Tackling Greenhouse Gas Emissions, One Sector at a Time

Written by: Sarah Fries, MES

Tackling greenhouse gas emissions across Waterloo Region is no small task. Locally, our emissions come from five main sectors; however, ClimateActionWR’s latest greenhouse gas inventory indicated that the top three sectors alone - Transportation, Workplaces, and Homes - accounted for a whopping 94% of the total emissions in 2015! 

ghg breakdown

Clearly, we have a lot of work to do in these three areas as we work towards our long-term GHG reduction goal of 80% by 2050, and more pressingly, our current community Climate Action Plan to address the first 6% of that target by 2020. To help facilitate this hefty (but necessary!) task, the ClimateActionWR team turns to our community for knowledge and expertise. 

Every fall, we recruit subject matter experts and passionate community members to join one of our three sector committees that tackle each of our largest emitting sectors: 

  1. Transportation Sector Committee
  2. Workplaces/ICI (Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional) Sector Committee
  3. Homes Sector Committee 

Sector committees take a ‘birds-eye’ view of their sector, being aware of all initiatives related to climate change mitigation within the boundaries of Waterloo Region, to act as connectors and catalysts, and identify and accelerate progress toward achieving our community’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. By acting as connectors and catalysts, the sector committees support the achievement of the region’s climate action strategy. 

Examples of a few recent projects and initiatives taken on by sector committees include:

  • Recurring monthly news column to promote climate action in local news outlets
  • Partnership with CAFKA on their CO2 Sequestration via Trees exhibit at Conestoga Mall
  • Working with local and external partners on #MappingWR, to help residents find low carbon ways to get around Waterloo Region
  • Working with local faith communities on climate action initiatives 
  • Developing relationships with local real estate associations to provide resources for agents and homebuyers on residential sustainability

Here’s what a few of our 2019 sector committee members have to say about their experience in this role:

  • “I love speaking with Waterloo Region business owners about ClimateActionWR. There is a spark that is created when they realize the connections that our Committee has, and how these connections can catalyze them to improve the environmental sustainability of their business, while reducing operating costs... Within the Industrial, Commercial and Institution sector, sustainability really has become a home-grown solution to the climate change crisis.” - Jennifer McLaughlin, Senior Manager, EHS (Canada & US) and Global EHS Programs, Blackberry
  • Participating in the Residential Committee has helped broaden my understanding of climate action across our region and see where change happens. Through my experience I have been enabled to engage with community members and support interesting projects. The connections I have made through ClimateActionWR through the committee and beyond have been wonderful!” - Kate Pearce, Community Relations Coordinator, PowerShiftWR
  • “ClimateActionWR’s Transportation Sector committee is an important, collective voice providing decision makers valuable input and direction regarding infrastructure planning.  Fueled by on-the-ground experience as active cyclists, pedestrians and drivers, [the Transportation] committee works towards a shared goal of increased multi-modal options that are safe for users of all ages and abilities. I value being part of a dedicated, engaged and intelligent group of volunteers whose goals align with mine.” - Dorothy McCabe, Government Relations Specialist, HRAI

Do you have valuable knowledge about one of our three largest emitting sectors? Are you looking to get involved and make a meaningful difference in our community? We need you! Head on over to climateactionwr.ca/participate/apply/ for our Terms of Reference and to access our online application form. Deadline to apply is November 8th, 2019, so don’t delay!

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