The BC government is preparing a plan to reactivate the economy and they want to hear from you. They are setting priorities for improving the healthcare system, restoring and creating jobs, supporting Indigenous peoples and enhancing quality of life for British Columbians.
The government wants to learn about your priorities and your opinion on their policy options. This will help them decide how to allocate their $1.5 billion Economic Recovery Fund and plan next year’s budget.
If you decide to take the survey, here are some suggestions to help put the environment higher in the provincial agenda:
- Select the environment and/or climate change as one of your top priorities. Without a clean and safe environment, we can’t have thriving communities. We need a healthy natural environment to have the basic needs of clean water, air, nutrition, recreation and protection from extreme weather.
- When describing your priorities for quality of life, mention the importance of protecting and restoring the ecosystems that sustain us. Recognize that biodiversity is being ignored in this plan and it is crucial to healthy ecosystems.
- When describing improvements for work life/work prospects, speak about how protecting ecosystems and tackling climate change in your community can create new job opportunities. You can provide examples, such as organic agriculture, flood prevention, wildfire management, watershed and habitat restoration, energy-efficient housing, bike lanes, zero waste, and greening local businesses.
- When ranking policy options, select one that speaks about climate action and green jobs. Unfortunately, the “climate action” option is tied to “clean energy”, which includes natural gas (in the province’s books). Nonetheless, having an environmental option on your top priorities will send a message.
- Mark “helps achieve BC climate targets” as an important criteria for government support. We do not want to finance industries that are making the climate problem worse. We want public finance to be an incentive for industries to reduce their carbon pollution.
Other advice and opinions:
The last question gives you the opportunity to expand on your views and point out what’s missing. We are sure you have great comments and suggestions. Here are some points for your consideration:
- Speak up for biodiversity, conservation and sustainability. Support financing ecosystem restoration, sustainable cities, green jobs, and nature-based climate solutions, like capturing carbon in forests and agricultural soil.
- Stress the importance of assisting small and medium-size businesses over large corporations and making sure workers are benefitted. Protecting human and environmental wellbeing is very hard when corporations hold massive economic power. If we don’t help small and medium businesses come back, we will be in a worse situation than before.
If you decide to send an email or attend the town hall, let the government know that sustainability is your top priority. Mention the kind of investments that you believe are shovel-worthy and that can benefit your quality of life and local jobs.
Expand their vision of climate action beyond industrial clean energy to cover public services, food systems, wild areas and community-led initiatives. Highlight the need to invest in ecosystems and biodiversity.
Now is the time to make sure our public money is spent in building a better future for all living things. Tell the BC government we want healthier communities, thriving ecosystems and a prosperous green economy. Reassure them that we are ready to move forward (not go back).