-6PM to celebrate the plan’s launch. All attendees will be entered into a draw to win a countertop composter donated by FoodCycler. To RSVP to the RCAP Launch Event, go to gbbr.ca/events.