The scene was straight out of a school classroom.
A brainstorming session, complete with easels, giant notepads and multi-coloured markers. People taking their turns, waiting patiently before having their say.
It’s Thursday night at Museum London, and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MoECC) has offered a platform for folks from the London and surrounding areas to offer insights, suggestions, ideas, and to voice concerns regarding the direction the government is heading on the issue.
This stop in London is part of a province-wide tour by the Ministry to get community input towards a strategy on climate change that is mandated to be completed this year.
“We want people to see their fingerprints on the plan,” explains Craig Golding, Manager of Carbon Pricing with the MoECC. “It’s a huge issue, so we want to make sure we get all the good ideas that people around the province have.”
On this particular occasion, many different ideas were presented. Some people wanted to see punishment for polluters, but there were others that worried about manufacturers with heavier carbon footprints leaving the province if carbon taxes were higher in Ontario than across the country.
There were a few who questioned the science behind climate change, wondering aloud if human activity is negatively impacting the atmosphere to the extent that some believe it is.
There were also practical ideas, like changing building codes to mandate solar panels be placed on south-facing roofs and rebates given to those that use alternative means to get to work.
All these ideas were separated into four categories on the notepads: actions, visions, obstacles, and other. Golding says that one of the benefits of going across the province is hearing different local angles.
“People raise different ideas in different communities. In Thunder Bay they presented very northern-centric ideas, which are different to what we heard down in Sarnia, where there was concern from an industrial perspective.”
And how do they take local angles and make it fit the province as a whole? At the end of the night, the giant paper notepads are rolled up and secured, as their contents will help shape the future of climate change reform in Ontario.
“All this input will be brought back to the offices. We aren’t leaving anything behind. We will boil it down into some themes that we will present to the organization, the Minister [Glen Murray] included, so that we will understand where the people of Ontario are coming from.”
If you missed the public discussion, you can still offer your suggestions online here.