HALIBURTON COUNTY, ON – A local organization is calling for action on climate change at the county level.

Earlier today, Susan Hay from Environment Haliburton! was in the county council chambers to give a high-level overview of what the organization’s zero waste working group is up to and what they would like changed, or done.

According to Hay, she spoke at the joint environment committee meeting for the same reason and it was recommended that she talk to the county councillors and not just the municipal committee chairs.

Hay explained that EH! does the best they can to educate the community with their various working groups like the zero waste group.

A concern that the working group hopes to address is the amount of food waste that goes into the landfills, contributing to the amount of methane gas that gets released, hurting the environment. She says EH! Has a video all about food waste on their website for people to review.

She also explained that there is a video in production that will hopefully shed some light on composting and how people have done it successfully with no fear of attracting bears. She pointed out that many are scared of composting for that reason.

Hay says the creation of the zero waste group stemmed partially from the fact that the plastics crisis has gotten more and more media attention and they wanted to do their part to help.

Although she shared some excitement and pride in knowing that things like drinking stations being installed in Dysart, and composters and digesters being available for purchase, Hay says there are things that the county and municipal governments can do to fight climate change even more.

One of those things is to put pressure on the upper levels of government to take climate change seriously.

On a personal level, Hay encourages people to buy things with minimal packaging and plastics.

To emphasize her point, Hay referenced a quote by Swedish teen and world-renowned activist Greta Thunberg saying “we need to act as if our house is on fire”.

Another suggestion for the county councillors was that the general public needs to know that the local governments are trying to combat climate change. A point that County Warden Liz Danielson rebutted by saying she felt that there are boots on the ground, and they are committed to doing their part.

Speaking to the things their individual municipalities are doing, Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt pointed out that her municipality had composters in the past and could again.

Dysart Mayor Andrea Roberts reiterated that Dysart has the water stations in Head Lake Park and the AJ LaRue Arena, as well they are working towards a complete ban of single-use plastics in municipal buildings.

Minden Mayor Brent Devolin pointed out that so far there is a 98 percent diversion rate of waste leaving the arena renovations and they have water stations as well.

At the county level, Director of Planning Charlesy White pointed out that the ball is already rolling on the county’s climate change plan.