We are very pleased to announce that Ivan Drouin has been nominated as the GPNS candidate in the upcoming by-election in Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River! We will share a link to Ivan’s candidate page soon.
As Leader Thomas Trappenberg, Deputy Leader Jessica Alexander, and other Greens joined in a protest of logging in the Corbett-Dalhousie Lake Forest, Co-President June Trenholm of Dartmouth was busy putting fingers to keyboard to get our message out to an even broader swath of Nova Scotians.
Have a look at her recent Opinion article in the Chronicle-Herald, available at the link below:
This past weekend, at the GPNS retreat, some of the other Executive members who were present said “Ashley, you’re interested in transportation issues, why don’t you write a bit more for the website about, you know, trains and buses and planes and stuff!”
Little did they know that the very first thing they’d get would be about where to put schools!
…But that’s the thing – we can never achieve decent, efficient, low-carbon transportation (no, not even with electric cars!) if we don’t put our starts and our finishes in reasonable places – preferrably not very far apart, but at least in places where people can easily travel together to reach them.
So when Education Minister Zach Churchill*’s announcement about streamlining the process for new-school site selection came across my Twitter feed, it seemed like a great chance to emphasize this. Here’s what I pulled together, as a proposed set of principles for the GPNS on this issue:
School Location and Climate Health
The Green Party of Nova Scotia would emphasize the relationship between climate and community planning – particularly transportation questions – when selecting school sites. Carbon-emissions impacts must be considered.
School-aged students make up over a quarter of Nova Scotia’s daily “commuters” (121,000 public school students vs. 381,000 full-time workers), so the locations of their destinations has a huge impact on our daily carbon emissions from transportation.
Locating schools in locations where students can safely walk and/or cycle to school improves health outcomes, and those students’ social connection to their communities.
Therefore, the Green Party proposes the following additional/complementary criteria for locations of schools:
- In areas where public transportation is readily available, schools will be built adjacent to existing public transportation routes.
- In areas where public transportation is minimal or non-existent, schools will be built so as to minimize the amount of travel required by students. This will normally be in the largest community of the catchment area, within walking/cycling distance of as many students’ homes as possible.
- Wherever possible, schools shall be located adjacent to town centres or other public facilities (libraries, recreation centres, parks) that are common destinations for school-aged Nova Scotians.
- “Brownfield” (previously-developed) land shall always be preferred to “greenfield” (never-before-developed) land.
- The process of site selection shall include, from the outset, parents’ organizations, community groups and – in the case of junior and senior high schools – students’ groups.
- Costs of infrastructure necessary to provide safe walking and cycling access to the school shall be included in the project scope for the construction of the school.
- Costs of government-provided transportation (generally, bussing) shall be included in budgetary analyses of where schools shall be located to assist in generating a “lifecycle cost” viewpoint on sites’ benefits and disadvantages.
- The impact of closing a school in favour of bussing to another community must also include similar factors, including carbon emissions, long term transportation costs, and impacts on student health and quality of life.
- A comparison of carbon emissions impacts shall be published to aid in explaining the government’s choice of sites (and/or school closures).
Let me know what you think!
*Full disclosure: I’m currently in the middle of my Bachelor of Education, and hope to be employed in the Nova Scotia public education system by this time next year. I don’t think that has anything to do with any of these principles, though!
We are pleased to announce that GPNS Past Co-President (and current Policy Co-Convener) Anthony Edmonds will be our candidate in the Sackville-Cobequid By-election.
Anthony is a young, family-oriented professional engineer with a strong sense of responsibility and a record of community involvement. He will make a fantastic MLA.
If you would like to support his campaign by volunteering, donating, hosting a lawn sign, or attending events, contact Anthony’s campaign team at SC2019@greenpartyns.ca.
UPCOMING GREEN WAVE EVENTS
SATURDAY – 1 June, 12:30 to 2:30 – Beaver Bank and Glendale (near gas station)
I don’t know about you, but I have been on an emotional roller-coaster. I have been worried, even frightened about our outlook with the disappearance of biomass, and I admit I was a bit angered by the ignorance of governments and media who should be there to look out for us. At the same time, I also feel excited about so many opportunities to solve poverty and build better communities.
I have now come to terms that we will have a massive increase of temperature, maybe 5 degrees C or more given our current inaction. We will certainly not sustain life as we know it. The only thing that bothers me now is not taking actions to make the necessary changes for our children. We clearly see now that we can not trust big business and current governments with our future, and we must take urgent actions to regain control for the people.
Slowing down climate change is now very important to give us some time to make life-preserving changes. The next concern must be water and food security; without water or food we will starve in a couple of days or weeks. I am particularly worried about pollution of ground water. Any fracking or plans thereof must therefore stop immediately. Guaranteeing enough food supplies will be a continuous struggle. The changing ecosystems will put a lot of pressure on farming. Disappearing insects, the assault on microorganisms with chemical warfare, and the rise of new diseases require immediate and increasing attention.
The next problem to tackle is the massive change around labour and energy. Our historical development brought us from the age of human and animal labour to farm land, via the use of energy and labour in the industrial age, to the emerging age of automation in which energy will be central. Energy will represent the wealth of our society, and energy must thus belong to the people. At the same time, we must shift energy rapidly away from carbon. There is not a single solution to the energy problem, but there is a host of possibilities. Local solar farms in our communities, wind, geothermal and micro-hydro can be employed where appropriate. Distributing the wealth from these facilities must belong to all of us. The most direct way to achieve this now is a guaranteed livable income.
We will have a wild ride in front of us, and it’s time to take it. Bring honest and ethical people in a room who really care about our children and grandchildren, and we can do this. I am going to PEI today to see a historical change in the making. Sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option.