Victoria youth climate group launch Meatless Mondays campaign

Environmental Local News

Going meatless could reduce the CRD’s Carbon Footprint, group claims

Stock image via Pexels

Emma-Jane Boulian and Rebecca Wolf Gage are looking to reduce the Capital Region District’s (CRD) Carbon Footprint — one meatless meal at a time. As the meat industry produces a large amount of CO2 that is released into the atmosphere, these youth argue that forgoing meat every Monday could help reduce the CRD’s carbon footprint.

On April 29, the campaign kicked off with a Meatless Monday potluck. Approximately 20 youth and community members attended, and everyone was encouraged to bring a vegetarian dish and their own zero waste plate.  

This initiative was organized by Boulian and Wolf Gage, aged 16 and 13 respectively,  alongside the Victoria youth climate strike group Our Earth Our Future, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, and some CRD staff.

The idea for the Meatless Mondays campaign came about after a meeting between  youth climate strikers and Helps. When one of the organizers realized how much of an impact one meatless day a week could have on the CRD’s carbon footprint, they started to plan the potluck and campaign.

The organizers estimate that if everyone in the CRD practiced Meatless Mondays, the CRD’s carbon footprint would be reduced by 78 007 tonnes a year.

Earlier this year, the CRD board members voted to declare a climate emergency and take steps towards “climate neutrality by 2030.” Annually, the CRD generates 1.47 million tonnes of CO2 or equivalents.

In a phone interview with the Martlet, Helps said the City of Victoria and the CRD have many plans in place to make this commitment attainable, such as generating energy at the new sewage treatment facility, capturing more methane at the landfill for energy, and planning to reduce emissions internally. She encourages any youth interested in getting involved with environmental issues to come to her office on the first Friday of every month from 10 to 11 a.m.

Initiatives like Meatless Monday are important, said Helps, because they draw awareness.

“Even little things have a big impact,” she said.

When asked what changes they would like to see governments take, Boulian and Wolf Gage offered a list of demands, including “Net zero emissions by 2040 … transition to renewable energy … while guaranteeing opportunity for fossil fuel workers … [and to] enshrine in law the fundamental right to a healthy environment.”

Boulian and Wolf Gage said they are finding it hard to remain hopeful about widespread climate action. They are trying to encourage individuals to take actions themselves, but they recognize that “People are more willing to take on a smaller thing than a bigger one.”

Personally, the pair is “trying to do everything in our power to stop climate change, [and] striking for our future is what we do best.”

Any youth looking to get involved can join Boulian and Wolf Gage on the first Friday of every month at Victoria City Hall at 11 a.m. for a climate strike.