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Transforming the Ways We Relate to One Another

By: Mara Mackay

April 10th, 2021

TransformWR is Waterloo Region’s long term community climate action strategy, and our community-wide response to the global climate crisis. This work outlines our strategy to achieve an 80% local greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction target (based on 2010 levels) by 2050, with a short-term interim target to reduce GHGs 30% by 2030. The outcome of this collective action will help us achieve our vision for 2050, and ultimately transform Waterloo Region into an equitable, prosperous, resilient, low carbon community.   

Our call to action is to transform our community, in the ways we move, the ways we build and operate our spaces, the ways we produce, consume and waste, and the ways we relate to one another.

This excerpt from the TransformWR strategy focuses on: transforming the ways we relate to one another.

The ways that we relate to one another is a critical factor in how we foster relationships at all levels, and is essential to making ambitious progress towards our goals. The word ‘relate’ is rich, meaning to show or establish a connection between two or more things, or to have an understanding (of people or ideas). Our ability to relate to one another influences how we interact and communicate with, as well as learn from, those within our local community, and to others outside of that. Developing a deep understanding of how people, organizations, and communities that are different than ourselves, operate and live their lives can be a powerful catalyst for action that is equitable, and raises everyone up together, especially those who have traditionally experienced disproportionality and disparity.

The transition required to address climate change is a once-in-a-century opportunity to build the community we want. This came through strongly in our community consultation. While making the transformative changes, enacting the strategies, and accomplishing the action items, we must ensure that we do so in a way that makes our community more equitable, prosperous, and resilient. This will take ongoing collaboration and coordination of efforts between local sectors, community members and organizations, and with senior levels of government. 

To achieve our GHG reduction targets, we must work toward locally producing energy from carbon neutral, renewable sources. This work, as well as the other transformative changes, must be done in a way that increases equity and supports the members of our community that need it most. A crucial first step in doing this is establishing metrics that enable us to measure progress in reducing inequities, and creating climate action solutions that increase equity. From there, we can work towards being recognized as a national leader in sustainability, clean tech, renewable energy, and energy retrofits by 2050, in a just way that benefits all.

Every Waterloo Region municipality, organization, business, and community member has an important role to play in Waterloo Region’s transition to a low carbon community. This strategy is meant to influence all future planning. Official plans, corporate plans, organizational planning etc. should look to this document, and the work outlined in the strategy should be integrated into all planning processes for the next 30 years, to align our community with success. This is a launching point for the next 30 years of local climate action, and the years ahead of us are where the real work comes into play.  If you are interested in contributing to this work, consider applying for one of our sector committees, more information on that opportunity is available at https://climateactionwr.ca/get-involved/#volunteer.

Now is the time to act! Visit EngageWR.ca to review the full draft TransformWR document, look for the ways you see yourself in it, and join the entire community in helping to create a better future for us today and for generations to come. Together we can build a more equitable, prosperous, resilient, low carbon future!

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