For the sake of future generations, a group of local seniors know change needs to start now.
In the Village by the Arboretum resides Climate Change Action, a group of 10 seniors formed a few months ago with a particular focus within its community on helping its neighbours understand what they can do as individuals to reduce their carbon footprint.
“It's not so much for ourselves because we're probably not going to be around to see the worst of this but our children and grandchildren are going to have to live with the consequences. We're quite concerned and we need to be trying to do what little we can now to avert the problems,” said Patrick McAuley, a resident of the Village by the Arboretum.
The group has been making little changes to their everyday lives such as encouraging people to reduce their use of single-use plastic, cut down on water usage and even spread the word about free programs such as emerge Guelph’s free home tune-up where experts will teach residents methods to use energy efficiently and save money on utility bills.
Some even became vegetarian while others switched to electric cars. The group is also in the process of discussing using solar panels with the property managers of the village. Every change makes a difference they say.
Earlier this week, city council unanimously passed a motion that speeds up the city’s timeline to become net-zero and also set four-year interim targets. Approved by the council’s committee of the whole, the passed motion supports United Nation’s Cities Race to Zero campaign and commits the city to do its part to help keep global warming below 1.5 C.
On Monday evening, McAuley spoke at the committee of the whole meeting to encourage individual actions as well as group actions by organizations.
“The goal is to help people within our community understand more about climate change and what they can do about it,” said McAuley in an interview on Wednesday.
"As seniors, all of us had a pretty good run at life. No big problems. But we know that unless something happens, our children and particularly our grandchildren are not going to have the same life. So that's where our dedication is," said Fiona Maarhuis, group coordinator of Climate Change Action. She said she hopes the group continues to grow.
A few years ago, the group put a notice on the village website (for members only) to encourage residents who agreed with the motion to write to city council and show their support.
“We're doing whatever we can to educate and motivate people so they take action themselves on climate change,” said McAuley.
He said he has many neighbours with grandchildren who often visit the village and he, himself has one grandchild soon to be 24-years-old.
“It's kind of a bit scary to think about what they're going up into,” said McAuley.