• Steve Dyck

Climate action in Guelph

"If elected, I believe that addressing the causes and impacts of climate change is an immediate priority that can no longer be pushed off to the next generations or future councils."


This is the first part of a pledge taken by city leaders and municipal candidates at the Rise for Real Climate Action event at Guelph's former city hall on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 8).


The Rise for Climate event was part of a global day of action, with rallies being organized in more than 900 communities around the world, pushing elected officials to listen and take action against climate change and rising emission levels.


In Guelph, around 250 people showed up on Carden Street, many with colourful signs and placards voicing their concerns and environmental priorities.


The crowd heard from speakers from a number of different organizations, including: Wellington Water Watchers, Council of Canadians, eMerge Guelph, Fossil Free Guelph, Guelph Against Pipelines, mayoral candidate Agnieszka Mlynarz and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner.


Steve Dyck, local environmental activist and former provincial Green party candidate, co-organized the Guelph event. He said he was absolutely thrilled with the turnout.


He said the rally was intended to encourage local leaders to act with a sense of urgency, transitioning away from fossil fuels while there’s still time. He said climate scientists warn that if global emissions can’t be curbed by 2020, avoiding worst effects of climate change may be impossible.


"If we do not change our trajectory of carbon emissions by 2020, then these feedback loops are kicking in and it's really out of our hands," he said.


By feedback loops, he’s referring to vicious cycles that begin when emission levels cross certain thresholds. One example involves melting ice caps: As the earth warms, ice melts at the poles and less sunlight is reflected back into space. This results in the earth absorbing more of the sun’s energy, leading to the planet warming even further, melting more ice.


The rallies held around the world on Saturday were organized by 350.org. The goal of the movement was to demand local leaders to commit to a fast and fair transition from using fossil fuels to 100 per cent renewable energy.


Spoken word poet Amelia Meister delivered a poem with passion, often repeating the phrase "it's not raining in the rain forest," throughout the composition.

This story was originally published here.

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