Lower Mainland residents who fret about the planet's future can take comfort in what happened at Metro Vancouver on Friday (November 29).
That's because two sensible "greenies", Sav Dhaliwal and Linda Buchanan, were acclaimed for a second term as chair and vice chair of the regional government's board of directors.
Coincidentally, Dhaliwal and Buchanan received a second mandate on the same day that Sustainabiliteens Vancouver were holding a #FridaysforFuture climate strike.
The teen climate activists set up a used-clothing swap on Granville Street to discourage consumers from buying fast-fashion items on Black Friday.
With Dhaliwal and Buchanan at the helm, the regional government has shone a spotlight on the harmful impact of textile production through its Think Thrice About Your Clothes campaign.
It urges residents to reduce, repair, and reuse clothing to curtail the large volume of textiles going to landfills.
"On average, we buy three times more clothes than we did in the 80s, and it is estimated that one garbage truck full of clothing is landfilled globally every second," the campaign states on its website. "Cheaper clothing, fast fashion trends, and an overall increase in consumption is resulting in more and more clothing waste! Did you know that in Metro Vancouver we threw away 44 million pounds of clothing last year?"
According to the scientific journal Nature, the fashion industry is responsible for about five percent of global carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
"It has been estimated that there are 20 new garments manufactured per person each year and we are buying 60% more than we were in 2000," the researchers wrote. "Each garment is worn less before being disposed of and this shorter lifespan means higher relative manufacturing emissions."
The Sustainabiliteens' clothing swap reinforced Metro Vancouver's campaign goals.
Burnaby and City of North Van focus on emissions
A year ago, the Straight interviewed Dhaliwal, a Burnaby councillor, about his objectives as Metro Vancouver's chair.
He responded that one of his aims was to work cooperatively with other directors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by adopting best practices from other jurisdictions.
“It’s part of our regional-growth-strategy goal, but the local governments have, obviously, been very busy on other things,” Dhaliwal said at the time. “We haven’t really picked up on a full set of strategies and an action plan to respond to climate change.”
The City of Burnaby has been an environmental leader in Metro Vancouver. Its environmental sustainability strategy sets out a long-term vision based on the collection of more than 8,000 ideas from the community.
The strategy includes a detailed community energy and emissions plan highlighting such things as per-person emissions in the city and the various sources. There are plans for addressing these issues.
Buchanan is mayor of the City of North Vancouver, which is one of the region's greenest municipalities.
Its district-energy system, the Lonsdale Energy Corp., has been a model across Canada for reducing a municipality's carbon footprint.
The City of North Van's magnificent library in the Central Lonsdale area won a LEED Gold certificate from the Canadian Green Building Council.
Its land-use planning has concentrated development, including by being among the first to allow laneway houses and secondary suites.
And it enhanced cycling opportunities along the North Shore Spirit Trail to reduce vehicle travel.
The reelection of Dhaliwal and Buchanan comes as the climate crisis is hitting home.
Global climate models are projecting an average temperature increase of 3 C in the 2050s in Metro Vancouver from the start of the Industrial Revolution, according a regional district report.
That will more than double the number of summer days above 25 C in Metro Vancouver from 22 to 55 per year. This warming trend will also bring about five percent more precipitation by the 2050s.
"These changes will have multiple impacts on our region, some of which can be accommodated through long-range planning and early adaptation efforts," the report states.
The last thing we need right now is know-nothing populists who pander to the public's desire to blame problems on outsiders rather than tackling them head-on.
These are serious times requiring serious politicians prepared to respond and adapt to the climate crisis.
Fortunately, Dhaliwal and Buchanan are serious politicians. The region is in good hands.