Transition Salt Spring (TSS) recently issued its first climate action report card for the island.
It enumerates actions seen in key areas of the TSS Climate Action Plan 2.0, which came out in 2021, noting some areas of tangible progress and others where “the student” needs to make more effort. TSS notes that while impactful work has been done in a number of areas, “like transportation electrification, forest stewardship, and food and agriculture, it is clear that we are not ready for the multiplying threats that come with the accelerating impacts of climate change.”
Every needed change costs money, of course. While most people don’t like the thought of taxes going up for just about any purpose, transitioning a fleet used by a local government service to electric power is a worthwhile use of taxpayers’ funds. Any government body that uses vehicles to function should be purchasing ones powered by electricity rather than gasoline or diesel fuels. In the case of the CRD, and our local school board when it comes to buying electric buses, decision-makers have rightly chosen electric, despite the higher cost to us.
TSS also handles rebate programs to encourage people to add a water storage system to their property and to install a heat pump or an ultra-efficient wood stove. Making those kinds of changes are just one of the things the TSS report card touts as possible for individuals to do in order to combat and adapt to climate change.
But some areas require much more than individual or local government action. It’s clear from the TSS-led Climate Adaptation Research Lab project in the Maxwell Lake watershed and the recently released CRD Electoral Area Wildfire Exposure Maps that some parts of the island are at high risk of devastation by wildfire. TSS frequently mentions how human resources are needed to remove fallen trees and branches that create forest fire fuel, and take other alteration measures, but who would fund those actions — which need to be undertaken on private property in many cases to be fully effective — is a huge question to be answered.
That kind of change requires far more commitment and resources than the purchase of an electric truck for park maintenance activities, but that higher level is what we must support in order to minimize and adapt to the inevitable onslaught of climate change.