LETTER: Climate Action Plan Good, But 2050 Timeline is Not

At least one Guelph citizen is ready to commit to helping council do whatever’s necessary to divert an “environmental catastrophe,” and they wrote this letter to prove it.

Dear citizens of Guelph, Mayor Cam Guthrie, and the City Council,

My name is Liv Cazzola, and I am a local musician. I’ve been trying to learn more about what can actually help prevent environmental catastrophe, lately more than ever. It is brutal and overwhelming. There are so many roadblocks and tangled-up messes to weed through. But, there are two things I feel certain about:

  • We have to let all levels of government know what environmental priorities we need them to act on.
  • The arts convey this message in emotionally direct, community-centred ways. People of power and privilege, especially governments, ought to listen to the cries of the local arts community.

City Council’s Responsibility:

I am deeply concerned about how the City of Guelph’s decisions impact the global climate crisis we are facing. Although it can be difficult to see the effects locally, decisions and actions here have a frightening compounding effect.

At the upcoming City Council meeting on May 27th, the council will be voting on IDE-2019-47 Community Energy Initiative Update: Pathway to Net Zero Carbon. While the content of this plan is overall decent and responsible, the timeline is not: 2050 is too late. All recent reports are pointing to a much shorter time frame before temperatures rise too high to recover from. This has severe implications for biodiversity, ice cap preservation, air quality, and ultimately, survival for all living creatures.

In the May 6, 2019 Staff Report from the Committee of the Whole, they state that “Guelph has established itself as a climate mitigation leader.” This can only be true if we respond to new information proactively, and with the urgency that this current climate crisis entails.

Emergency Measures:

Cities around the world (including 365 Quebec municipalities and a growing number in Ontario) are declaring Climate Emergency. Guelph must declare this, and act accordingly, to remain a “climate mitigation leader”.

“If enough people demand it, governments could declare a climate emergency tomorrow and immediately mobilise resources at the massive scale and speed that we know is possible when lives are at stake. We’ve done it in wartime and can do it again now” (ClimateEmergency.org).

Guelphites can email city councillors at councillorsandmayor@guelph.ca to pressure the City of Guelph to declare Climate Emergency.

Now for the Music:

After writing a song about my frustration, sadness, and panic due to the unanswered urgency of this climate crisis, I decided to compile a collection of environmentally-sensitive songs written by local musicians. These musicians not only speak for themselves; they speak as active members of a dynamic and increasingly concerned community. Citizens of Guelph: I urge you to share this Youtube Playlist, along with the demand for declaring Climate Emergency, with your friends online, tagging any and all people of power in your messages – especially local ones.

All Guelph City Councillors’ contact information can be found here.

I know we are all busy, but the planet can’t wait any longer. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Guelph City Council, you have to pick up the pace.

With light and gratitude,
Liv Cazzola

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