Following are the answers given by the candidate. See other candidates
1. What actions have you personally taken to support a more sustainable climate?
I prefer to use the word, “regenerative”, for the word, “sustainable”, can often refer to maintaining the status quo, and I believe we need to do more than just that if we’re really going to have any chance of mitigating the effects of climate change. Regenerative can also refer to carbon-neutral practices; what we take from the earth can be returned to the earth naturally, or used in the construction of zero-carbon homes.
Some of the things I do to decrease my impact on the environment and towards climate action include: walking when possible, working from home at least half of the year, composting daily, eating a diet that is mostly vegan/vegetarian, growing some of my own food (working on ways to grow more), purchasing foods that are ethically sourced. I have also implemented practices at my places of work and within my organization that protect and respect nature. Last year, I purchased a more efficient heat-pump and blower, and in 2018 I purchased a more fuel-efficient vehicle – the motor turns off when the vehicle isn’t in motion, and it gets more than twice the mileage – the next one will most likely be electric.
2. What opportunities do you see at your municipal/electoral area/school board level to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
Gosh, there’s so much we can do at the municipal level. It certainly would be exciting if our community could lead the way in Canada when it comes to implementing some of these changes through effective policy and practices.
The City of Port Alberni finally voted in October 2021 to declare a Climate State of Emergency and to use the “Together for Climate Report” as a reference for future planning. As your representative, I will support the efforts of the previous council and do what I can to ensure actions are taken with regards to following those commitments and towards protecting our environment. My platform, which is available at www.joshuadahling.ca highlights more.
A couple of priorities that I’ve outline on my platform include…
- Speeding up the wastewater treatment management plan. The city’scurrent plan is to stop the disposal of raw sewage into our waterways over 50 years, I hope to fix it within 5 by working with other levels of government and our local First Nations
- Installing more charging stations around the city for electric vehicles to help reduce greenhouse gases
- For the City of Port Alberni to own and control its watersheds
- To create policy that allows us to Maintain Dark Skies and reduceLight Pollution
3. What will you do, if elected, to overcome polarization in local politics around the challenges of climate change and to build a middle ground that encourages listening, understanding, and consensus that can move climate change action forward?
I understand that people will always have opposing views when it comes to certain things, and the topic of climate change happens to be one of them. When views are polarized consensus usually isn’t possible, but that’s ok, I value different opinions and opportunities for dialogue, for it’s through having conversations that we can move forward.
I have a lot of experience in bringing people together to work through issues – particularly when it comes to addressing difficult topics in the most challenging of times – mental health, addictions, and grief. I’ll be using my experiences and try my best to be relational when representing our community at the decision-making circles. Part of my style is to focus on similarities rather than on differences. For example, I’m sure most can agree that we don’t want raw sewage in the same areas that many of us fish for food or swim in. Let’s start with what we can agree on and figure out solutions together. When agreements aren’t possible, then sometimes we have to agree to disagree.
4. What opportunities do you see for climate leadership in the following sectors? Please pick at least two.
Transportation, Housing, Land use and Development, Equity.
Again, so many opportunities, and what a gift we have – the nature surrounding all of us and the opportunity to really shape the future of our community. For this question, I’ll briefly address Land Use and Development as well as Housing. Again, you can read about these issues and more under the platform on my website: www.joshuadahling.ca
I believe I have much to learn, and that there are many people who have concerns about the impact environmental policies might potentially have on businesses. Climate leadership can be possible by ensuring that there are ongoing opportunities for education – especially if that education discusses ways people can benefit financially when committing to climate action.
It is my understanding that the City of Port Alberni intends to release more land for development as seen in the residential map noted in Official Community Plan. I am concerned that our current framework for land use/development doesn’t consider what’s best for the environment – particularly when it comes to growth. Perhaps we should focus on fixing up what we have.
Due to the easy access we have to the outdoors – millions of people pass through here each year simply for that – and the incredible people who reside here (kind, loyal, hard-working) we can easily become the envy of all communities across this country if we plan accordingly.
Many of the proposed building developments have been for single family dwellings, and the environmental impact of this method isn’t positive to say the least. I’m interested in supporting ways that we can develop homes that accommodate more people and have less of a carbon footprint. I’m also interested in homes that allow for families to stay together and are more affordable.
5. If elected, what would your first action be toward reducing greenhouse gases in your area of responsibility?
If elected, I realize that I am only one vote out of seven, so my first order of business will be to work on forming positive relationships with my colleagues so that we can effectively get down to business.
As outlined on my platform, I have a few things that I want to accomplish – particularly when it comes to climate action and the reduction of greenhouse gases. Although I am eager to amend some of the existing bylaws and create new ones when it comes to housing and development, I’ll begin by pursuing goals that are less likely to invite conflict such as charging stations for electric vehicles. Whether it be for residents who are out and about in the community, or tourists who are passing through, a plan to avail more charging stations will be good for businesses and incentivise people who may be in the market for a new vehicle. Much of this funding could likely come from provincial and federal government grants, and partnerships with an array of corporations.
6. The climate emergency requires long term thinking and planning. How do you envision a climate sustainable City/Electoral Area/School District, 50 years from now?
50 years from now, I hope all of our descendants can enjoy the gifts we have today with much more abundance. Ideally, Port Alberni will continue to have some of the cleanest air in the province, that five Salmon species will continue spawning in our waterways, that the stars will shine bright over our city, and our drinking water will be clean and plentiful.
Reaching these goals will require policy changes from all levels of government and a commitment from the City to follow the recommendations from the “Together for Climate” report. Furthermore, future Councils will need to adapt and follow the most recent recommendations of scientists and credible environmental groups. When asked to vote at the decision-making tables, I will be favouring inititiatives and bylaws that protect the next seven generations, for maintaining the status quo simply isn’t good enough.