Richmond has become the latest city to declare a climate emergency in a motion that was first introduced in February.
City Coun. Linda McPhail said the motion passed unanimously on Monday night.
She said it won’t be just a symbolic gesture, but one that produces tangible results and gets the community involved — and especially younger residents.
“We are making a concerted effort to touch base with the school district right now and to engage youth. Because you know, as a former school trustee, I know it’s youth who are really invested in this right now,” McPhail said.
“There’s a lot of youth who are interested, who want to volunteer.”
McPhail said Richmond — as an island — has already been a leader in sustainability because it knows the danger of climate change.
In February, Coun. Michael Wolfe, who presented the motion, said Richmond will be one of the first communities to feel the impacts of long-term climate change.
He said, “the shifting of where water is coming down is going to be very impactful for a city like Richmond, where we’re at sea level and we’re right next to the ocean.”
McPhail said she wants Richmond to help smaller communities take the steps they need to take — but input and collaboration are needed from higher levels of government.
“We can’t do it on our own. There has to be leadership at the federal level and the provincial level, but we’re the level that most people look to, because we’re the closest to them.”
McPhail said the province is coming out with CleanBC programs, along with initiatives from Metro Vancouver Council (where Mayor Malcolm Brodie and Coun. Harold Steves sit) that will make a difference across the region.
Cities across the world like Vancouver, London, L.A. and Halifax have declared climate emergencies.