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April 13, 2020 - New Focus: Neighbours for the Planet Climate Action

This difficult time of pause has allowed us to take stock in many areas of our lives. Neighbours for the Planet (NftP) has of course been high on my agenda as I contemplate how we might reframe our activities for increased effectiveness and efficiency.

With more people joining our meetings and groups, I believe we need to make some changes so that we are more effective. After much reflection, I believe that it is important to have SMART goals - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. This allows us to see progress in our effort.

We currently have 3 working groups with each group running with various tasks. NftP will now focus on organizing teams that will work on the projects outlined below.

Vegan Cooking Classes

Goal: To help transition our community to decrease their meat intake due to its high carbon footprint.

  • We will work with York Region Food Network (YRFN) who already do community cooking classes. They have access to a few kitchens and will help and support us putting these together.

  • Due to the coronavirus, we will not be able to start on cooking classes until at least the fall. However we are starting discussions on how these classes will run. We will also promote any digital workshops or classes that YRFN hosts.

  • In the meantime, we will continue to post recipes on our website and encourage people to try them out.

Community & Backyard Gardens

Goal: To help our community to learn how to grow their own food to reduce packaging, food waste and/or learn how to use their food waste to make compost for their garden.

  • We will be working with YRFN who already have community gardens in a number of cities in York Region.

  • Since Community Gardens are currently considered non-essential services in Ontario they are currently shut down. So we are not sure if this is something we can get started this year. If not, this will be something that we will strive for in 2021.

  • In the meantime, we will promote backyard and balcony food gardening to our community. It seems like a great time to get people started on this as we are stuck at home and many of us have more time on our hands. I am in the process of creating a “Backyard Gardening” forum on the NftP website where members can post tips, ideas, stories and questions. This is a great way to engage the community and get more connected.


Goal: To increase the transition from gas powered cars to electric vehicles.

  • We will keep the EV conversation going by writing articles for the local newspapers and to post on our website.

  • We need to advocate to provincial politicians to declare a zero emissions target as has been done in Quebec and BC. This may have to be delayed until after the pandemic settles when politicians have a bit less on their plates.

Composting in Multi-level buildings

Goal: To reduce the amount of compost going into landfills. Specifically, the goal is to increase the number of existing multi-level buildings to implement green bins and their usage.

  • Richmond Hill has the GoingUp program that will install green bins in any existing apartment or condo building that requests it.

  • We will contact select buildings and if they don’t currently have a green bin program in their building, we will ask to meet to discuss. We could do a presentation at a condo board or with residents to explain the importance of composting. Also we will think of ways to help people bring their compost down. I will review our plans with my contact at the city of RH to see how we could work together on this.

  • We have a couple of members who would like to get this program in their building so we could start with those buildings.

Food Waste Challenge

Goal: To reduce household food waste in the community.

  • We will work with EcoCaledon & YRFN to put together a challenge in our communities. We are currently in the very early planning stages but it will work similarly to the EPA toolkit that I had brought up in one of our earlier meetings.

  • The challenge will include an introduction presentation, regular follow up with all participants, and collection of data to see how much food waste is reduced per household. We may also hold a meeting half way through to talk about what is working and what isn’t and provide support. And finally we will hold a celebratory get together at the end.

Climate Change Presentations

Goal: To educate the public on climate change and motivate them to take action.

  • I will create a new page on the NftP website so people can request a climate change presentation.

  • We have 3 different types of presentations

1. Climate Change Presentations

2. Climate Reality Presentations

3. NftP Presentations

Social Media

Goal: To increase our outreach, boost our presence online while also increasing traffic to our website.

  • A lot of our initiatives will be more successful if we do some social media campaigns.

I will be scheduling zoom meetings in the near future for each project team and provide regular updates to the whole group.

Stay healthy and safe,

Carrie Tai

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