FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Musqueam/Tsleil-Waututh/Squamish Territories (Vancouver, BC) – Following several days of poor air quality driven by a range of factors connected to climate change, Vision Vancouver is announcing a series of new policies to improve Vancouver schools’ climate resiliency.
If elected, Vision Vancouver school board trustees would move swiftly to work with the BC government to get natural gas out of all public schools by 2035, and provide retraining for any impacted staff as a result of the change. Vision would incorporate climate resiliency into all future school designs, and it would explore opportunities to retrofit existing school sites with updated cooling systems so they could be used as cooling centres in the coming years.
“Our schools need to be part of our community climate solution – not to feed into the climate crisis by burning fossil fuels. This shift is as necessary as it is urgent,” said Vision Vancouver School Trustee Candidate Hilary Thomson, who recently wrote in the Daily Hive on why Vancouver schools are not equipped for the climate crisis. “The 2021 heat dome contributed to over 600 deaths in British Columbia. In a perfect world, or even just a slightly better one, schools could be a place of respite in heat domes, or other emergencies. However, in a heat dome, or even just a relatively warm day, Vancouver’s schools are often the last place you want to be.”
In addition to banning natural gas heating systems and incorporating climate resilience into new and existing school sites, Vision would also push for the Vancouver School Board to adopt, align and act on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“It is time we invested in our kids by making sure our schools are safe in emergencies, have modern heating and cooling systems, and are also accessible for people with disabilities,” said Thomson. “It is shameful that, in 2022, children are still learning in buildings that do not meet these basic requirements.”
Thomson and the Vision School Board candidate team’s announcement builds on other climate solutions led by Vision Vancouver over the past decade as part of its Greenest City Action Plan, including making Vancouver’s building codes the greenest in North America, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from new buildings (GHGs) by 43 per cent, diverting 75 per cent of food waste through the city’s green bin program, planting over 100,000 new trees, and decreasing waste sent to landfills and incinerators by 27 per cent.
Hilary Thomson is available by request for media interviews.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Ange Valentini, Campaign Manager