Editorial: Have your say in climate action plan survey

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While Salt Spring residents have been focused on the immediate COVID-19 crisis, one group of islanders has been hard at work dealing with a longer-term “emergency.”

About 30 dedicated volunteers have been toiling away on updating Salt Spring Island’s Climate Action Plan through a Transition Salt Spring-led committee. A draft document has now been created and is being reviewed by more than 100 different private and public groups, which forms one part of the consultation process. The other part involves individual islanders completing an online survey using a platform called Ethelo.

Ample background material is provided for each section, and it’s not necessary to have knowledge about all areas or to answer all of the questions. The format emphasizes the need to find a balance between feasibility and impact, and space for comments is allotted. Respondents can view “their” climate action plan taking shape on screen and see where their priorities align compared to others who have done the survey. The process is enlightening and even fun. 

About 500 people have taken the plunge to date, but organizers want even more opinions to work with. It’s safe to assume that highly motivated individuals have participated so far, but it is vitally important that people not involved in environmental or climate-change causes provide input as well. Executive committee member Tarah Stafford couldn’t stress that point enough in a recent Driftwood interview, and she’s right. For any plan to succeed or meaningful actions to be taken requires buy-in from those impacted. If no one is willing to increase their use of public bus service, for example, there’s not much point in directing major resources towards that effort. 

As well, the final plan will have more impact on those it is intended for — local politicians, in particular, as well as higher levels of government — if more people have been involved in its creation and endorsed its recommended actions. 

At present the completion deadline is June 20, with an extension to the end of the month anticipated but not yet confirmed. This plan will impact everyone’s life in some way in the future. The time to add your vision to that future is now. 

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