Photo by Clare Ogilvie in Pique Newsmagazine

As of October 2021, 433 BC municipalities (517 in Canada) have declared a climate emergency, others have declared their commitment to the 1.5oC target for emissions, and others have developed ambitious climate action plans. However, key to successful implementation of climate action plans and addressing the climate emergency, along with strong plans and policies, is meaningful engagement with the community.

It is crucial to inspire residents and raise awareness of the climate emergency; however, sometimes individuals are at a loss as to what they can do to address such an overwhelming crisis. As with the global health pandemic, individuals need strong leaders who can provide guidance and instil trust.

While elected community officials have a leadership role to play, so too do those with power to reduce GHG emissions in their respective sectors. Business owners and managers in the building, transportation, energy, food and beverage, and waste sectors, all have opportunities to drive change and set the stage for others to follow.

Here are some ideas for engaging those leaders:

  1. Create and work with an expert advisory committee. These committee members represent the leading sectors in your community that can reduce GHG emissions, and could include (but not be limited to):
    • Building sector (builders, developers, housing providers, architects, trades)
    • Transportation sector (transit, active transportation, fleets, transportation planners, engineers)
    • Natural assets/environment (foresters, biodiversity and natural area experts)
  2. Ensure equity and inclusion is embedded in your approach to climate action. Making sure climate action initiatives equitably serve everyone in the community, not only those who can afford to make changes through technology, will be key to climate equity.
  3. Work with Indigenous peoples on whose traditional territories we all live, work and play.
  4. Host workshops to collaborate on strategies and solutions with industry/sector leaders. Engage them early on so they are aware of the plans and initiatives, and can provide feedback to ensure actions are effective. Ask them what they need in order to implement change in their sector.

While engaging leaders takes effort, doing so effectively and meaningfully will result in stronger policies, actions and initiatives, create greater buy-in, and generate leadership.

Want to brainstorm how to implement any of these ideas in your community? Need help with designing and facilitating a process? Contact Cheeying Ho at cho[at] to learn more.