The town’s Environmental Sustainability Plan (ESP) is a framework for our environmental sustainability efforts. The State of the Environment Report (SOER) is a partner program to the ESP, which tracks select initiatives to provide an understanding of how we are doing with environmental sustainability.
Browse the four main categories below information on areas we're tracking, or check out our 2017 highlights report (pdf).
How permeable a surface is lets us know how water moves through it. Water can either be:
Water that does not soak into the ground is called runoff and can pick up debris or chemicals as it moves into lakes and rivers causing polluted water. Runoff can also cause flooding, which is a growing concern with more extreme weather and rain due to climate change.
High phosphorus levels impact plants and animals in our water by causing algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle, lowering oxygen levels and contaminating the water. Ways that phosphorus get into our water include fertilizers, manure, organic wastes, detergents and wastewater treatment plant discharge.
Chloride is another naturally occurring nutrient that can be toxic to aquatic life if levels are too high. Elevated chloride levels in Oakville creeks are primarily a result of road salting during winter months.
Exposure to air pollution can make it harder to breathe, irritate your lungs and worsen chronic diseases. Studies have shown that even minor increases in air pollution can cause small increases in emergency room visits, hospital admissions and deaths.
Greenspace is important for better air and water quality, flood protection, climate stability and biodiversity protection.
Accessing greenspaces and natural areas has been shown to improve mental and physical wellness, increase quality of life and foster stronger community cohesion.
The amount of waste diverted from landfills helps us understand how effective our efforts have been to recycle, reduce and reuse.
Diverting waste through recycling and composting programs extends the life of our landfills, reduces energy use, and limits the need for extracting, refining and processing new raw materials.
Efficient use of water reduces our impact on water resources and reduces the energy required to treat and transport water to our homes. It is also good for cost avoidance, because it is cheaper to conserve water than it is to increase treatment capacity.
Natural gas is a fossil fuel that, when burned, contributes to climate change and other air pollutants.
Reducing natural gas use is good for the environment and lowers gas bills, saving you money.
Electricity generation can produce a number of air pollutants or toxic materials depending on how the electricity is produced.
Reducing electricity use is good for the environment and lowers household electrical bills, saving you money.
Oakville’s recreational trail system is an important asset that helps residents and visitors connect with the outdoors, stay active, and engage with the natural environment. Studies indicate that access to nature contributes to physical and mental wellbeing and overall health.
The ecological footprint is a measurement tool that tracks the environmental impact of human consumption. Oakville’s ecological footprint measures household consumption of food, transportation, housing, goods and services, and government services. Then, it shows the findings in terms of the land area needed to support that level of consumption in global hectares (gha) per person.
Public transit reduces the number of cars on the road improving air quality and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Public transit is also, generally, a more cost effective choice and is better for the environment than traveling by car.
Active transportation refers to any form of human-powered transportation — walking, cycling, roller blading or skateboarding. Choosing active transportation instead of driving reduces air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion.
Education and outreach programs support the awareness of environmental sustainability issues.
Monitoring the number of events that the town hosts and/or participates in each year helps understand our efforts in raising the profile of the environmental sustainability efforts.
The town is committed to reducing the use of non-renewable energy at town facilities and improving air quality in Oakville. By using less electricity and natural gas, we not only save money, we lower our impact on the environment.
Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal can help replace non-renewable fossil-based sources such as nuclear and natural gas. Most renewable energy sources produce little to no greenhouse gas emissions which helps lower environmental impacts.