The Okanagan Climate Hub was formed in 2020, in the depths of the pandemic, as a response to the growing concern about climate change, and the health and well being of future generations living in this wonderful and beloved Valley. For generations indigenous people have taken care of the area as responsible stewards of the land, water, and living beings. Their example is the inspiration for climate action. The need to act urgently has never been more apparent, as we enter a summer threatened by wildfires, after one of the driest springs on record.
The Hub is part of a network of Community Climate Hubs across the country. The goal of Community Climate Hubs is to build public support for political leadership on climate change, by engaging a wide range of stakeholders. The focus is local, since municipalities not only have jurisdiction over some of the most important levers, but because they are likely to bear the brunt of climate change into the future. Although the impetus for the Okanagan Climate Hub comes from the system of national climate hubs, the interest in and concern for the climate didn’t start there, but with the need to focus on local climate concerns.
The Hub started when people with a shared vision and concern about the climate decided to get together. With an awareness that the climate does not respect municipal boundaries, the group immediately identified ways to work with existing groups, to complement our activities, and to embark on new projects. In the process of working toward a Valley-wide community of climate concern, the Hub decided to raise awareness, improve coordination and inspire more citizens of the Okanagan Valley to join their voices.
Meeting on zoom regularly since mid-2020, the Hub has begun to spread out, reaching out to other organizations like the newly-formed West Coast Climate Action Network, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, UBC Okanagan Climate Hub, and First Things First Okanagan. The initial set of meetings have now reached approximately 150 people, with more joining every day. Despite remoteness, technical glitches, skills gaps, and distance barriers, enthusiasm for the Hub remains high and sustained.
The Hub brings together our collective vision, skills, and experiences to encourage, unite and amplify individuals, groups, and organizations throughout the Okanagan that are committed to working together to achieve meaningful, effective action on climate change. We represent a variety of communities, industries, cultures, and causes that are taking the demand for action on climate change to influencers, policymakers, and the streets.
Climate change is not complicated, it’s not remote, and it’s not in the distant future. Our Mission is to establish an interconnected, supportive, and cooperative network of active climate citizens working towards healthy and livable communities throughout the Okanagan. We want to work with local City councils, community and neighbourhood groups, businesses, charities, and educators to advance our common interests in a sustainable Okanagan Valley that can be a nurturing haven for all who live, work, and play here. Won’t you join us?