Taking an active role in climate change consultation

TRU student helps promote B.C. government’s climate action initiative

TRU law student and active environmentalist Peggy Mills. (Submitted)

TRU law student and active environmentalist Peggy Mills. (Submitted)

This spring, the B.C. government will release its new Climate Leadership plan. The new plan, which was announced in May of last year, has undergone both public consultation and private review by the government. Before any ideas are finalized however, the public will get a chance to voice their thoughts one more time before the consultation period ends on March 25.

Through this period of public consultation, the B.C. government is hoping to garner ideas from across the province on reducing greenhouse gases and how to live and work sustainably.

At the time of the province’s release of their January 2016 Consultation Guide, 6,000 individual surveys had already been submitted. One student at TRU is hoping to increase this number as well as bring recognition to the public consultation process.

Both a law student and an avid environmentalist, Peggy Mills started the promotion of the climate action survey here at TRU as a way to get students to start thinking green.

“This is just a really positive idea. It’s getting people thinking, ‘maybe I could get a green job for myself somewhere, maybe there could be a new industry, maybe Kamloops could get involved,’” Mills said. “I want to get the students who are bright and full of ideas working on this stuff, because it is their future that is going to be affected by these changes in climate.”

Though she doesn’t work for the government, Mills is hoping to create a green and sustainable future by spreading word of the survey around campus. Mills has already been actively involved with TRU’s Environment and Sustainability department in informing people on campus about the B.C. government’s climate action initiative.

Although success on campus can’t be accurately measured, Mills has said that her own initiative will be successful as long as the word gets out.

“To me, any success is just talking about it. Just having any interest whatsoever, sparking some ideas, getting it on people’s minds that we can be creating a low-carbon future for ourselves,” Mills said. “That is the real success to me, not just having people fill out the survey.”

Mills also believes that the survey offers TRU students a unique way to learn about public consultation.

“I saw this as a really cool opportunity to get students learning about public consultation,” she said. “I think that that is the future of democracy and this online consultation process is really quite interesting.” Mills says that with online consultation, ideas from rural B.C. that may have never been heard otherwise can finally be voiced.

TRU isn’t the only university that Mills is promoting the survey at either. As a former student of both UNBC and UVic, Mills has worked to promote the climate action survey at those institutions as well.

Though she has been actively engaging in informing students for the past month, Mills says her work is far from done and hopes to get TRU students voicing their ideas right up until the consultation period ends. On Feb. 26, Mills will be on Student Street in Old Main offering information on the Climate Leadership Plan and the survey.

“I just want to see people on campus learning about climate change and about how we can make a difference.” Mills said. “I want to see healthy communities. I want to see diversified economies. I want to see the students engaging in the public consultation process and learning about that democratic role, because they are the future of this province.”