On May 3, Sustainable Waterloo Region hosted a panel, Environmental Politics: Planning for Action - Globally, Nationally, Provincially, and Locally, featuring four special guests who work towards achieving a sustainable future.
The event kicked off with University of Toronto professor, Matthew Hoffmann who presented the Next 50 Years – International Landscape and Canadian Context. Hoffmann jokingly explained to the attendees that after Paris he had to trash all of his existing slides. Why? Because there is now optimism in climate politics, something that has been absent since Kyoto. Hoffman suggested that it will take "a lot of work and imagination" to reach a decarbonized future, but that a bottom up approach is critical and Paris has set the stage for such an approach.
Keith Brooks, Director of Clean Economy at Environmental Defence followed with his presentation on the province's future, Ontario: The Next 5 Years. Brooks emphasized residents should not have to choose between the environment and the economy as both are important and necessary to the public. He expressed the need for complimentary policies to address all areas of GHG productions, because a single approach will not be enough.
On the topic of provincial politics, Senior Policy Advisor of Clean Energy Canada, Sarah Petrevan, discussed Ontario Implications: Cap and Trade. Her work in carbon and electricity programs plays a critical role in the green future of Ontario. Though there is still several unknowns with Ontario's Cap and Trade policy, putting a price on carbon is an important step towards a decarbonized policy. A price on carbon will prompt organizations to reduce their footprint, because those reductions will be cheaper than paying the 'carbon price.'
Claire Bennett, Sustainability Coordinator at Wilfrid Laurier University focused her talk on Climate Action Waterloo Region. Claire explained that the actors at the municipal or local level are the 'doers.' While she sees policies from the international, national and provincial levels as processes to aid the local 'doers' in achieving their goals.
The presentations were followed with a panel discussion with questions from the audience. Though the speakers focused on a different element in their speeches, the common factor was their hope and optimism for the future.
Thank you to all those who joined us for Environmental Politics: Planning for Action - Globally, Nationally, Provincially, and Locally. We look forward to seeing you again for the launch of Regional Sustainable Initiative next month!
Special thanks to Ian Rowlands who facilitated the panel discussion and question period.