Climate change has been a growing issue for years, and it’s only going to continue being so unless we put a lid on our emissions. This is why 197 countries, including Canada, signed the Paris Agreement back in 2016. Its aim is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, eventually pursuing efforts to keep the global temperature below 1.5°C within the century.
It’s a slow and difficult progress, one that even Canada struggles with. While the country’s GHG emissions have been reducing for the last decade, it still isn’t enough for us to meet our sustainability goals.
Climate Action and Awareness Fund
Fortunately the government has been very supportive of the effort to reverse climate change, and has taken a further step this year to ensure this happens. On September 17, the Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced the creation of the Climate Action and Awareness Fund. With it, the government will invest $206 million in several projects whose aim is to reduce Canada’s GHG emissions.
“The new Climate Action and Awareness Fund will create jobs for Canadians in science and technology, academia, and at the grassroots community level,” Wilkinson stated in a press release. “Our Government is proud to support these groups who are leading tangible action on climate change in their communities as we work as a country to exceed our Paris Agreement target and build a net-zero economy by 2050.”
Wilkinson has requested sustainability project ideas from communities that they were previously unable to launch due to a lack of funds. Some ideas he’s looking forward to receiving includes but is not limited to: transportation campaigns, green machinery, and more. Over the next five years, he promised that over $50 million will be allocated for this.
The remaining money will go to the other three priorities listed under the Climate Action and Awareness Fund, which are:
- Increasing climate youth awareness, engagement, and action
- Advancing climate science and technology
- Supporting academia and think tank organizations to better understand Canada’s transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Therefore, expect much of the money to go into college grants for sustainability degrees, university research, and various events that will empower students to apply the basic principles of climate change no matter what career they go for.
Investing on, and for, the next generation
The Climate Action and Awareness Fund isn’t the government’s first project in the name of sustainability, and certainly not the first investment in schooling either. This commitment of the government to a well-educated populace is also exemplified by the creation of the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG).
Through the CESG, the government matches 20% of any registered education saving plan contributions up to $2,500 per account child per year, or up to $500 per child. The extra money can be used to play for not just a college education, but internship programs and vocational courses too. Climate change institutions like the Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Environmental Careers Organization offer these types of programs, which a CESG can help support.
Similarly, private companies are producing their own programs to guide students into a successful career. Launching this fall is the Canada Skills Program—a project that will provide students the opportunity to acquire tech skills (like analytics and AI), allowing them to graduate with both a Microsoft certification, as well as their school’s credentials. So far, 12 post-secondary institutions, such as the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Community College are included in the program. In the many fields of sustainability, tech skills are also high in demand.
A completely sustainable world is still a faraway dream, but people are doing their best to make it a reality. Whether that’s by investing in climate change research, or ensuring that future professionals are equipped with the skills necessary to push for sustainability in every industry, we’ll reach a greener world eventually.