Home is where the earth is: The climate crisis meets the housing crisis - the Rabble

The Rabble

By Resh Budhu

Needs No Introduction

In this episode of the Courage My Friends podcast, Emmay Mah, executive director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) discusses the many intersections between the climate crisis and the housing crisis and the potential fallout from Ontario’s proposed housing Bill 23: More Homes Built Faster.

According to Mah: “We need to acknowledge that we are experiencing a deep, acute housing crisis. And this is also an environmental crisis.”

Reflecting on the Ford Government’s proposed Bill-23: The Better Homes Built Faster Act, Mah says: 

“The title of the Bill .. is incredibly misleading. It is both bad for addressing the housing crisis and bad from a climate perspective, and there are no two ways around that. ..Basically what this bill proposes to do is it’s going to gut about 10 existing provincial laws, which will ultimately strip local governments of their ability to build and protect affordable housing and achieve their climate goals and basically protect the environment and plan communities within municipalities.”

In refuting the tension between development and conservation, Mah says:

It is in all our interest to build green affordable housing. It is also in our interests to preserve natural land and resources and food growing areas. So these things should not be pitted against one another. And I think that it is a falsehood that is purposely being constructed to serve these development interests. And so we really need to push back against this. This is incredibly shortsighted.”

For Mah, communities are themselves modeling the change we need to see: 

“Community members often have the deepest perspective on what solutions will work locally, and understandably so. They bring a lot of knowledge and wisdom and lived experience to working on solutions. So I want to strongly encourage folks that have the impetus to really, really move forward with solutions they know are going to work with their communities. And organizations like TEA should be supporting them and so should local government.”

About today’s guest

Emmay Mah joined the Toronto Environmental Alliance as executive director in 2019. For the last 20 years, Emmay has worked in the non-profit sector locally and internationally, developing and managing programs focused on child rights, health, and the environment. She is passionate about building local movements to achieve healthy, equitable and climate-friendly cities.

Transcript of this episode can be accessed at georgebrown.ca/TommyDouglasInstitute or here

This article was reposted from the Rabble https://rabble.ca/podcast/housing-crisis-climate-crisis/ This article first appeared in the Rabble on Tuesday November 8 2022