Municipalities are key to solving the climate crisis
Municipalities are not only driving emissions, they’re also key to lowering them. How we design, construct, manage and power our cities and towns in the years ahead will determine our ability to reduce a large part of our emissions globally.
Throughout Canada, cities and towns have been stepping up to take action on climate change, demonstrating the kind of bold leadership we need to create sustainable, equitable and just communities. Local governments can often be more ambitious and nimbler in their climate plans than provincial and federal governments. And because local governments are directly accountable to their constituents, residents hold a lot of power and can affect big changes.
That’s why the David Suzuki Foundation is working in key Canadian cities, helping municipal leaders develop and implement ambitious and equitable climate plans and helping citizen groups work with their local governments on climate action.
There is no climate justice without racial justice. Equity must be foundational to all climate action taken in our cities. Key to this is centring the voice of the community, especially those who are most marginalized.
Julius Lindsay, Director, Sustainable Communities
An equity lens to municipal climate action
The energy transition must be a just transition, one that ensures all people benefit equally from climate solutions and that vulnerable communities do not shoulder the costs.
With this in mind, we urge local governments and climate champions to adopt an equity lens to climate planning, which takes existing disparities into account and makes sure climate policies work to reduce, not exacerbate, them. An equity lens should inform all climate planning from the outset.
Cities are driving emissions and are key to reducing them
Half of Canada’s emissions
In Canada, about half of our emissions come from cities. And 23 cities account for 15 per cent of the country’s total emissions.
2.5 billion people
By 2050, 2.5 billion more people will live in cities. A lot of those cities have not been built yet.
80 per cent of Canadians
Eighty per cent of Canadians live in municipalities (towns and cities).
Where we work
In Regina, we work with community groups like Regina Energy Transition and other key stakeholders to advance the city’s energy and sustainability framework. We supported important climate equity research at the University of Regina that’s also relevant to other cities.
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
We support the growing environmental movement in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area by helping communities advance high-impact, equitable climate action. We build synergy between local government and residents’ ambition for climate action.
We’re helping the City of Vancouver strengthen its climate plan and helping Metro Vancouver with its regional transportation strategy. We provide recommendations on best policies and practices that significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In Edmonton, we support community groups working with the city to bring an equity lens to its energy transition strategy and to monitor its milestones.
We recently co-ordinated a group of 15 organizations involved in fostering citizen-led initiatives in Montreal. We’re now taking part in an initiative called Transition in Common, which aims to foster socio-ecological transition in Montreal’s neighbourhoods.
Get involved in municipal climate action
Work with your local government on climate action
If you’re interested in taking local climate action, we’ve got a guide for you! Your Voice at the Table: A Guide to Mobilizing Local Government Climate Action is an online resource that will give you:
- an understanding of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions
- tools to assess the effectiveness of your local government’s climate plan
- tips on working with your local government
- inspiring stories from people who’ve worked with their governments on climate action
Join the Future Ground Network
The Future Ground Network offers training and resources to emerging and experienced grassroots groups to amplify their impact on the issues that matter most to their communities. The network also helps connect and unify groups throughout the environmental movement, making co-ordination and large-scale mobilization possible.
Get Charged Up
Charged Up is helping build the climate and clean energy transition movement. Get inspired by stories of people making change in their communities or sign up to receive resources and opportunities to take local climate action.