Dear Green Neighbours
A new US president who has indicated that addressing the climate crisis is a priority for his government can provide us with a sense of hope. As a return to the Paris climate accord and the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline loom, let's take this opportunity to apply pressure to our own governments to take urgent action.
Green 11 is a volunteer driven community group. If there is a green initiative that you are interested in starting and recruiting volunteers for, please get in touch with us and we will see how we can support you. If you are wondering if people in Ward 11 are working on a particular green project, get in touch with us and we might be able to point you in the right direction.
Green 11 Monthly Meeting
Friday, January 22, 2-4 pm
Please join us at our next meeting, Friday, January 22, 2-4 pm. Contact Paul Overy at email@example.com to receive Zoom log in info and to suggest any items for the agenda.
Calls to Action
Participate in the City of Toronto 2021 Budget Process - January 25-26
The City of Toronto's 2021 Budget committee meetings and public presentations will be taking place over the next week. As a part of this process, the Environment & Energy Division's 2021 Budget, which includes the budget for TransformTO, will be presented to the Budget Committee on January 20. Detailed information about the Environment & Energy Division's 2021 Budget is available in the Budget Notes document.
The public has an opportunity to speak at the virtual public meetings on January 25 and 26, or to submit written comments. Consider signing up for a five minute spot to speak about the issues and services you want reflected in the budget. Register by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-392-4666 before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 22.
More information is available here. More information about the City's budget process here
Bill 197 (MZO) implementation feedback requested
The Ontario government is inviting comments concerning changes to the Planning Act with the enactment of Bill 197, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020 that enable the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to address site plan matters and apply inclusionary zoning as part of a zoning order.
There has been much discussion and outcry over the increased use of Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) to override local planning bodies and conservation authorities in order to push projects through. MZOs had previously only been used rarely – and only in cases where the public good was a major consideration.
The recently enacted legislative changes to the Planning Act enhance the Minister’s authority for zoning orders across the province. This enhanced authority does not, however, apply to lands within the Greenbelt Area.
The enhanced authority allows the Minister to:
Read the official explanation of the enhanced MZO authority and comment here. Comments can be submitted until January 30, 2021. Read Ontario Nature’s take here.
- require affordable housing (inclusionary zoning),
- remove municipal use of site plan control and require agreements between the municipality and development proponent (or landowner) concerning site plan matters, and;
- make amendments to Minister’s Zoning Orders that use any of these enhanced authorities without first giving public notice.
Support YongeTOmorrow at City Council
On January 11th, the Infrastructure and Environment Committee voted 4-2 to adopt the staff recommendations. On February 2nd, the final report and recommendations on yongeTOmorrow will be discussed and voted on at City Council. You can email, call, and tweet your City Councillor & Mayor Tory urging them to support this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform Yonge Street into a world-class, 21st-century urban destination (and ask 2 of your friends to join you in doing the same).
Phase out Ontario gas-fired power plants
Ontario’s plan to ramp up reliance on natural gas for electricity – after having cancelled 750 renewable energy projects – risks increasing greenhouse gas pollution from Ontario’s gas-fired power plants by more than 300% by 2025 and by more than 400% by 2040, according to the Ontario Clean Air Alliance. This will make it almost impossible to meet our climate commitments. You can take action by signing the Ontario Clean Air Alliance's petition to phase-out Ontario’s gas-fired power plants by 2030 in favour of lower cost and cleaner energy options.
Help Protect Small’s Creek Ravine and Williamson Park Ravine
Small’s Creek ravine and the north part of Williamson Park Ravine are at risk of being clear-cut by Metrolinx, with construction starting as early as January 2021. This is because Metrolinx - which owns the slope beneath the tracks - says it needs to build a retaining wall and a new culvert in the ravine before it adds a fourth track to the current GO/Via corridor.
Small’s Creek and Williamson Park Ravines are one of the few greenspaces in our community. And Williamson Park Ravine has officially been designated an “Environmentally Significant Area” (“ESA”). As ProtectNatureTO has clearly put it, ESAs are “special spaces within Toronto’s natural heritage system that support the greatest richness of plant and animal life and are in most need of protection”. Join the Small’s Creek neighbourhood group in asking for:
Sign the petition and find sample letters to send to elected representatives here
- Justification that the proposed retaining wall in Small’s Creek Ravine is the best technical, social and environmental solution. What alternatives were considered and why were they rejected?
