The City of Victoria took a greener approach to their annual New Year’s Day Levee.

The theme this year is climate action.

“2020 is the beginning of the most important decade in human history,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “We’ve got ten years to work together as a human community around the globe to reduce emissions, reduce waste and basically save the planet.”

The city is asking residents to make New Year’s resolutions for the planet. At the levee, citizens were able to write down their resolutions on a sticky note, post it on the board, and grab a wooden coaster meant to serve as a constant reminder of their promise for climate action.

Every day, Helps noted, 13,000 cups end up in Victoria trash bins

“That’s 5,000,000 cups a year, so bring a mug,” she said.

If you forget your mug, however, you can still be waste-free. A new reusable cup service called the Nulla Project in the city has you covered.

“You forget your mug, you’re like oh. You ask at the counter if you can get a Nulla cup, you pay a $5 deposit,” explained Nancy Prevost, co-founder of the company.

After drinking your coffee, all you have to do is take it back to one of the five participating coffee shops. They’ll swap it out and give you a clean one, or if you’re done with it, you can return it and get your money back.

“Simple things have a huge impact and that’s really the message this year,” Helps added.

The mayor also noted Victoria’s biggest sources of emissions are buildings and transportation. The climate plan for 2020 is to reduce carbon pollution by providing incentives to help people change their heating systems from oil tanks to heat pumps.

“Cost savings over time, better air quality in the home and not using fossil fuels” are the benefits, Helps explained. “So that’s just one big initiative.”

Other initiatives include transforming the city’s transportation system, planting 5,000 trees, and recognizing those who are making changes for climate action.

Jasmine Bala