In 2019, the District of West Vancouver declared a state of climate emergency. The Library’s response is Climate Future—an initiative that invites the community to come together to deepen knowledge and take action around the climate crisis.
Climate Future is an ongoing initiative that includes events, a reading challenge, and this toolkit.
About the Climate Action Toolkit
This toolkit is filled with actions you can take to reduce your carbon footprint in five categories: food, stuff, transportation, buildings, and nature. We’ve also included a section called Acting Together with tips on how to work with your community and government to advocate for bigger changes. At the end of the toolkit, you’ll find a reading challenge with curated fiction and non-fiction titles, including films, and a place to make your personal climate commitments.
We live, work, and learn on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam Nations. We recognize and respect them as nations in this territory, as well as their historic connection to the lands and waters around us since time immemorial. We must look to Indigenous leadership and stewardship as we work towards a better climate future together.
Did you know that 25 – 30% of total GHG emissions come from the food system? These are from agriculture and land use, storage, transport, packaging, processing, retail and consumption.
- Follow a low-GHG diet:
- Choose organically grown when possible
- Eat fewer animal products, which often have a heavy GHG impact
- Eat local fruits and vegetables when they’re in season
- Grow some food at home or in a community garden
- Limit food waste:
- Make a weekly meal plan and buy only what you need
- Create an “eat soon” shelf in your fridge for foods about to expire—that way you’ll remember to use them before they go bad
Advocate for a national food policy, sustainable farm and fishing guidelines, and low-waste grocery stores.
Food Waste Campaign Booklet – A helpful toolkit for reducing food waste from SFU’s Food Systems Lab research & innovation hub.
The way we move people and goods produces a significant amount of greenhouse gases—21% of Canada’s national carbon footprint in 2016, according to Natural Resources Canada.
- Walk or bike—it not only reduces your GHG emissions, but also improves your health!
- Take public transit instead of driving—more time to read or listen to a Library book
- If you need to drive, consider carpooling or investing in a hybrid or electric vehicle
- Plan local vacations and enjoy nearby attractions to reduce air travel
- Support local shops and services that you can walk, bike or bus to
According to the David Suzuki Foundation, the impact of the total GHG emissions of a single flight is so high that avoiding just one trip can have the same impact as going gasoline car-free for a year.
Advocate for better public transit, more charging stations, car share programs and telecommuting when possible.
HUB Cycling: Bike to Work Week May 31-June 6
Did you know that half of West Vancouver’s GHG emissions come from our homes and businesses? Natural gas used for space heating, cooking and heating water is the largest source, while electricity also uses a lot of energy. Making our homes more energy-efficient not only reduces emissions, but saves money, too!
- Switch to LED light bulbs and Energy Star appliances
- Unplug your phone charger and other electronics when you’re not using them
- Update your heating system from fossil fuels to a heat pump
- Keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer by sealing leaks, insulating windows and using curtains or blinds to keep heat in or out
- Complete energy audits and retrofit your home—many upgrades can be paid for with rebates, government incentives and energy bill savings over time
Advocate for green building incentives and rebates, community energy like solar or wind power, and even more complete communities to live, work and play.
B.C. Hydro – Power Smart
B.C. Hydro’s Power Smart program offers power-saving tips and programs for home and business.
The District of West Vancouver says: “Our community is lucky to have clean creeks, intact forests and abundant wildlife, both on land and in the water. Yet, more than ever, residents are experiencing the effects of a changing climate, such as shoreline flooding from sea level rise, more storm events, forest fires and summer droughts, and these will likely continue.”
- Plant smart: pick trees that create shade and flowers that attract pollinators
- Replace ornamental lawns with clover or moss
- Volunteer with local conservation groups like Lighthouse Park Preservation Society, West Vancouver Streamkeepers or Coho Society of the North Shore (for a full list of local stewardship groups, visit the District of West Vancouver Stewardship Page.)
Advocate for better environmental protection and regulation, and alternatives to pipelines and unsustainable resource extraction.
Less waste in the landfill means less methane—one of the most potent GHGs. Less waste also means less GHG emissions from producing and shipping new items.
- REFUSE: Say no to single-use plastics, mail flyers and freebies you don’t need. Use your consumer power to purchase items from companies with sustainable practices
- REDUCE: Declutter and donate items you no longer need to thrift stores. Wait a few days before buying any nonessential items to decide if you really need them.
- REUSE: Switch from single-use to reusables. Shop at secondhand stores and online marketplaces. Get crafty and repurpose what you can’t reuse.
- RECYCLE: Learn to clean and sort your recycling. Avoid plastics, which are difficult to recycle, in favour of cardboard.
Advocate for the “right to repair” (laws that give consumers the right to ask the manufacturer for a repair manual and tools to fix their own products), less packaging and a ban on plastic bags.
Recycling Council of British Columbia
Did you know BC has Canada’s longest standing recycling council? Their website is a wealth of information on sustainability. Call their hotline or check out their Recyclepedia!
This toolkit recommends individual actions, but our success in responding to the climate emergency needs action from everybody, including residents, businesses, and governments. Here are some ideas for community climate action:
- Stay informed by attending District Council meetings
E-mail, call, or write to your councillor, MLA, or MP
- Be polite and courteous
- Find common ground and shared values
- Describe the problem and potential solution(s)
- Ask to meet or discuss further
- Make or sign an online petition advocating for change (learn more about online petitions at wvml.ca/climate-future).
- Start conversations with friends, family and neighbours
- Support local environmental organizations (find a list of local organizations at northshoreclimatehub.org)
- Indigenous peoples have been stewarding these lands and waters since time immemorial—look to your local Indigenous leaders for guidance and respond to their calls for action (check out https://www.indigenousclimateaction.com/ to learn more).
The Climate Emergency Unit (CEU), a project of the David Suzuki Institute, is a 5-year initiative to mobilize Canada to confront the climate crisis. This site includes resources, links to local climate advocacy groups, updates on advocacy campaigns, and even more ways that people can mobilize together to fight climate change.
The unit’s work is inspired by and seeks to advance the ideas in Seth Klein’s 2020 book A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency. You can check out A Good War from our collection or watch the recording of WVML’s Climate Future: Seth Klein Author Talk from December 2020 to hear Klein talk about his book.
North Shore Climate Hub
The North Shore Climate Hub is a community-based team made up of several local community climate action groups and individuals on the North Shore of Vancouver, BC and is here to unite civil society, business, government, and the citizens of each of the regional districts in our community.
Share Your Climate Commitments
Now what? Look back through this toolkit and make your own three personal climate action commitments. Include your email address to be entered to win a prize. We’ll (anonymously) share these commitments below to inspire our community.