- Provision of a detailed plan and schedule acceptable to the City for the rehabilitation and replanting of the ravine when construction is complete.
- Provision of a construction schedule that provides a reasonable balance of construction personnel safety and commuter convenience on the one hand and minimizes the need for night work on the other.
- Provision of a detailed plan for noise mitigation both during and after construction.
- Delay the start of construction until the above issues have been resolved. We understand that this work is an ‘early works’ project and delaying the construction start will have no impact on the larger GO Expansion project schedule.
Green Online Events and Webinars
Fridays for Future Weekly Climate Strikes
Fridays, 11 a.m. – noon
Live Streamed webinars with different speakers led by youth.
Pathways to Zero Webinar Series
Thursdays, January 21- March 18, 1 p.m.
Starting January 21, Climate Action Network’s Pathways to Zero series will stretch over nine weeks, and will feature 10 webinars. Each week, as part of a themed conversation, hear from the experts, leaders, movers and shakers who work every day to put us on the path towards decarbonization. Week by week, learn together about the initiatives and journeys communities are already embarking upon to ensure we reach zero emissions, while prioritizing wellbeing and dignity for all. Upcoming events include:
Register here More info and full schedule here
- Place Based Ambition (January 21)
- Complex Systems Change (January 28)
- Workforce and Labour Transitions parts 1 & 2 (February 4 & 5)
Green Criminology: The Case for the Crime of Ecocide: Governance for more Just Futures
Saturday, January 23, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Organized by Future Law Institute, this interactive masterclass is designed for civil society representatives, climate justice advocates, policymakers and policy entrepreneurs, lawyers and professionals desirous of building capacity to lobby for environmental regulation at national levels. Register here
Fossil Banks? No Thanks! Online Workshop
Sunday, January 24, 3 p.m.
Learn about the Big 5 Banks' huge investments of our money in expanding fossil fuels and worsening climate change. We their customers can act together to pressure the big 5 into cleaning up their act. Learn how to bring attention to this on the January 29th Day of Action. Register here. Find out more and be inspired by this divestment video. And more resources here.
Our Climate Café
Monday, January 25, 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Our Climate Café is a cyberspace hosted by Community Climate Council convening the last Monday of each month at 6 p.m. on ZOOM. At Our Climate Café, attendees can anticipate a 90-minute conversation on the adverse effects of the climate crisis on one's psyche, as well as hope and how to live well while navigating the current climate crisis. Attendees are pleased to find other attendees tell a tale or two, profess postulations, communicate concerns, crack jokes, and advise one another—similar to a circle of friends at a café or coffee shop. Register here
Kitchen Table Climate Conversation
Monday, January 25, 7 p.m.
Participate in a climate conversation as if we were sitting at a kitchen table; learn more, share feelings, create solutions. Hosted by Climate Fast. Register here
Overcoming the Climate Crisis: What Needs To Be Done
Tuesday, January 26, 7 p.m.
What do we have to do, and when, to avoid catastrophic global warming? Climate scientist Danny Harvey provides the answer in this Science for Peace webinar. A dynamic U of T Professor of Geography, he has written two textbooks on climate science, three books on solutions, over a hundred scientific papers relating to the climate problem and has co-authored reports for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Commentaries will be provided by two panelists to articulate the viewpoints of young people facing the climate crisis. Allie Rougeot is from the Toronto chapter of Fridays for Future, an organization of students that mobilizes hundreds of thousands of people worldwide in global protests of climate inaction. Sara Beiruti created a vibrant student Science for Peace campus group. Richard Sandbrook, U of T political scientist and president of SfP, is the moderator. Don’t miss this engaging and unconventional webinar. Register here
THE TIME IS NOW: Canadian and Global Recognition of the Right to a Healthy Environment
Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 8 - 10 p.m.
What can our governments do to address the impacts of the global environmental crisis on our lives? Join the Centre for the Law and the Environment for a public talk by Dr. David R. Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur, on the urgent need for the legal recognition and implementation of the human right to a healthy environment. While already recognized in the majority of countries, this right is not yet protected by national laws in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom or Japan. These countries are home to many environmentally damaging industries and are key contributors to the climate emergency, with effects that transcend domestic and international borders. Existing environmental laws are inadequate to effectively protect human and environmental health, highlighting the need for the right to a healthy environment to serve as a catalyst for rapid, systemic and transformative changes.
Opening remarks will be made by Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, and Dr. Boyd will be introduced by Dr. David Suzuki, scientist and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Register here.
