By Kuya Minogue, member of Creston Climate Action Society
Well here we are in 2022. We are eight years away from 2030, with the Town of Creston aiming for a reduction in fossil fuel dependence. Babies born this year will be eight years old in 2030 and 38 years old in 2050, the date set for full transition off oil. What will Creston look like then? Last year, I wrote about my concerns for the future if we continued with business as usual. I still have those concerns, but after last year, I’m sure that most of us, when we sit down to talk about it, share those concerns. This past year has given us direct and local evidence that we are indeed on the precipice of deep climate emergency right here at home.
Most of the time life is perfectly lovely here in Creston. When I meditate on one of the sitting platforms on Sakura-ji’s temple grounds, it’s easy to forget the reality of what we are facing. I prefer to sit looking down the back lane and across the valley floor to the mountains beyond West Creston. The changing colours of the fields, the grazing cattle, the mist rising from the Kootenay River, and the line of snow-capped mountains that stretches north towards Kootenay Lake can lull me into denial.
Then I see windmills and solar panel installations on the flats, technology that churns out electricity that powers our vehicles and heats and lights our homes and businesses. And then I recall the heat wave, the fires, and the floods whose impact we felt right here in Creston. In my heart, I believe that planet earth, our sustenance, is losing the fight to restore ecological homeostasis, and that we absolutely must do whatever we can do to help cool her off. At the family level, we can reduce meat consumption, sharpen up home-based recycling, grow our own food, and plant flowers for our pollinators. At the community level, we can buy local, and plan how to act together. At the provincial and federal levels, we can convince our governments to withdraw their support of fossil fuel extraction and encourage them to shift effort and resources into developing and supporting technologies that will prepare us for this massive, seemingly impossible, social, economic and technological transformation. In other words, we have to get started with our preparation for mitigation and adaptation as we transition off oil. That’s that this column will be about — transition off oil.
The first step in transition is to get the community to “buy-in”, because without everyone’s participation, nothing will happen. Hence, I’m writing this article to ask each of you to get active in building a community vision of Creston, post-oil. As babies born this year turn 30, what do we want our community to look like? Last fall, when the Town of Creston “bought in” and signed a pledge to reach 100 per cent by 2050, I too committed to prevent that pledge from falling off the edge of our council table, and keep the mayor and council’s feet to the fire.
So here I am. I’m not asking for money and I’m not asking for you to hit the streets — yet. I’m not even asking you to attend a meeting. What I am asking you to do is to join our Creston Climate Transition Facebook page where we can help each other to generate a community-based vision of a future that is locally planned, sustainable, supported by regenerative agriculture and economies, and deeply co-operative.
Like most people I talk with, when I believe that we are facing the impossible, my energy for climate action flags. But then I remember my Zen teacher’s admonition to “attempt the impossible” — one small act at a time.
Take some time to imagine what our town and our lives might look like without oil. Let your imagination go beyond the bounds of what you think is possible. Imagine the impossible. Do some writing about it. And then visit the Creston Climate Transition Facebook page and let us know what you see in our future. If you are really empowered, check out the Creston Climate Action Facebook page and give a hand.