FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 27, 2021
KJIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) – The Ecology Action Centre is thrilled by the announcement that public consultations for Nova Scotia’s Sustainable Development Goals Act will begin today. The SDGA will set the province’s direction on climate and the environment for the next decade and lay out our pathway for transitioning to a greener economy. The EAC is encouraged that decision makers are signaling that they are ready to listen.
“This is an opportunity for everyone living in Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia to share what a just, sustainable future means to them, and have their voices heard on issues that matter to their communities,” says Maggy Burns, EAC’s Interim Executive Director. “We’re already feeling the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss. Setting ambitious, measurable goals now is our best chance to create a future that prioritizes wellbeing, protects the communities and natural spaces we love and rely on, and leaves no one behind.”
The EAC is also encouraged by the announcement that funding will be available to support engagement in traditionally underserved communities. This includes people experiencing low income, African Nova Scotians, Mi’kmaq and other Indigenous peoples, immigrants and newcomers to Canada, individuals living with a disability, 2SLGBTQIA+ and youth under 18 of age.
“The province needs to ensure that everyone benefits from our transition to a green economy, including transitioning workers, Mi’kmaw, African Nova Scotian, rural and other traditionally underserved communities,” says Noreen Mabiza, Energy Coordinator, Sustainable Communities with the EAC. “So it is crucial that these communities are truly heard and have a seat at the table throughout the consultation process.”
Mabiza also stresses the need for measures that ensure accountability to the goals laid out in the SDGA.
“We need to be able to hold government and industry accountable to the goals they set. Consultations are an opportunity for the public to push for strong accountability mechanisms and ensure that the Act is more than just empty promises.”
The EAC will be making their own submission to the consultations, and have put together a document of 20 goals that they believe will advance environmental and economic wellbeing in Nova Scotia. They encourage the public to take part in the consultation process, which is set to run from May 27 to July 26, 2021.
Consultation will be held through interactive online tools including eight Zoom sessions beginning on Thursday, June 10. Also included are a kit for groups and communities to facilitate their own discussions, an information poster for youth, and the ability to send submissions by mail, email and phone.
The Clean Foundation will manage the public consultation via their website, and the Department of Environment and Climate Change will engage with various stakeholders and groups. Feedback will help further develop goals under the SDGA and inform the development of the Climate Change Plan for Clean Growth.
“We all have a role to play in envisioning our collective future, and the SDGA is an opportunity for us to start building the world we want to live in,” explains Burns. “The province has finally signaled that they’re ready to listen to Nova Scotians’ calls for action, so now it’s time for us to speak up and make sure all our voices are heard.”
The SDGA was introduced in 2019, and included a legislated GHG emissions reduction target for 2030, legislated net zero emissions by 2050, and a commitment to create a new climate change plan that was supposed to be developed by the end of 2020. Public consultations were a legal requirement of the process but were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Public consultations will inform the development of new targets for things like renewable electricity, energy efficiency, clean transportation, local food, wilderness protection, waste diversion and more.
Energy Coordinator, Sustainable Communities, Ecology Action Centre
Strategic Communications Manager, Ecology Action Centre