En-ROADS Climate Change Solutions Simulator Game: Why Are Negotiations So Hard?
Thursday, January 28, 1:30-5:00 p.m.
Thirty-six lucky people will get a realistic taste of international climate negotiations by participating in Massey is Missing COP26's dramatic climate negotiation role-playing game, led by Climate Ambassador Laura Lindberg. Because spots are limited, note that priority will be given to members of the Massey College community up until January 14th. After that time, spots will be available on a first come, first served basis. To reserve a spot on one of the negotiation teams, please register here. More info here
The future of Toronto transit fares
Thursday, January 28, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
The TTC is coming up with a new “5-Year Fare Plan” this year. If we can get thousands of transit riders involved, we can shape the fare plan and build a stronger transit movement. Sign up for TTCriders' webinar to learn about:
Speakers: Councillor Shelley Carroll, Masooma Ali, Bee Lee Soh
- The TTC's plan to study fare policies over the next year
- How transit in other cities compares to the TTC
- How you and your community can have a say about transit fares
Banking On Our Kids' Future - January 29 Day of Action
Canada's big five banks are pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into fossil fuels, financially backing projects that violate Indigenous rights and endanger our kids' future. You've probably heard this before and wondered what you could do. Here are three ideas from For Our Kids to take action this month, building to a collaborative day of action on January 29th.
TRCA Offers Free Online Winter Activities
- Hoot and Howl | January 28
- Rain to Runoff | Feb 2
- Backyard Birds Through the Seasons | Feb 4
Sustainable Investment online course
Tuesday evenings Jan 26 - Feb 16, 7:30-9 p.m.
Saturday afternoons Jan 30 - Feb 20, 1-2:30 p.m.
So many Canadians want to build a sustainable investment portfolio but cost is a barrier. To that end, Good Investing is offering its first ever online course, running over four weeks. You can learn more about the online course here
Build Vital Connections Between People and Parks
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 3:00 pm
The 2021 TD Park People Grants program is back and you can apply for a $2,000 grant today! Join us for a special webinar to learn about the TD Park People Grants program, the application process, & the eligibility to apply successfully and receive a grant to build vital connections between people and parks. Register here
If your community group is in Metro Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Greater Toronto Area, National Capital Region (Ottawa-Gatineau), Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax Regional Municipality apply for support for your in-person or online activities that
More than half the TD Park People Grants are focused on supporting the work of underserved community groups - we encourage equity-seeking groups to apply. Applications are due by March 1st, 2021.
- Promote environmental education
- Cultivate sustainable practices
- Support stewardship in Canada’s parks and green spaces.
Growing the Future - Online Cooking Classes for Kids
Growing the Future is a weekly cooking class for kids by Greenest City. These classes strive to not only teach about food, nutrition and cooking techniques, but also larger conversations about where our food comes from, how different cooking methods work and why we do certain things while cooking. We want to teach usable skills while trying to instill a sense of curiosity about food that will extend beyond the class. If you would like to know more about the classes or sign up for one of the sessions, CLICK HERE! Programs run:
- February 9 - March 2
- March 9 - March 30
Green News and Resources
Protecting Ontario’s Environmental Future
Over 1200 people joined Environmental Defence’s live online discussion on January 12, to listen to Tim Gray, with special guests David Crombie, Anastasia Lintner and Anne Bell discuss Ontario’s environmental future. If you missed the live discussion, it was recorded and is now available to watch on YouTube. Read more here.
New Year's Resolution: Plant More Native Species for #BackyardBiodiversity
Give local birds, pollinators and other wildlife more access to high-quality food sources and better shelter. Many species commonly planted in urban gardens can be invasive. This is why LEAF developed a list of native species to plant in their stead! Even though the gardening season may seem far away, it is not too early to start planning your spring garden and to learn about the benefits of native plants! Learn about more in LEAF’s new factsheet: Plant Native for Backyard Biodiversity: How to improve wildlife habitat in the city. And, for even more information, consult the Ontario Invasive Plant Council’s Grow Me Instead guide.
