Feb 12, 2020 - Speech by Cheryl Lewandowski, Blue Dot, to the RH staff report Climate Change Actions

The following speech was read by delegate Kathleen Wong on behalf of Cheryl Lewandowski from Blue Dot Richmond Hillwho was unable to attend the Council Meeting. It speaks to the agenda item 13.8 SRPRS.20.011 - Richmond Hill Climate Change Actions.

We are all aware of the global threats we face due to climate change which include droughts, severe precipitation events-flooding- freezing- snowstorms, altered jet stream patterns, extreme heat/cold, high winds, property damage, increase in vectors, acidification of our waterways, impact to vegetation, invasive species, decline in species and the list goes on. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 17.2 million people worldwide had to leave their homes in 2019 because of disasters exacerbated by climate change. In the future, people displaced by climate change may want to call Richmond Hill home. Can we accommodate? Will we be ready?

Increased awareness and concern for the climate crisis was evident during the federal election. In Richmond Hill it is reflected in the number of environmental groups that have formed over the past few years including Drawdown, Targeting Climate Change, Neighbours for the Planet, Extinction Rebellion, Blue Dot York Region and Climate Wise.

As a concerned citizen, I joined Blue Dot 5 years ago. This enabled me to become involved in some of the City’s outreach programs. I participate on the Community Energy and Emissions Plan (CEEP) Committee, in environmental booth presentations at Resilient Richmond Hill and Healthy Yards events. Through our group, I have endorsed other community programs such as the Clean Up/Green-Up, Blue Box recycling and the tree planting program. This has provided me first hand knowledge of the dedication and expertise of Richmond Hill staff and some of the details of their environmental programs. My past work experience includes 19 years at the Ontario Ministry of the Environment which has allowed me to provide relevant feedback on municipal environmental programs.

In reviewing the report provided to Council, it outlines much of the excellent work being done as it relates to Climate Change and the reduction of GHG’s. As mentioned in the report,” Municipalities have direct or indirect control over 60% of Ontario’s GHG emissions as they plan and regulate growth and developm