Coun. Rebecca Mersereau said in an release that humanity would need an average 2.5 earths to sustain the life-style of Saanich council members. Saanich council has agreed to participate in the Municipal Survivor Climate Challenge and is now challenging others in the community to do the same. (Black Press File)

Saanich council challenges community to lessen ecological footprint

It takes an average of 2.5 earths to sustain the lifestyle of Saanich council members

Humanity would need an average 2.5 earths to sustain the life-style of Saanich council members.

This figure appears in a press release from Coun. Rebecca Mersereau announcing that council has challenged the rest of the community to also participate in Municipal Survivor Climate Challenge.

It encourages members of municipal councils and regional district boards to measure and reduce their individual environmental impacts. Participants first use an online calculator that tells how many earths would be necessary if everyone lived like they do as calculated on Earth Day 2019, then try to lower their ecological footprint, with bragging rights going to group that has achieved the greatest cut by Earth day 2020.

“It’s a good way to lead by example, and hopefully encourage other residents to do the same,” said Mersereau in a later interview. Mersereau said she promised other councillors that she would not disclose their ecological foot-print, but offered hers: 3.2 earths. One culprit — flying. While Mersereau said she often commutes with her bicycle, she also travelled by plane for work last year. “That quickly undoes all of the good stuff,” she said, adding that the challenge has already made her more conscious of her own choices. She later added that members of council ranged from 0.9 earths to 4.5 earths.

RELATED: Highlands challenging B.C. municipalities to reduce ecological footprint

“Even though it’s meant to be a light-hearted competition with other elected officials in the region, participation in this initiatives demonstrates that this [council] is willing to show leadership — individually and collectively — on this important issue,” said Mayor Fred Haynes in the release. “If that helps encourage just a few other members of our community to join us by re-evaluating some of the daily choices they make, then it will not only be a fun way to engage with elected officials in the region, it will be impactful too.”

RELATED: City of Victoria jumps on board the ‘Municipal survivor challenge’

Saanich council earlier this year declared a climate change emergency to “signal the increasing urgency of climate action in response to dire warnings from the international scientific community about impending and irreversible impacts from climate change” as the release phrased it.

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