One can do a lot in 365 days. The average one of us spends around 2000 hours doing some branch of helpful labour to trudge along the human machine. We celebrate our positive impacts within the community - careful to discard the rest. An organization accumulates these collective nudges toward a common good, hopefully to achieve an attainable goal. What does an organization like ClimateActionWR do in 365 days?
It sets a simple figure. 6%. That doesn't seem like too big of a deal. Reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions by a Carbon Dioxide equivalent of 6% from a baseline level set during the year 2010 within ten years. That's 2020. That's still six more years for 6%. 1% per year is totally easy to do and a seemingly reasonable figure until some more quantities are considered. What if that baseline is 3,613,870 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions per year? What if 10,000 more people are planned to inhabit Waterloo Region each year? What if the Region of Waterloo's current population of 563,000 people don't commit to action?
You set some small crumbs along the path so that you don't need to take too large of a step. ClimateActionWR's five milestones are outlined here, and what's truly awesome is that we've already achieved three of the five! By that reasoning, we're well ahead of schedule. The next two steps, however, will be very challenging and will require the committed collective action of a working community. That includes politicians from municipal, provincial, and federal levels, business-owners and entrepreneurs, academics, advocates, and common citizens alike.
There are a lot of really good people spending their 2000 (and likely significantly more) hours nudging toward this goal of 6%. The staff and volunteers of Sustainable Waterloo Region have committed over 63 organizations to take action in reducing their Greenhouse Gas emissions. Thus far, they've successfully reduced Carbon Dioxide equivalent emissions by 29,990 tonnes - a significant chunk out of the required 216,600 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent emissions to be reduced across Waterloo Region. Not bad.
This can be further supported with representation by elected representatives and for them to lend their voice to support progressive government policies that might support things such as cleaning our supply of energy or incentivizing reductions in the demand for energy.
We can implement the research. Other cities are doing it too. Burnaby, BC is in the process of developing an Environmental Sustainability Strategy in-line with other successful strategies across the Social and Economic developmental axes. And maybe others will become inspired by our model. Cities like Niagara Falls, Durham, Kingston, and Ottawa are taking steps in their sustainability journey that are echoing our own. They have a long way to go - just like us.
So if we have representation from our most respected public officers and our future leaders alike, what's our excuse? If you feel like your voice will be lost in the crowd, take note: the crowd is on your side. It wants a better future for us all and I think that's something to rally behind. All it takes is a small nudge.