A climate strike demonstration in Hamilton will be held Friday

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Published October 25, 2022 at 3:33 pm

Climate activists in Hamilton are planning to support the Global Climate Strike 2022 by demonstrating outside of city hall on Friday.

Environment Hamilton, a local non-profit, said the Hamilton demonstration is at 12 noon on Oct. 28. With the city having held a municipal election on Monday, it called on residents concerned about the climate catastrophe and Hamilton’s adaptation efforts and plans to “tell your newly elected (or reelected) representatives you expect them to attend.”

Global Climate Strike, started by the Swedish activisit Greta Thunberg, aims to put pressure on policymakers and make them take action to stop climate change. About 450 calls to action are planned worldwide, according to news reports.

The last council adopted a Climate Adaptation Strategy in August. There is a growing body of scholarly research that shows that climate change has detrimental health effects on many people, particularly if they live in “urban heat islands” — densely populated areas with highrise apartments where maximum heat is unregulated. A Climate Change Impact Adaptation Plan presented at that time says Hamilton taxpayers will be on the hook for “costly infrastructure repairs, increasing escarpment erosion and damage to escarpment access roads” as a result of climate catastrophe.

“(It is equally imperative to adapt to and prepare for those climate impacts we can no longer avoid,” the report said.

The strategy was about some three years and four months after the City of Hamilton declared a climate emergency. That took place in March 2019.

The adaptation strategy involved the city hiring its first climate change officer, which is a move many Ontario cities hae undertaken.

The principles and plans were generally supported by councillors and outgoing mayor Fred Eisenberger. The lone dissenting vote at committee came from retiring Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson, who questioned the need to create a roughly $215,000 salaried position for someone to coordinate climate resiliency work.

At least two of the eight rookie councillors are heavily involved with local environmental action. Ward 12 councillor-elect Craig Cassar is involved with Save Our Streams Hamilton and his campaign platform focused on climate action and environmental stewardship. On Monday, he was elected with a health margin over runner-up Chuck Alkerton, whom Ferguson endorsed in the race.

Ward 13 councillor-elect Alex Wilson was also a cofounder of a Dundas-area Ward 13 for Climate Action community group before opting to run. Wilson handily upset two-term incumbent Arlene VanderBeek.

A study released in April by the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation and the University of Waterloo said Hamilton second-highest risk of extreme heat among Canadian cities. The effects include a twofold increase in days with 30C heat and more variance in so-called unseasonable weather.

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