Greg Utzig says pandemic is temporary, climate change is here to stay. (File photo)

Climate change not part of Columbia Basin Trust draft plan

Letter to the Editor from Greg Utzig

Like many people in the Columbia Basin, I recently received an invitation to comment on the Columbia Basin Trust’s (Trust) Draft Strategic Plan 2020-2022.

As a long-time resident and a scientist who’s worked on climate change-related projects in the Basin, some funded by the Trust, I was stunned by what I read.

And by what I didn’t read.

The words “climate change” do not even appear in the document.

Clearly the pandemic is a major concern, but we also still face a climate crisis – a crisis that speaks to the core of the Trust’s mission: “to support efforts by the people of the Basin to create a legacy of social, economic, and environmental well-being and to achieve greater self-sufficiency for present and future generations.”

It’s a scientific fact that the well-being of future generations depends on us reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) as rapidly as possible.

At the same time, we must adapt to the climate disruption we’ve already set in motion.

As an example, as I write this letter hundreds of people throughout the East and West Kootenay are on evacuation alert due to active wildfires intensified by emerging climate change heatwaves.

As a conservation ecologist I find it ironic that one of the priorities in the draft plan is ecosystem restoration.

With advancing climate change, it is too late to think about ecosystem restoration. What we should be planning for is building ecosystem resilience for the massive disturbances that are ahead.

Another priority in the plan is support for business renewal.

Any assistance for economic development should be carefully vetted though a climate change lens.

Will the assistance decrease GHG emissions? Will it result in increased resiliency to climate change impacts?

This is the time to start building the economy of the future.

I call on the Trust to seriously consider the context in which we are presently living – the pandemic may impact many of us temporarily, but climate change will affect all of us for many generations.

Anything short of addressing climate change, starting now, is merely moving the deck chairs for a better view of the destruction ahead.

The Trust is asking for feedback until Sept. 11.

I encourage readers to go to www.ourtrust.org and complete the short survey, keeping the climate crisis as our short- and long-term priority.

Greg Utzig M.Sc., Nelson.

Letter to the Editor

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two men killed in Hwy 3 collision west of Castlegar

The single-vehicle incident happened Thursday morning

Trail RCMP investigate party in Pend d’Oreille

Trail RCMP remind residents that unlawful gatherings can result in hefty fines

Columbia Basin Trust provides almost $100M to programs

Columbia Basin Trust is working on finalizing a short-term strategic plan

A glimpse of the Silver City during the 1918 pandemic

City hotels - the Central, Aldridge and Montana - were set up as hospitals during the 1918 pandemic

Central Mountain Air to offer flights out of Castlegar

The company will be offering Castlegar to Vancouver flights October 1.

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

Interior Health reports four new cases of COVID-19

First hospitalization since mid-August announced

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Conservation groups blast province for logging in caribou habitat near Revelstoke

In the last year, 104 cuts have been approved near Revelstoke in caribou habitat

B.C.’s 1st mental health and addictions minister won’t be seeking re-election

MLA Judy Darcy is the fifth cabinet minister not intending to run in the next election

Most Read