Ask your local government about a climate action plan

Climate Action Plans have been adopted or are being considered by more than 500 cities, towns, counties, villages, and communities across the country. 

These plans cover things that are within a municipality's responsibility (like public transit, zoning, urban/rural agriculture, water & sewage) - all of which are integral pieces of reducing emissions and creating more sustainable, equitable communities. 

As citizens and voters, we have a role in creating and bringing these plans to life. Here are three simple actions you can take.

1. Contact your local representative

It's as easy as an email, and you don't need to have any background knowledge. Find your local representative's contact information (could be a town or city councillor, mayor, reeve, or other representative) and send them a message something like this - add your own words and thoughts to make it more engaging. 

I am one of your local constituents and a parent very concerned about the climate crisis and what it means for my kids.

I am writing to ask you for an update on what you are doing about reducing emissions in areas of local government jurisdiction, such as ending sprawl, encouraging active and public transportation, and promoting building efficiency. Is there a plan to halve relevant emissions by 2030 and get to net zero by 2050? Can you share that plan with me?

I look forward to your reply.

2. Learn about your local plan

If you have time to dig a little deeper, check out your local government's website for info about their climate action plan and/or decisions taken on environmental issues. We've found that it can be difficult to navigate most municipalities' websites and finding this information can be frustrating - so working as a group can help. You can also check with local environmental or citizen groups who are already doing this work and look for info they're sharing. 

It's important to remember that you don't have to become an expert in city management to understand or contribute to your community's climate action plan. You already know the kind of sustainable, equitable, healthy community your kids deserve to grow up in. 

3. Provide input

Your local government may be inviting public input, and even if they aren't you can still give feedback anytime to your local councillor or mayor. Find the best way to make your voice heard. 

  • Email your elected official with your questions and concerns and ask for a reply.

  • Share an open letter to your city council on social media and encourage others to share their thoughts too (see this example from the For Our Kids/Parents for the Planet Ottawa-Gatineau group).

  • Is there an opportunity to speak to/present at a council meeting? Check out For Our Kids member Jinhwa presenting to Vancouver City Council! (forward to the 4:23 mark of the video)
  • Raise your kids' voices: share their pictures, posters, photos, songs, or letters with your elected officials. They're the ones who will be most affected, so they should be heard.

What if your community doesn't have a plan? Then get the ball rolling.

Get some parents/grandparents together and start a petition to have your local government recognize and declare a climate emergency, and commit to developing an action plan.

Lots of resources and ideas available here.






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