In Richmond, Mayor Malcolm Brodie joined David Suzuki Foundation CEO Peter Robinson to launch the Fall Family Challenge on behalf of Richmond City Council. The mayor and 29 Grade 6 Mitchell Elementary School students, along with Richmond city councillors Chak Au, Linda Mcphail, Ken Johnston and Derek Dang, took a walk in Richmond Nature Park as the first challenge in the four-week initiative. He also challenged other cities in Canada to follow suit.
"Richmond is blessed to have a quality of life that is the envy of the world," Mayor Brodie said. "We need to work hard to sustain that level of livability, ensure it is shared by all of our residents and most importantly, to make sure we pass it on to future generations."
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As one of the fastest-growing and most ethnically diverse municipalities in the country, Richmond was also found to be the healthiest city in Canada by Canadian Living magazine in 2007. According to a study released by the Public Health Agency, Richmond has the lowest obesity rate in Canada — 5.3 per cent of the city's population is obese compared to a national average of about 25 per cent. Richmond residents also live longer than people in the rest of Canada, if not the world. Richmond's longevity rate hovers above 84 years, which beats the national average of just over 79 years and Japan's 81 years.
"I am so pleased that we are able to follow on the success we had together this past spring with the Ready Earth Day Youth Summit," David Suzuki Foundation CEO Peter Robinson said. "Once again, the City of Richmond is showing its leadership by being the first city in Canada to declare it will join our family challenge to get outside."
According to a David Suzuki Foundation survey, "Youth Engagement with Nature and Outdoors", 70 per cent of Canadian youth spend an hour or less outside each day. The same survey also found that parents can help kids create a nature habit. "We found that if youth spend time outside when they are young, they are 20 per cent more likely to explore nature on their own when they are older,"said Leanne Clare, project lead for DSF's Connecting Youth with Nature Program.
Richmond has long been known as the "Garden City", with its 90 parks and green spaces. Recently, Richmond City Council also endorsed a resolution to support B.C.'s carbon tax and urged the provincial government to spend a "significant portion" of carbon tax revenue on transportation and renewable-energy projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. City Council also approved a project to get the city-run Gateway Theatre to install a wastewater heat recovery system- another first of its kind in Canada.
Mayor Brodie's leadership in taking up the Nature Challenge was also well received by the media, including Fairchild Radio and TV as well as local print media like Richmond News, Sing Tao Daily and Ming Pao Daily.