Green New Deal meetings come to the Kootenays

Public invited to share their ideas on how society, economy has to adapt to climate change

“We have to do more, and we have to do better. We can’t let this continue,” says Jessica Bamford. Submitted photo

The movement to create an ambitious plan to save the planet from climate change and re-tool our economy has come to the Kootenays.

About 40 residents of the Slocan met on May 29 to talk about the Green New Deal, and more meetings are planned for major centres in the Kootenays.

“This is an opportunity to take some action,” says Jessica Bamford, who helped organize the Slocan Valley meeting.

Other scheduled meetings are June 4 in Rossland and June 5 in Nelson.

The Green New Deal is a concept that came out of the United States, and has slowly been growing in Canada.

It envisions “rapid, inclusive and far-reaching transition, to slash emissions, protect critical biodiversity, meet the demands of the multiple crises we face, and create over a million jobs in the process,” according to a website by a Canadian group pushing for the Green New Deal in this country.

The organization wants to see fundamental change in the economy in respect to the environment, while “leaving no one behind.”

SEE MORE: The Pact for a Green New Deal

The Green New Deal would also see Canada (and other nations) fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international and national commitments to aboriginal people.

Support for the concept is growing, with Canadian public service unions, as well as environmental, poverty rights, and Indigenous groups endorsing the idea. It’s also got a lot of A-list Canadian celebrities, including William Shatner, Dr. David Suzuki, k.d. lang, Naomi Klein and Neil Young putting their names behind it.

Bamford says she’s attracted by the movement’s non-partisan, nationwide, inclusive nature that’s trying to look at things differently.

“There’s a lot of great things happening out there too, but it doesn’t seem like it’s quite enough,” says Bamford, who’s a facilitator and co-founder of Four Nations Coalition of Indigenous Medicines, a Kootenay-based business that teaches and practices Indigenous medicine traditions.

“There’s got to be a more structured way for people just to be heard. So I love the fact they are just inviting people to get their ideas out there to share their needs in this way.”

And she says it’s time we looked to other cultures for knowledge of the world.

“There’s teachings and perspectives and ways of being that have been in existence for thousands of years, and that knowledge and wisdom is really needed at this time in our history,” she says. “The concept that ‘everything-impacts-everything-else’ is not new. We have Indigenous societies that were incredibly functional and had high populations, but they managed resources in a phenomenal way with little impact, if any, to the lands they lived on.”

The idea of the movement is that it’s grassroots: that’s why people coming to the community meetings are asked to go through an exercise that encourages them to share their thoughts and ideas, and the things they want to see (or don’t want to see) in government policy surrounding climate issues.

“But not that exclusively,” notes Bamford. “It’s also about how we can create new jobs in these circumstances for people; how can we mitigate the housing crisis, as well. It’s not only about the climate crisis, it’s about generally turning the situation we are in around, so it’s more workable for everyone.”

People’s comments are set down at these meetings, being held across Canada, and the national organization will compile them to create a massive database.

They’ll take the information to federal politicians, First Nations, and other leaders for comment and action.

Bamford says she can’t comment on how a Green New Deal might work in the Slocan Valley, or Kootenays, or the larger country. For her, it’s as much a learning process, and she just wants to help bring new ideas forward.

“I have a two year old, and you think what is going on in our world? We have to do something about this, and we don’t have time to sit around and wait anymore,” she says. “We can’t just wait for politicians to deal with this. What is happening now is not effective for dealing with this crisis.”

Bamford says getting involved in the Green New Deal is helping her cope with her own climate concerns.

“You say you’re not going to buy any more plastic, things like that,” she says. “But at some point it’s just not enough. We have to do more, and we have to do better. We can’t let this continue.

“It’s a beautiful vision, a beautiful dream, and it brings me hope that so many people are gathering to talk about this and bring it to the forefront of people’s minds.

“And that’s the first step we have to take.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Residents of the Slocan Valley discuss the Green New Deal and what could be of benefit to local people. (Photo by Jessica Bamford)

An ice-breaking exercise at the Slocan Valley meeting. (Photo by Jessica Bamford)

Some of the suggestions raised at the Slocan Valley meeting on May 29. (Submitted photo)

The Green New Deal is an ambitious drive to re-tool our economy to avoid ecological disaster. Green New Deal

Just Posted

First Energy Metals set to start gold exploration work in the West Kootenay

The work will be conducted at two of its sites near Nakusp and Nelson

Nelson skateboarders charged with assaulting Trail police officer

Incident happened at the skate park in Trail

RDCK closes all indoor recreational facilities until at least August 18

The district said closures are necessary to meet financial plan and to deliver safe programming

Flooding: Why the RDCK ordered hundreds of properties evacuated

All evacuation orders have now been rescinded

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Vancouver Island school principal mourns brother, cousin killed during U.S. protests

Jelks says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragedy

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

Most Read