Kingston On: Protest demands greater municipal action on climate change

Kingston was the first Canadian city to declare a climate emergency, quickly followed by Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax and Ottawa — good first steps but meaningless unless followed by impactful climate action. Urge Prince Edward Council to take the first step and declare a climate emergency.

Members of local activism groups 350 Kingston and Kingston Climate Hub rallied outside the City’s strategic planning meeting in Goodes Hall on Queen’s University campus on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Photo by Michelle Allan.

On Tuesday, May 7, 2019 a rally was held outside the City of Kingston’s Strategic Planning meeting at Goodes Hall by 350 Kingston, a group of local citizens “committed to taking action on climate change.”

This was the city’s fourth strategic planning session and intended to finalize council’s 2019-2022 strategic plans.

Clad in red to represent emergency, the protestors gathered outside Goodes Hall and the meeting room with signs, bullhorns, and a red chair labelled as ‘the hot seat’ with the goal of ensuring that “councillors and the mayor know that inaction is negligent.” Stressing the severity and time-sensitive nature of climate change, the protest’s event page on Facebook said that city’s “strategic plan guiding the next four years needs to reflect that.”

After a unanimous council vote on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, Kingston made history as the first Ontario municipality to declare a climate emergency. Julia Miller, a member of 350 Kingston, said that the city government’s choice to identify climate change as an emergency and the impassioned words at last Friday’s climate strike at Confederation Park, gave citizens “optimism” and a “impression of impactful action.”

“We’re facing ecocide, and the faster we swallow that pill, the faster we can get our feet on the ground.  That includes city governments.”

Miller felt that the council outline of the strategic plan was a “disappointment in terms of timeline, impact, and use of funds.” Miller criticized some of the city’s planned initiatives as “misleading,” saying that it was repacking existing initiatives as if they were new ideas. MORE


Ottawa joins growing number of Canadian cities to declare a climate emergency. But what does that mean?

The declarations are part of a global movement which sees local governments as key to a boots-on-the-ground approach to reducing carbon emissions

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