Local expert is pleased with Lincoln's new environmental action plan

·3 min read

The Town of Lincoln plans to take actions against climate change, starting at a local level.

Lincoln council received a presentation and approved a report outlining a complete version of a climate change action plan.

The action plan came from a July 2019 council resolution that, per the report, was passed with the goal of preparing Lincoln to adapt to anticipated climatic change and extreme weather, thereby minimizing the severity of the resulting impacts.

“At the end of the day, the town understands that climate action and a low carbon transition also represents an opportunity for economic stimulation and job development opportunities at a local scale,” said Michael Kirkopoulos, chief administrative officer for the Town of Lincoln.

Via email, he said the council understands that climate change poses some challenges that require a comprehensive plan and tangible alternatives to adapt to the impacts of climate change, but also to mitigate risk, and prepare for the future.

The plan includes goals such as: integrating climate change considerations into town strategies, protecting natural resources and promoting ecosystem services, and increasing climate change literacy among staff and public.

“At the moment, everything is alarming. The devastation that's happened to the environment is profound. It can be undone if we all work together at it. But it is in very bad shape,” said Liz Benneian, the executive director and manager of environmental education at Ontariogreen.

“We need to all do our best to learn about ecology, and to learn about what we each can do to make things better. We have to do it for our kids,” she said. “If we don't act, there won't be anything for future generations.”

Benneian, a Lincoln resident, has been working in the environmental advocacy field for 17 years. She is also the chair of the environmental action committee.

She said when it comes to environmental site planning, the most important thing for any community is to understand the natural features of the site and protect them. “The best way to do urban planning is to figure out where development can't go. So you know where it can,” said Benneian.

Benneian said that although it's hard to pinpoint what specific resource is the most valuable and needs the most protection, she said in a town like Lincoln, protecting both naturally occurring resources and agricultural lands should be equally as important.

She said the No. 1 thing residents can do on their own to help out is to plant native plants. Benneian said: “we've planted so many things that don't belong here that birds, for example, are finding it hard to feed their young. We need to plant the things that belong here.”

Benneian recommends “Nature's Best Hope” by Douglas W. Tallamy as a good resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the climate crisis and possible recovery.

Overall, Benneian said she’s pleased with the plan and the leadership shown by the Town of Lincoln and that she’s proud of her community for producing the plan.

However, she said she is hesitant to call herself hopeful, as she would only be hopeful if other communities followed in the steps of Lincoln. “I would feel a lot more hopeful if I saw a lot more leadership on these issues from other governments. Municipal and higher up," she said.

Moosa Imran, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News