The West Kootenay EcoSociety (WKES) is celebrating the first signatory to their 100 per cent Renewable Kootenays initiative.
The Village of Slocan is the fifth community in Canada, and the first in the Kootenays, to commit to transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy by mid-century, specifically in heating/cooling, transportation and electricity. They join B.C. municipalities of Victoria, Vancouver, Saanich, and Oxford County in Ontario, in providing the leadership needed to make critical changes to our energy systems.
Fiona Galbraith presented at the Village Council meeting Monday night and made it clear that political will is the only hurdle to such a transition.
“Our locally developed energy model describes one of the many scenarios possible for our communities to transition to renewables. We have the technology and know-how to make this commitment and the EcoSociety has the resources to work with your community to support the development of a customized strategy and plan,” offered Galbraith.
The same night, Mayor Jessica Lunn reached out to let the EcoSociety know that the village will enthusiastically participate; “I’m so thrilled that Slocan Council has committed, by resolution, to work towards a 100 per cent renewable future — something that I am confident that our village can achieve — and I look forward to working with the EcoSociety to achieve a 100 per cent Renewable Kootenays.”
In the last year, approximately 4,000 residents of the West Kootenays have signed the 100 per cent Renewable Kootenays petition and over 45 businesses have endorsed the goal.
Funding has been provided by several organizations including the Vancouver Foundation, Patagonia, the Real Estate Foundation of B.C., Lush Cosmetics, the Regional District of Central Kootenays and MEC. The WKES was interested to learn that 50 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions fall under the policy purview of municipalities, and thus the initiative became the main strategy for the organization’s upcoming advocacy and coordination work.
West Kootenay EcoSociety is a non-profit organization that services the West Kootenay region, located in Nelson. Through education, outreach, community building, research, and advocacy, the EcoSociety works to protect the natural environment while building a just and sustainable post-carbon world.