In December, 2016, Darebin, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, started the ball rolling on something very important. The town declared a Climate State of Emergency. Two months later, neighbouring suburb Yarra also declared a Climate State of Emergency.
In late 2017, the movement jumped from Australia to North America. Both Hoboken, NJ and Montgomery County, MD declared Climate States of Emergency.
The combined population of the two Australian and two American cities is only 1.2M. But their action started something that has grown. Since then, the movement has grown exponentially to 140.3M. Over 600 governments (municipal, regional and federal) in 14 countries have similarly declared a Climate State of Emergency.
In March of this year, the movement reached Ontario. Kingston was first, followed closely by Hamilton, Burlington, London, West Nipissing, Ottawa and St. Catharines. All told, 13 Ontario communities with a combined 3.6M people have declared a Climate State of Emergency.
Yesterday, the Canadian Federal Government joined the UK and Ireland in declaring a country wide Climate State of Emergency. Voting crossed party lines; the declaration received unanimous votes from the Liberals, NDP and Green parties. The Conservatives voted against it.
What does this declaration mean? Only time will tell whether the governments take appropriate action. Burlington, for one, is creating a Climate Action Plan, and other municipalities are taking similar actions.
The worldwide movement is another sign of the very high cost of Climate Change on society; the cost has reached a point where drastic actions must be taken. Let’s hope that governments around the world continue to make similar declarations of a Climate State of Emergency. And let’s hope that appropriate actions are taken.