Shoe strike for climate change: Rally goes ahead with changes during pandemic
KITCHENER -- This year's climate change rally in Waterloo Region looked a bit different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One year ago, thousands of people marched in Waterloo as part of the Global Climate Strike.
This year, shoes represented people continuing to protest against climate change.
"We're at the tipping point for climate change, where if we don't act now, we're really going to be facing some massive impacts that are going to have financial and human impacts on them," organizer Andres Fuentos said.
Last year, the Region of Waterloo and the Tri-Cities declared climate emergencies, releasing corporate climate action plans with goals and targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency.
The City of Kitchener said it's on track on a corporate level.
"A lot of LED lighting retrofits, idle reduction at our fleet and feels electric vehicle stations, and stormwater management as well," corporate sustainability officer Claire Bennett said.
In an emailed statement to CTV News Kitchener, the City of Cambridge listed a number of initiatives, including a backyard tree planting program and banning single-use plastic at city hall.
A report on the city's progress on greenhouse gas reductions is supposed to be presented at council before the end of the year.
The region has some projects in the works, including getting federal funding for electric vehicle infrastructure and home energy retrofits.
"We applied to the federal government and are very close to having infrastructure funding come to the community and having about 25 electric vehicle stations implemented," said Kate Hagerman, manager of environmental planning and sustainability with the region.
Waterloo Region is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
Fuentes, however, has a more ambitious target.
"This fall we'll be pushing the region to commit to 50 per cent by 2030," he said.
Cambridge and Kitchener did say the pandemic caused some delays in their climate change projects planned for this year.
Climate Action Waterloo Region plans to put out a draft community climate action plan later this year, which will include strategies for reaching both short- and long-term goals.
The City of Waterloo said it's adapting to the climate emergency.
"Climate change is a crisis," a city official said in an emailed statement to CTV News Kitchener. "We are working to adapt to the changes our community is already experiencing and mitigate further negative impact."
Council approved an adaptation plan in June 2019.
The city said it plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
Council will get a terms of reference for the climate change action plan on Oct. 2.