Around the world, over 100 countries have some form of legal recognition of human rights to necessities such as clean drinking water, healthy food and clean air. What may come to a surprise to many Canadians is that our country does not have such laws in place.
Noticing this in 2014, David Suzuki and his foundation created an online petition, the Blue Dot Program, a grassroots-focused program that now over 170 municipalities in Canada have signed to get the same standards recognized in the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
While British Columbian communities like Vernon, Nanaimo and bigger cities such as Vancouver have agreed to sign the Blue Dot petition, the City of Kamloops has yet to join the cause. That’s not without trying though. A group of local calling themselves the Kamloops Blue Dot Network has created their own petition for Kamloops residents to sign.
“They’re all things we take for granted,” George Johnson said. “They’re all under threat now in various places. In some places in Canada, people don’t have access to healthy food, for example.”
Johnson is one of the organizers for the Kamloops Blue Dot Network that began gathering signatures a year ago after many conversations with other locals who are concerned about changing climates.
With over 1000 signatures already, the Network is aiming for another thousand before they descend upon the Kamloops City Council, asking to join their fellow Canadian municipalities.
“Clean air is now an issue in Kamloops,” Johnson said referencing the recent summers of dense forest fire smoke. “People are starting to wake up and go, ‘We need to do something about this’.”
However, Johnson didn’t want to criticize the City, quoting their sustainability efforts, food share program as well as TRU’s recent sustainability initiatives and awards.
The City’s involvement with the Blue Dot program would open up access to a municipality toolbox with resources that the City could use to focus their efforts for clean air, access to healthy food and clean water, if they choose to sign.
“We probably should have been on it earlier, but better late than never, right?” Johnson said with a laugh.