2016—2017 · V. 44 No. 4


2016—2017 · V. 44 No. 4



Looking for climate change solutions?

OSSTF/FEESO submitted the following suggestions to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in April 2015 as part of the climate change discussion consultation process. A link to the full submission can be found on our Environmental Resources page.

  1. Make all schools carbon neutral
    • All new schools should be carbon neutral and funding should be provided to retrofit existing schools with technology that would allow them to become carbon neutral.
    • New buildings should be constructed with LEED standards and powered with green technologies that are reliable and efficient.
    • The roofs of school buildings should be covered with solar panels (where structurally feasible) that can power the school; excess electricity should be directed to the provincial grid, so that the associated revenue can benefit the school.

  2. Reduce school bussing and enhance walking opportunities
    • Schools should be linked by paths and corridors that connect the building to the core areas for the student population of the educational institution.
    • Students should be able to safely walk or bike to school.
    • End the public funding of the parallel religious school system, thereby reducing the duplication of school services and extra bussing.

  3. Introduce a carbon fee and dividend system
    • A public carbon fee and dividend system can be implemented to encourage polluters to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Since the implementation of a modest price on carbon pollution, BC has reduced fossil fuel consumption by 16 per cent, while its economy has performed better than the Canadian average.

  4. Reduce waste
    • The increase in waste generation, and in waste that is not treated in an environmentally sound manner, contributes to worsening environmental pollution, including air, soil and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Governments need to shift away from encouraging the extraction of raw resources and toward support for the use of recycled materials and fostering local manufacturing.
    • Strengthen product stewardship laws and make it mandatory for all industry not only to produce products that could be recycled at the end of their lifespan, but also to be responsible for the collection and disposals of goods that they produce.

  5. Continue to invest in alternative energy
    • The Government of Ontario should facilitate a transition to cleaner energy production through regulations and policies supporting green energy.
    • Removal of government subsidies on fossil fuels would level the playing field and allow for a true cost comparison between fossil fuels and alternative energy.

  6. Education
    • The Province of Ontario should ensure that students develop an understanding of the problems associated with climate change and the urgency to find solutions to the challenges that global warming presents.
    • Education about climate change should be mandated using a cross-curricular approach at all levels and grades of schooling.
    • Educators, especially those without a scientific background, need to be provided with up-to-date and accurate curriculum materials to assist with presenting the challenges of climate change to students in a clear and accessible way.

  7. Encourage less meat consumption
    • Cattle and livestock are the second leading contributor to climate change after buildings, generating 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
    • Public education programs could be targeted at schools that encourage less meat consumption and outline both the health and environmental benefits of reducing meat consumption.

  8. Transportation
    • The transportation sector makes up 25 per cent of Canada’s emissions and, in Ontario, passenger transportation currently contributes the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the province. Urban sprawl, traffic congestion, long commutes and inadequate transit infrastructure are the main culprits for these emissions.
    • Implement tax increases on gasoline and diesel fuels to generate revenue to support public transit and car-pooling, as well as to improve urban infrastructure for bicycles and pedestrians.
    • Encourage the use of more fuel-efficient vehicles by offering substantial rebates for hybrids, electric vehicles and industry leaders in fuel efficiency.
    • Invest in building public transportation projects and provide subsidies to the daily operations of public transportation.
    • Encourage car-pooling through high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.
    • Improve urban infrastructure to promote walking and biking.
    • Establish more charging stations for electric vehicles.

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