There’s a lot of work ahead for the District of Saanich to reach its climate goals which include reducing carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and moving to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050.
In an effort to attain these lofty goals, Saanich is piloting the One Planet Living framework along with cities in England, South Africa, Russia and Denmark. One Planet, a London-based company, helps cities, organizations and individuals develop action plans to meet sustainability goals and live within the resources of one planet.
Following an ecoCity Footprint Assessment in 2017, it became apparent that Saanich was using the resources of two planets. The District’s next step was to engage stakeholders such as local businesses, schools and organizations. The 14 stakeholders who joined were encouraged to create action plans that align with the 10 One Planet Living principles which range from health and happiness to zero carbon emissions.
With phase one complete, Saanich is now ready to begin engaging the community in the One Planet project. The oneplanet.com platform has launched and allows all stakeholders to create profiles and action plans in a visual way, explained Pooran Desai, CEO of One Planet. Similar to a social networking website, it facilitates collaboration between stakeholders and demonstrates how projects can meet the 10 principles and Saanich’s targets.
A series of apps will also be released that will help citizens assess, monitor and improve their effects on the planet. They will guide residents towards “lighter living” through clear steps and personalized goals, Desai explained. Some will incorporate game-like aspects to allow folks to challenge each other.
Mayor Fred Haynes emphasized that the goal is to get the public engaged in Saanich’s sustainability goals. He also noted the importance of giving people realistic actions they can take to combat “eco-grief.”
Ting Pan, Saanich’s manager of sustainability, feels the engagement plans will empower citizens to reduce their environmental footprint. She noted that Saanich’s climate action plan will be presented to council at the end of September and can then be added to oneplanet.com so people can see how their projects contribute to the plan.
District of Saanich staff are hopeful that the One Planet Saanich microcosm will lead to a One Planet Region and eventually a One Planet Island.
For more information, visit oneplanetsaanich.org.