This past week, I attended the annual meeting of the Canadian Association ofMutual Insurance Companies (“CAMIC”). CAMIC is a national organization of member owned insurance companies whose mission is to empower all members through its national advocacy efforts.
The annual meeting is a forum whereby all member companies gather to be informed and educated on the issues and matters of national importance. At this year’s meeting, the most important matter on the agenda was climate change. Global climate change is a matter of growing importance to every Canadian citizen. The perils we have faced in the past now present much greater risk to our cities, forests and way of life. Canada is among the 191 signatories to the Paris climate agreement. Yesterday, it cleared a final hurdle for ratification. The agreement required 55 countries that make up 55 per cent of global emissions in order to take effect, and formal ratification by the EU pushed it past that threshold. Parliament ratified the agreement yesterday, thus committing the country to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. This target will require industry, public policymakers and all Canadians to do their part in fulfilling this aggressive target. It is a tall order to work towards!
One should no longer doubt the scientific evidence behind global climate change.
Politics aside, you don’t have to look very far to see the catastrophic weather events that are occurring more frequently in Canada – the Alberta floods of 2013, the Toronto floods of 2013 and, the catastrophic wildfires in Fort MacMurray earlier in 2016. Natural disasters like these are no longer once in a hundred year events. These events not only occur much more frequently but are also much more severe. The evidence is compelling and scientists have done their job. It is now up to all Canadians to act!
You may ask what can we do to combat climate change. There is much we can do at all levels of government, across all industries and in our own backyard. Local governments must modernize building codes and be more environmentally responsible with the land use planning. For example, to allow residential development to occur in mapped flood zones or watersheds must be discontinued. More investment in efficient and alternative public transit by municipal and provincial governments will move people quickly between urban centres. Society has been built around the internal combustion engine and we are now left attending to and funding the problems that fossil fuel burning creates.
Secondly, industry must go beyond the adoption of sustainability as a corporate value. Businesses must strategize and execute business plans that respect the environment of the markets they conduct business in. Finally, Canadians across the nation must commit to changing their behaviours to combat climate change. Recycling, reducing the use of your automobile and being energy efficient are some of the ways you can help.
The time to do more is now! Get informed about climate change and build your community into a greener one. We know our climate is warmer, wetter and wilder than ever before so we are really left with no choice but to change!
Please contact us with any questions you may have about this or any other topic related to your insurance.