We must adapt behaviour and policy or risk our future, says environmental coalition.
The future of our planet is in jeopardy. Global warming and climate change have already had a significant impact on our planet. Winnipeg organizations have joined forces to educate citizens, business owners and policymakers about the importance of changing our behaviour.
“This is the biggest issue of our time,” says Tracy Hucul, Executive Director of Green Action Centre. “That’s why we’ve come together.”
The coalition calls itself Manitoba’s Climate Action Team and formed shortly after the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report in October 2018. The report states that according to scientific consensus, we have just over 12 years to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Manitoba has already seen increased droughts, flooding, and forest fires.
Since the IPCC report was made public and the coalition was formed, it has met on a bi-weekly basis to plan events, share ideas, coordinate resources, and talk about what needs to get done.
“All of our organizations have been doing this kind of work for years. But when the IPCC report came out last fall it was more of a wakeup call,” Hucul says. “We have less time than we thought. We always knew [climate change] was urgent and now we know what’s really urgent.”
The Climate Action Team is a nonpartisan group of partner organizations that includes Green Action Centre, Climate Change Connection, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Wilderness Committee, Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition, Prairie Climate Centre, Transition Winnipeg, University of Winnipeg’s Sustainability Office, and the Manitoba Eco-Network.
This level of collaboration on climate change is the first of its kind in Manitoba. The team aims to make climate change information available and understandable to everyday citizens, members of the business community and policymakers.
One of the Climate Action Team’s projects is Road to Resilience, which aims to educate, report stories, and foster conversation about the climate crisis, with the goal of leading people to reduce their impact on climate change.
As part of Road to Resilience, the coalition hosted two events earlier this year. Climate Jam: Resilience on the Red took place in February at the University of Winnipeg and included presentations and workshops about sustainable food, shelter, transportation and communities.
In April, the group hosted Earth Day Eats, which took place on the corner of Portage and Main and featured climate conversations, local food, and music.
“We’re able to attract a pretty significant number of people to our events,” says Curt Hull, Project Director at Climate Change Connection. “That’s really been the strength of the collaboration and the success we’ve had so far.”
The coalition is hoping the energy generated from these events will inspire necessary change.
“[Change] is possible,” says Molly McCracken, Manitoba Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. “By working with different networks, bringing people together, creating some excitement and momentum, to really make the case to our political parties – of all stripes – ‘We can do this, and we will do this, through democratic action’.”
The coalition believes democratic action is the key to the political piece of addressing the climate change crisis. Those who can affect systemic and policy change in a positive way must be on board, the group says.
Recipient: Green Action Centre, on behalf of Manitoba’s Climate Action Team
Program: Road to Resilience
Grant: $96,000, drawn from the Environment Fund
This story is featured in the Summer 2019 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.