Rosemarie Buchanan

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 am also a composter and recycler for many decades, long before it was fashionable. I was using reusable shopping bags back in the 80s when other shoppers around me were accusing me of not supporting the forest industry by not taking paper bags. I am not a “shopper”, other than essentials. I shop locally, and do not order anything online. I prefer to buy Canadian made goods not just for the employment factor but also because I believe the carbon footprint of getting Canadian goods shipped across Canada is way less than huge container ships coming from China or other countries on the other side of the ocean. I routinely refuse to buy over packaged items, and I don’t care if it’s all recyclable. All those raw materials had to come from somewhere, and over packaging seems to be an epidemic on the planet now.  

Many years ago I stopped using cleaning and personal hygiene products that had those microbeads in them. I have also stopped using toxic commercial laundry products, like dryer sheets, liquid fabric softener, laundry detergents which are scented. I try to avoid any scented products, which in this day and age is almost impossible. So-called scented products are full of dangerous and toxic chemicals.

In my own yard I use no fertilizers other than the compost that I make. I use no pesticides or herbicides ever.  I do not water what little lawn I have, and have made my backyard functional with three raised beds, a greenhouse and fruit trees and bushes. I pretty much have nothing decorative in my garden.

I have a long clothes line and rarely use my dryer. In the rainy season, I use a drying rack. Not only does this save money, but towels are far more absorbent when they are hung to dry without any toxic fabric softeners.

In 2010 I got the school district to stop using pesticides, and 12 years later, because I ask every year, the school district is still pesticide free.

2.  What opportunities do you see at your municipal/electoral area/school board level to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

I was going to start this about 2 and 1/2 years ago and then covid hit. I am committed to developing a reduce / reuse / recycle culture in our school district. While there is some that is going on now, it is inadequate and there are way too many things ending up in the garbage which should be reused or recycled. If re-elected, I will be initiating this and hopefully turn it into policy and practice which will reduce the amount of garbage in the district. Other districts in British Columbia have done this and ours should be leading the charge. This is going to be a massive culture change within the district and will require consultations with school district staff, so I don’t think it’s going to be happening as quickly as I would like it to happen.

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?

That’s a difficult question to answer, particularly in view of the fact that between the ex-president of the United States, and covid, I think we have become much more polarized than ever before. I think the best way to move forward with climate changes through public education. Our students need to know the science behind climate change and what they can do as individuals to help slow down climate change. I believe most high school students are getting this information already, and elementary schools are actively involved in educating the kids regarding climate change

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.

It’s difficult to pick just two because I see all of the items listed above as intertwined. Transportation, housing, land use and development are particularly intertwined. Many municipalities have made the mistake of overdeveloping, take Langford as an example. Condos stacked all over the place may increase the tax base but it does not equal a better quality of life if you don’t have schools, Healthcare, and transportation which can support the population. Overdevelopment without proper transportation adaptation leads to more cars on the road, bigger parking lots under condos, more greenhouse gases being spewed into the air and general frustration  just trying to get around to do a few errands. Public transportation needs to be amended so that it’s cheaper to take, and easier, particularly in view of the numbers of seniors and people with disabilities who struggle to be independent. Most current public transportation is fine if you are able-bodied, but not so much if you have any mobility issues. For me because of a permanent lumbar spine injury, walking three blocks to a bus stop is simply not doable. I see the word equity as meaning income equity. When fewer people are living in poverty, I think we will have more success with sustainability in our environment. Healthy employed people are more likely to be proactive than families who struggle just to put food on the table or who have mental health issues to deal with. I have been in meetings where environmentalists were present, and some very nasty and judgmental comments were made about people who drive old cars and burn wood. I think that until we walk a mile in the shoes of those people, we have no right to judge. The only thing we should be doing is offering people a hand up.

5.  If elected, what would your first action be toward reducing greenhouse gases in your area of responsibility? 

As school buses are replaced, I will want the new ones to be at the very least hybrid, or at best fully electric. I do understand that there are large carbon footprints produced by the mining of lithium and manufacturing of the batteries, along with disposal. I am not sure what the answer is for that. I would like to see a study of the carbon footprints of two comparable vehicles, right from manufacturing to the scrap yard at the end of its life, one vehicle being all electric and the other being an average 4 cylinder gas burning vehicle.

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?

That question requires a lot of optimism. In my dreams I would see school district 70 Pacific rim produce no garbage, be a leader in reusing and recycling, used vehicles which do not harm the environment, provide nutritious foods for students which are produced in school district gardens, ban the sale of power drinks, pop and juices, along with vending machine so-called foods. Along with the school district gardens would be fruit trees so students and staff can access fruit produced at very little cost to the district and free to the students and staff. I would hope that along with that would be in school lessons on preserving food for use during the non-growing season. What we call sustainable today may look very different in 50 years.