Message from our Board Chair - Jonathan Ho

To our valued Members, Donors, Volunteers, and Community at large,

When we began the year 2021, the pandemic was at the forefront of everyone’s minds.  As vaccines started rolling out, I was hopeful that we could return to normalcy.  But I did not anticipate how climate change would make itself front and centre at the local, provincial, federal, and international levels.

From the heat dome and subsequent fires that destroyed a town, to the atmospheric rivers that washed out bridges and highways, disrupted supply chain links, flooded farms and forced the evacuation of entire regions, British Columbia saw first-hand that the time is now for climate action.  

There are hopeful signs that we are indeed taking meaningful climate action:

  • The province’s Clean BC plan has transformed from aspiration to action, with updated long-term and intermediate targets that provide a pathway to achieve our climate action goals.  
  • BC Hydro has made low carbon electrification a core mission, and Fortis BC has made significant strides in achieving its 30 by 30 goals for renewable natural gas.  
  • Electric vehicles are increasingly popular, and charging infrastructure to support wider adoption continues.  
  • The City of Vancouver passed a bylaw that prohibits any natural gas connections for new construction starting in 2022. 

I am proud that BCSEA has been at the forefront of advocacy in these, and many other sustainable energy policies.  From our work at the BC Utilities Commission, to presentations across various City Councils and municipal governments. 

We are dedicated to  educating British Columbians on practical steps to mitigate climate change..  Our Cool It! Climate Leadership program continues to expand, with strong demand from Grades 4 to 12 classes in both French and English.  Our active Chapters do inspiring work, not just locally, but globally, as demonstrated by the Vancouver Chapter’s Renewable Energy in Africa project.  Our dedicated staff and volunteers have worked hard to help our fellow British Columbians adopt a more sustainable energy lifestyle.

At our Annual General Meeting in November, I reported on our website and Customer Relationship Management system upgrades..  These upgrades will support the modernization of our systems and help us engage with our community more effectively.  We also get some exciting new functionality that we will be rolling out in the coming months.  These upgrades were made possible by the provincial government’s Launch Online grant. The work was undertaken by RFDM, a Victoria-based IT solutions company, with support and oversight by our dedicated staff and volunteers

Also at our AGM we welcomed a new Board Director, Stephen Hargreaves.  With a background in communications, Stephen will help us improve communications and engagement,  leveraging our new website and existing social media channels to empower our members to tell their sustainable energy stories.  Our long-serving Board Director Jim Jacobsen’s term ended at the AGM. Jim continues to support the BCSEA as a member and volunteer;  I want to thank him for his service and wish him the best of luck for the future.

As we look ahead to 2022, I want to draw your attention to the Switch It Up! Campaign.  This campaign aims to educate the public on electric appliances, empowering homeowners to switch up  their natural gas furnaces and appliances with electric options when they come due for replacement.  The BCSEA is proud to be the new sponsoring organization for this campaign;  look out for a formal roll-out in the new year.  The Switch It Up campaign is made possible by generous support from the North Family Foundation.

Finally, I wanted to thank all of our members and donors whose support is incredibly important to the BCSEA.  Our presence at the BC Utilities Commission is made possible by our members, and our donors have enabled us to continue our advocacy efforts.  

With the end of 2021 approaching, I hope that you are able to spend time with friends and family (provincial health orders permitting, of course) during the Holiday season.  On behalf of the Board of Directors, Happy Holidays and a Sustainable New Year.