Oakville’s Youth Battling Climate Change

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Oakville’s Youth Battling Climate Change
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About the Author

Mashaal Effendi

Mashaal Effendi is a postgraduate student at Sheridan College pursuing Public Relations - Corporate Communications.Mashaal has worked as a writer in film, television, theatre, advertising, communications, and even in speechwriting during his time as a Toastmaster.An avid reader, video game enthusiast, and musician ( who presently plays drums for a band called "The Downgrades"), Mashaal enjoys gathering experiences around Oakville, and is ecstatic to be on the team covering events that breathe life into the community.

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Climate change is a pressing issue in Oakville. Abbey Park High School grade 11 student Andrei Adam created an online petition urging Oakville town council to declare a climate change emergency.  Burlington and Hamilton created similar petitions.

To persuade people to take more aggressive action to reduce the town’s carbon footprint, the petition has resonated rapidly. It already has over 500 signatures and been shared more than 800 times in just 48 hours.

Interestingly enough, high school and university students are at the forefront of this clarion call to action. Their use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, further demonstrates their emphatic stance. Andrei Adam recently reached out to the Mayor’s office in efforts to drastically improve carbon reduction strategies.

Local Ramifications of Climate Change

  • Migration of invasive species.
  • Increased disease vectors (West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease).
  • Increases in extreme weather (precipitation, tornadoes, high winds and 3x more extreme temperature days).
  • High lake levels causing severe damage along with closing our lake front parks

Climate Change

Andrei Adam, Abbey Park high school student who sparked the petition.

“For a town as capable of Oakville, we have to do more to preserve our planet for my generation and future generations” says Andrei.

“Everyone needs to do their part, including the Town of Oakville. I hope Mayor Burton and the Town Councillors recognize the significance and timeliness of climate change and notice the immense support that exists in the community for aggressive carbon actions. This petition shows that Oakville residents, especially youth, believe we need to do more to save our planet.”

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On a province wide stance, the Ontario Government is working towards scraping Carbon Tax on fuel, investing sizeable funds in efforts to carry out this. According to a CBC article in April, Ontario argues that tax is unconstitutional.

Town of Oakville Climate Change Initiatives

  • Converting a number of the town’s fleet to Electric Busses .
  • Ensuring new town buildings are built to the highest LEED level requirements. This not only includes PCL Toronto’s new office, Minto Capital’s new purpose-built rental tower at 1235 Marlborough, but also the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital.
  • Rolling out a two-phase LED street light conversion program. This involved cobra and head style light fixtures, converting decorative head light fixtures, and  converting 200 fixtures in Downtown Oakville BIA this year.
  • Encouraging active transportation.
  • Housing residents who own a plethora of Electric Town vehicles made in North America. Even the mayor rides one.

The most recent UN IPCC report states countries have just 11 years to drastically reduce their emissions  by 45% to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. If we fail, the effects will be exponentially higher (at our current rate we’re on track for a 3 degree increase).

“Over the past decade, Council has taken action to reduce the town’s impact on the environment and to address the affects of climate change such as our forests being attacked by Emerald Ash Borer, flooding in our local parks and extreme weather events” says Mayor Burton in response to the rising epidemic of climate change.

“A call to action by youth on climate change supports Council’s vision for Oakville, and we look forward to getting the community involved in taking action to fight climate change. I will  be asking staff on Monday night to report back to Council on the specific climate change initiatives the town has undertaken, and the opportunities for Oakville residents to do their part at home and in the community to tackle climate change.”

To see the full petition, click here.

 

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