fI had high hopes for the meeting Monday night, where our city council were to debate and vote on the motion for Whitehorse to declare a climate emergency.
Hopes and expectations are very different, and although my hopes were high, I also held my expectations in check and waited very patiently to hear each council member out, as did every single person in that packed council chamber.
I understood and even expected that that this motion could or would feel bold for some. Yet I truly hoped that after the report from the IPCC in September, and numerous subsequent papers released reporting that the climate is warming even faster than predicted in the IPCC report, after hearing concerns from a diverse range of Whitehorse residents, that our mayor and council would come together and support the motion as an important step in acknowledging the situation we are faced with, one that is growing and changing by the minute.
Instead I was totally shocked and deeply disappointed by what seemed like very defensive comments made by my own mayor, which felt like an attempt to belittle and diminish everyone in that room by saying that they had come because a councillor had lobbied them to.
I did not keep my young son up late on Monday because of any lobbying. I did not skip making and eating dinner with my family because of any lobbying. I did not sit in that hot, overcrowded room, respectfully listening for over two-hours because anyone else asked me to.
I was there because I wanted to be there. I was there because I want my son to have a future. I was there because I wanted to show my mayor and council that this is really, really, important to me, and that I wanted to listen.
I felt totally betrayed and frankly hurt by that comment, as if I was just some peon that showed up because someone asked me to, rather than a Whitehorse resident with her own mind and thoughts and important reasons for being there.
So far every person I have talked to felt that same disrespect, and told me so before I said anything about how I felt about the meeting.
That incredible and hopeful crowd of Yukoners were extremely respectful on Monday, despite what I can only imagine that people might have wished to say out loud.
I hope that in the future our mayor can be less reactive and more thoughtful when addressing us residents who are not in a position to say anything in return. I imagine that being mayor is not an easy job, and likely super stressful, and I know that we are all human.
I would like to ask our mayor to please remember that we are all in this together and that people showed up on Monday to be part of something, and to listen, not to criticize or point fingers.
This motion isn’t about any one councillor, it’s about everyones future – every single one of us.
I would like to thank mayor and council for all the energy, time and thought that has been put into discussion around this motion thus far, and I look forward to continued discussion and hope that council can find a way to come together on this in September in a meaningful way.