Hupacasath First Nation elected councillor Jolleen Dick speaks to the crowd gathered at Harbour Quay for the National Day of Action for a Just Transition. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Hupacasath First Nation elected councillor Jolleen Dick speaks to the crowd gathered at Harbour Quay for the National Day of Action for a Just Transition. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Port Alberni joins national call for climate change action

National Day of Action for a Just Transition took place on March 12, 2022

Port Alberni joined 45 other cities across Canada last weekend in urging the federal government to take urgent action on climate change.

Around 40 local residents gathered at the Harbour Quay on Saturday, March 12 for the National Day of Action for a Just Transition. They called on the federal government to take the urgent action needed to slow rising global and local temperatures.

Phil Edgell a salmon enhancement volunteer in Port Alberni, explained that high water temperatures and the associated lower dissolved oxygen levels threaten the survival of local and global salmon populations.

Hupacasath First Nation elected councillor Jolleen Dick echoed Edgell’s concerns, saying that her community has relied on salmon for thousands of years and she is “appalled” to think of a time that there will be no more salmon.

Chris Alemany, chair of the Alberni Valley Transition Town Society, discussed how our dependence on fossil fuels is complicating our inability to resolve the war in Ukraine.

“The war presents an added incentive for us to expedite the transition to renewable energy,” he said.

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns spoke about his party’s efforts to pressure the government to enact Just Transition legislation, which would move Canada on a path toward a cleaner energy future, while leaving nobody behind.

Robert Gunn, chair of Alberni Climate Action, said that government needs to commit to a transition that is inclusive.

“We are all in the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat,” he said. “Wealthy people can adapt, but many working people, as well as those who are poor and the homeless don’t even have access to air conditioning.”

“We are talking about beginning to phase out of fossil fuels and we need consultation between government, industry and the communities as to how to open up new opportunities for workers so that they and their families don’t feel they are being abandoned,” said event organizer John Mayba.

The group ended their rally on Saturday with a rousing rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi.”

Port Alberni