Arboretum assesses TransformTO climate strategy

Nov 20, 2019 | Biz/Tech, GTA News, News

Natasha Maskell, Arts Reporter

The Humber community was given a chance to evaluate the City of Toronto’s plans to fight climate change at a recent TransformTO Climate Action Strategy event at the Humber Arboretum. 

“Last month, Toronto city council declared a climate emergency,” said Sarah Rodrigues, senior Environmental Planner from Toronto’s Environment and Energy Division. 

Sarah Rodrigues, the senior Environmental Planner of Toronto’s Environment and Energy Division. Rodrigues’ division proposed 14 new approaches to combat climate change after the city declared a climate emergency. (Natasha Maskell)

Her division proposed 14 new approaches to combat climate change in the coming years and event participants were invited to comment on them, which seemed promising.

 A few of the proposed approaches include creating a city better equipped for electric vehicles and making it easier for individuals to use public transit, walk, and cycle around the city.

All of these ideas are factoring climatic concerns in government decisions, and reducing emissions caused by everyday items.

“In order for Toronto to reach its 2050 goal of net zero, the city would need to cut 15 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.

Data released by TransformTO showed that in 2017, 52 per cent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions were caused by buildings, 38 per cent by transportation, and 10 per cent from waste. 

Staff at the Humber Arboretum encourage more students to participate in similar events.

“Attending these events is a really good learning opportunity to understand more about climate change and its impacts and how our actions affect not just our future, but everyone else’s,” said Marilyn Campbell, communications assistant at the Humber Arboretum

Margaret Tellis, manager of the Humber Arboretum, said it is important for students to voice their concerns on environmental issues on campus. 

“Students can influence the institution and let them know that this is a priority for them, that they care about the way waste is managed on campus,” she said. “The way energy is managed, they care about energy efficiency and conservation.” 

The global climate crisis is alarming for younger generations. With more than 15,000 protesters at in the September climate strike in Toronto, the rally attracted many young people to the fight for climatic justice. 

Tellis said although climate change is the result of pollution over decades, it is younger generations that will be most impacted by the global crisis.

“I think the generation that’s currently in college are going to face the brunt of the issues caused by climate change,” she said.