Victoria mayor attends UN climate talks
Ian Holliday, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Saturday, September 21, 2019 2:21PM PDT
Victoria mayor Lisa Helps traveled to New York this weekend to talk about her city's efforts to combat climate change.
The visit comes on the same weekend as the United Nations Youth Climate Summit, which brought more than 700 mostly young activists to the city.
Helps said she had three speaking opportunities at the United Nations over the weekend, including a panel discussion Saturday morning with leaders of other cities around the world.
"I think it's a fantastic opportunity to put Victoria's work on the global scale," Helps told CTV News Vancouver Island, adding that she was "surprised and delighted and honoured" to be asked to participate.
Asked what makes Victoria's approach to climate change unique on the world stage, the mayor said discussions she's been involved in have underlined the importance of cities, generally, in dealing with the issue.
"I think the interesting thing is that Victoria is not unique," Helps said. "No city is unique. All cities, whether they're in the global south or in the global north, are facing the same thing: Emissions from buildings, transportation and waste."
Those three areas are also foci of Victoria's Climate Leadership Plan, the mayor said.
The key question Helps and other mayors and city leaders gathered in New York this weekend are asking, she said, is "how do we motivate people to change their behaviour?"
One of Victoria's most prominent efforts to answer this question - a plastic bag ban - was struck down in the B.C. Court of Appeal in July.
Helps has previously said the ban stopped an estimated 17 million bags from ending up in landfills. She has promised to work to bring the ban back into effect and said she hopes businesses and residents will continue to work to reduce their use of single-use plastics.