Sustainability Update

Climate Action Waterloo Region, a collaboration between multiple local organizations focused on lowering greenhouse gas emissions in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, is continuing to progress with its climate action plan.

Climate Action WR is an initiative set on implementing a climate action plan with the combined efforts of REEP Green Solutions, Sustainable Waterloo Region, the Region of Waterloo and the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo.

The initiative, which dates back to a thesis done at the University of Waterloo by several students, outlines goals and an implementation strategy to lower the region’s greenhouse gas emissions. The plan targets a six per cent reduction from the 2010 greenhouse gas levels by the year 2020.

The most recent development for the initiative is the creation of a leadership committee and the unanimous endorsement of the climate action plan by a regional committee composed of municipal governments, community organizations and businesses.

“The task for the leadership committee is to oversee and aid the implementation of the climate action plan in Waterloo region,” said Claire Bennett, a member of the leadership committee and manager of Wilfrid Laurier University’s sustainability office. “The goal of that plan is to meet once every two months and then there’s subcommittees for each sector that meets more on a monthly basis.”

The future goals of the initiative’s leadership committee also include advocacy for its plan through public events and a continued push to make community members aware of environmental issues.

“We actually have a journalist and a development officer for the tri-cities out of CIGI. The administration added those two roles because they’re so connected with the community,” said Bennett. “A big part of their portfolios will be how we can connect to existing events, or how to put on our own events to communicate where we are to the community.”

Part of the continued implementation of the plan, and part of the leadership committee’s advocacy, includes encouraging community members to take part in positive environmental change.

The initiative currently has many subcommittees and task forces open to local citizens who wish to join Climate Action WR or give expert opinions on how the region’s environment can be bettered.

“If people aren’t aware of issues, they may not support them as easily, so just being aware of the issues and how the plan can benefit them in their community, and then showing support within the functions of city council or whatever events Climate Action Waterloo holds,” said Bennett.

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