Climate change hurts an urban city like Toronto. Here’s how to help stop it. Contributed by David Morris – Ontario Liberal Candidate, Toronto Centre
Climate change is, right now, impacting all of us – but it doesn’t always feel like that, does it? In an urban city like Toronto, the most we’re reminded of the climate emergency is when we watch the news and see forest fires, floods and hurricanes raging somewhere else.
But make no mistake, the climate emergency is relevant to you, me and everyone else who calls Toronto home. Despite being Canada’s largest urban city, Toronto is as vulnerable to climate change as any rural or forested community.
Those who know this are afraid. When I talk to neighbors and community members, they’re fearful that we’ve missed our chance to change and done too much damage. They’re also not sure what a city like ours can do to help.
But it’s not too late, and the Toronto region has a role to play in Ontario and Canada’s climate response. After spending a decade in public service, here’s what I’ve learnt can move the dial.
First, protect greenspaces in and around the city. Trees capture pollution – so the more we plant, the better. Wetlands and marshes along the Don River prevent flooding and capture rainfall. Whether we’re talking about something as small as a new local park or as big as growing the Greenbelt and amount of protected land – more greenspaces can make a difference and give us Toronto residents places to spend time outside enjoying nature.
Second, choose developers who are committed to cutting their pollution. Toronto needs to build a lot – new homes, transit and businesses. The construction sector is a major polluter, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. There’s new materials and methods that reduce the amount of pollution generated, like using more wood in construction. As we build up Toronto, we should be embracing developers taking these approaches and help those that aren’t make the transition.
Finally, elect leaders who believe in climate science and action. Despite the urgency of this issue, Doug Ford’s conservatives have sided with irresponsible developers and polluting corporations over everyone else – firing Ontario’s environment experts or forcing them to quit, rapidly approving construction without measuring environmental impact and fighting the federal price on pollution. I became an Ontario Liberal candidate because I believe in keeping our clean air and water clean, making food more affordable and protecting greenspaces.
We’ve never been faced with a challenge as global and complex as climate change – but there are ways we, as a Toronto community, can do our part. Climate change is here in the city we love, so let’s work together to fight it.