North Okanagan residents value the environment that surrounds them. (Claude Rioux photo)

EDITORIAL: Earth health a vital issue

It’s time for the environment to rise to the top during the provincial election

During the May 9 provincial election, environmental issues should matter to all political parties because voters care.

Combatting a global problem like climate change requires efforts from all levels of government, and B.C.’s next government will have a say on countless environmental files. Some fall directly under the Ministry of Environment’s mandate, many more overlap with other provincial ministries.

When we talk about climate change, emissions targets are some tangible goals, and each party has its own notions about what’s realistic and what’s the right balance. And beyond those stated emissions targets will come action through regulation, taxation and other means. Policies on fossil fuel extraction and development of renewables, for example, will be indicators of whether the government is serious about meeting its emissions targets.

A positive of an election campaign is that parties will tend to say the right things about their environmental intentions. The Liberals can laud their carbon tax, which is a model other provinces might do well to emulate. The NDP have a comprehensive plan that would see energy-efficient retrofits at public buildings. The Greens would increase and expand the carbon tax and adopt more ambitious targets on greenhouse gas reductions.

An election campaign is a chance for British Columbians to talk about a lot of the issues that are important to us, with the knowledge that politicians have to listen right now.

The Earth doesn’t have its own MLA or premier but we can elect politicians who will advocate for our environment and care about our planet.

— Black Press