We recently hosted a fantastic webinar on electric school buses and what we can do to make it a reality in Ontario. We are profoundly grateful for the support of everyone who joined our discussion, and for those unable to join live, here is the recording and the slides. Our speakers, Dr Laura Minet from the Clean Air Lab at the University of Victoria discussing transportation related emissions and Dr Eugenie Waters from the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Ontario Regional Committee, discussing the negative health impacts of diesel emissions were riveting. It could not be clearer that the evidence for moving away from diesel exhaust is strong and now is the time for us to take action.
Because school buses move so slowly through residential areas and idle for long periods, and as children are so vulnerable to diesel exhaust, this is a key piece of the puzzle in reducing the harmful pollution from diesel exhaust in our neighbourhoods and reducing emissions and you will no doubt have seen extensive media coverage on the need for this change in the CBC, the Ottawa Citizen (and here), CityNews and the Capital Current. We need the municipality to work together with the provincial government to accelerate this change.
Our action items from the webinar are as follows:
- Sign our petition, which we will be taking to Queen’s Park.
- Sign up to make a delegation to the elected representatives on your school board. We have a template on our website. Call for the school board to write an open letter of support for our campaign to the Ontario Transportation Minister, calling on them to provide funding to leverage the Federal funding already available.
- Reach out to your councillor, MPP or MP and voice your concerns about the harms caused by diesel exhaust and call on them to champion the transition to an electric school bus fleet for the environment, our kids’ health and saving our precious taxpayer dollars.
Some other helpful links were provided by participants in the webinar:
- From CAPE, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment: Some additional action you can take now for improved air quality! The House environment committee (ENVI) is currently considering amendments to Bill S-5 to modernize the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). Bill S-5 introduces the right to a healthy environment which includes the principles of environmental justice, non-regression and intergenerational equity. This important advance should be reinforced with stronger requirements for the implementation framework including air quality standards. One-click action here. A recent OpEd on the issue.
- Also, here's a recent podcast that explores the benefits of electric school buses, as well as using a subscription model to pay for them.
Thank you so much for your support, and please share our report, the petition and the recording with friends and family so that we can finally end this “eyes closed” approach to the negative effects of air pollution on our community.