School District 69 has joined other B.C. school boards in declaring a climate emergency. (Cloe Logan photo)

Qualicum school district board declares a climate emergency

‘We know that this is a multi-year process’

The Qualicum school district (SD69) has joined other B.C. school boards in passing a motion declaring a climate emergency.

Climate change has been a hot topic for the board since the start of the school year – the move comes after a motion of non-support for field trips requiring air travel was voted against by the board. Instead, the board is creating a climate action task force to make recommendations on how the school district can reduce its ecological footprint in ways other than eliminating field trips. The motion was passed at the most recent school board meeting on Nov. 29.

This past week, the Upper Grand school district in Guelph, Ont. declared a climate emergency. The Greater Victoria school district did so in June 2019, and Vancouver school board in September of 2019.

READ MORE: Qualicum school board votes against motion of non-support for field trips requiring air travel

Keven Elder, superintendent of schools for SD69, said declaring a climate emergency will allow the board to address its current and future priorities with environmental impact in mind.

“The board has now declared a climate emergency to go along with other organizations and agencies and levels of government that have done the same, just joining the collective voice around the world of people saying we have an emergency,” said Elder.

Elder said this is the first step to creating a frame of reference for the task force, which is set to share some plans after winter break. Elder said a combination of looking at ideas from other districts, research and potential organizations that the board can join are all part of the puzzle.

“We know that this is a multi-year process,” he said.“Right now we’re just getting our bearings in terms of what it looks like to be an effective task force, especially as an education system.”

cloe.logan@pqbnews.com

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