Jane Goodall: 'Change is happening. There are many ways to start moving in the right way'
The primatologist and ecological activist on why population isn’t the only cause of climate change, and why she’s encouraging optimism: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/03/jane-goodall-change-is-happening-there-are-many-ways-to-start-moving-in-the-right-way
Hiking Canada’s Great Trail in the name of citizen science
Bird ecologist Sonya Richmond on why she and her partner quit their jobs, sold their house — and set out to explore the world’s longest recreational trail. “We need people to develop this connection to nature to notice what’s going on and to hopefully be inspired to do something, to help it.” https://www.tvo.org/article/hiking-canadas-great-trail-in-the-name-of-citizen-science
Canadian cities lead the way in the fight against climate change
Though cash-starved and hard-hit by COVID and climate change, cities are punching well above their weight for solutions. https://www.corporateknights.com/channels/climate-and-carbon/canadian-cities-lead-the-way-in-the-fight-against-climate-change-16104542/
Climate crisis: 2020 was joint hottest year ever recorded
Global heating continued unabated despite Covid lockdowns, with record Arctic wildfires and Atlantic tropical storms https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/08/climate-crisis-experts-2020-joint-hottest-year-ever-recorded
What's Next After the Gutting of Ontario's Conservation Authorities?
Over the past couple years, under the Ford government, Ontario’s climate plan has been dismantled, our Greenbelt has been under threat, protection for our endangered species has diminished, and the door is now open to urban sprawl. Special interests are prioritized over people and the environment. Learn more about what’s at stake and how you can take action. See this new website: Ontario: Yours To Protect
Loving a vanishing world
What does it mean to love anyone or anything, in a world whose vanishing is accelerating, perhaps beyond our capacity to save the things that we love most? https://medium.com/@enjohnston/loving-a-vanishing-world-ace33c11fe0
Sustainable investment opportunity
2021 is off to a great start for sustainable investors! The new Harvest Clean Energy ETF (HCLN) fund holds the 40 largest clean energy companies globally, and is the first green energy ETF to trade in Canadian dollars. Learn more here
Zero Waste News and Events
Just Eat It Toronto! Food Waste Challenge
Explore the opportunities we all have to engage in behaviour change for sustainability. Over six weeks, we offer a practical challenge for participants to achieve a measurable reduction in their household food waste by:
The challenge will run from January 18 – February 28, providing information, tips and resources so all participants can engage in being part of one of Drawdown’s top solutions – #3 Reduced Food Waste. Register here
- Helping participants acquire new skills, tools and knowledge to go further, step by step
- Building community among participants for mutual encouragement and support
- Creating the foundations for more sustainable habits around food and food waste
Zero Waste High-Rise Project - apply now!
If you own your own house, that means it’s a cinch to participate in the City’s waste management re-cycling program. For those in apartments or condos, however, participation isn’t always quite so easy. Now the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) has announced new support and events to encourage multi-residential buildings to switch to zero waste. Coaching sessions, awards, and even micro-grants of $500 are available to teams of residents and staff. Details are available on the TEA website. But don’t dawdle – building action plans must be submitted by January 31.
More Zero Waste Events
For more zero waste related news and events taking place across Toronto check out Zero Waste Hub Toronto on Facebook and Twitter!
Urban Agriculture Events, News and Resources
Food and Climate Change without the Hot Air
Science and technology blogger Cory Doctorow highlights this new book by Sarah Bridle:
“Bridle's volume is an important addition to the [Hot Air] series, and uses a subtler knife - rather than opening with the small change in a big thing, she instead sketches out the emissions associated with a variety of prepared meals, organized by breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. All of this is framed around the idea that each human on Earth must rapidly draw down their food emissions to no more than 3kg/day if we're to meet the 1.5'C global warming target.”
Toronto Urban Growers
Grow Food Toronto
City resources: Food banks, meal programs, meal delivery, and more
Active Transportation News and Resources
Meet the CycleTO University-Rosedale Ward Advocacy Group
Led by Ethan Chiddicks, CycleTO University-Rosedale is a volunteer group focusing on cycling issues in Ward 11.
“We work to make cycling more accessible, safe and equitable. We are inspired to share the joy we find in cycling and are motivated by its practicality as a low-cost and low-carbon mode of transportation. If you feel connected to these issues, we'd love to meet you! We meet monthly - our next meeting is Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m..” For more info email email@example.com
‘Slow Streets’ Disrupted City Planning. What Comes Next?
In many cities, the swift rollout of car-restricted streets at the start of the pandemic faced fierce community resistance. Now planners are changing their playbook.
Make Way for the ‘One-Minute City’
While the “15-minute city” model promotes neighborhood-level urban planning, Sweden is pursuing a hyper-local twist: a scheme to redesign every street in the nation.
Are there green news or resources you'd like to see included in the Green 11 newsletters? Send your items and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.