GTEC's Response to "What If?" - Climate Response Centre

Arden Henley responds to the Clague Newsletter’s “Imaginary Statement from the Premier on the Climate Crisis – What If?” (re-printed here in the GTEC Blog)

By Arden Henley

We are entirely in agreement with your description of the current status of the climate crisis in your What If? Imaginary Letter from the Premier post. We are rapidly approaching the 1.5 C threshold that scientists worldwide have been so concerned about. We wholeheartedly endorse your recognition of the significance of the probable socio-economic, as well as environmental impacts of this crisis and the imperative to make immediate, society-wide changes.

What we would like to highlight is the importance of the second and third points in this post. About the second point: we envision province wide Climate Response Centres (CRC) that mobilize resources and provide community-based support and education. In our vision, the first CRC, essentially the template for all subsequent Centres, will be located on Granville Island because of its iconic nature and the high level of public access (7-10 million visits per annum).

We picture province wide implementation of CRC’s within or in association with the pre-existing network of community social service organizations. Via a partnership with the Federation of Community Social Services we are currently piloting an assessment of the current climate crisis readiness of these organizations.

We are also deeply concerned about the well-being of young people as they face this uncertain future. Data throughout the developed nations suggest that young people 16-24 yrs are experiencing unprecedented levels of anxiety and grief, mental health problems and suicide rates. We are working with the SFU, Faculty of Health based Mental Health Climate Change Alliance in a Michael Smith Foundation funded research project that engages young people in co-designing supportive programs that will be an integral part of CRCs.

About the third point: we see CRCs as ideal, community-based sites for public conversations, collaborative planning and climate crisis program development. One of the strengths of our team is the skill set that would enable hosting such community processes.

In addition to activating governments in the way your letter from the Premier suggests, we see the education, support and activation of communities and businesses as a critical component of responding to the climate crisis. In our ongoing dialogue with the provincial government, we have framed community education and development and working in conjunction with the business sector as a complementary element of a whole society response and the CRC model as a means of realizing this objective.

This is GTEC’s response to Michael Clague’s “What If? The Premier were to make an Important Announcement about the Climate Crisis” – read Michael’s blog here. What are your thoughts? What do you think the Premier should be telling British Columbians about the climate crisis?

See what else we have in the GTEC Blog! Read articles on climate change, sustainability, education, and more!