One of the key reasons Megan Mitton ran for office was to push for greater action on climate change.
And she took another concrete step toward that goal last week when she introduced a motion in the Legislature urging the government to declare a climate emergency in the province.
“Getting this government to act on climate change is one of my priorities,” she said. “We understand the problem, we have the solutions, we need an appropriate response ... an emergency response,” said Mitton, Green MLA for Memramcook-Tantramar.
“Our children will judge us on the actions we take today to avoid the worst consequences of the climate breakdown. I have been pushing for climate action for three decades, and now we are experiencing the realities from climate breakdown. There is no time to lose, this truly is an emergency.”
Mitton said she will work across party lines to gather support for her motion, which she feels is essential for the future of New Brunswick.
“I hope that, when presented with the evidence, all MLAs will see that we must take action immediately,” said Mitton. “It is clear what needs to be done, but we are missing the political will.”
“When it comes to the future of New Brunswickers and, to be blunt, of life on Earth, we need to move beyond party politics and take bold actions to avoid the worst consequences of climate breakdown.”
Mitton said the motion has several components.
“The first is to declare an environment and climate emergency, which would signify that the government understands the scale of the crisis and will therefore have an appropriate response,” she said.
Additionally, the motion calls on government to take urgent action by putting its climate change plan into action, establishing targets for more renewable energy, supporting workers impacted by this transition, and presenting an implementation strategy within six months.
“Essentially, we need to see real action with timelines and better targets.”
Mitton said she has been particularly inspired by local youth over the past few months, who have been taking part in climate strikes to shine the spotlight on the growing climate change crisis and their futures. The students demanded sweeping changes from municipal, provincial, and federal governments.
“Youth are demanding that we save their future,” she said. “The science is clear. We must act now.”
Also in response to the youth climate strikes, Sackville town council passed a motion last month that recognized the climate crisis, along with a promise to establish a roundtable on climate change and to actively lobby other levels In response to this crisis, among other actions.