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David Suzuki reinforces transition to renewable energy during stop in Nelson

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
May 1st, 2017

More than 100 people jammed the coffee shop at the Kootenay Co-op to listen and interact with ward-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster David Suzuki Sunday in the Heritage City.

Suzuki, started the morning event by sharing his connection to the Kootenay area, noting he spent three years in Slocan during WWII, in a Japanese internment camp and explored the Valhalla wilderness, was in Nelson to bolster the cause of the Nelson-Creston Green Party.

“Like so many Canadians, I grew up watching Mr. Suzuki on The Nature of Things, and have appreciated that he’s continued to be an outspoken advocate for the planet and its people,” said Montana Burgess, Executive Director of West Kootenay EcoSociety, who interviewed Suzuki during the event.

“Hearing him talk about how we need to and can get to 100% renewable energy right here in Nelson and throughout the Kootenays encouraged me to keep up organizing local people in our 100% Renewable Kootenays campaign.”

Burgess said the West Kootenay EcoSociety was lucky to have a short time to speak with Suzuki during his whistle stop tour of Nelson.

Some of the items discussed during the morning session included renewable energy, role of local governments in transitioning to renewable energy, the fossil fuel industry, the problem with talking about the economy separated from clean air and water and Suzuki’s political views in this provincial election.

“Real action is happening at the municipal level,” Suzuki said. “The minute you make a city for people and not cars it changes everything.”

Burgess said the crowd was very excited, enthusiastic and engaged with during the Suzuki interview.

Burgess said the West Kootenay EcoSociety’s 100 percent Renewable Kootenays initiative aims to build community support for local governments to commit to transitioning of fossil fuels and onto renewable energy by 2050 at the community-level.

She said this includes heating and cooling for buildings, transportation, and electricity. The EcoSociety is educating and engaging Kootenay locals on renewable energy and hopes to get 1/3 of residents signed-on to support 100% renewable energy across West Kootenay communities.
“We’re also building support in the business community because we know locally-run businesses have lots of great ideas on building healthy communities and many are already getting more energy efficient because they care and see that it’s cost effective,” said Burgess.

“Already almost 30 businesses have signed-on to support the transition to renewable energy, and we’re hoping at least another 30 will in the coming months.”

Following the West Kootenay EcoSociety Suzuki will hit the campaign trail with Nelson-Creston Green Party candidate Kim Charlesworth, door-knocking in the city before a rally Sunday afternoon at Lakeside Park.

Listen to the full event audio at this link.

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