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Meeting Summary: Feb 19, 2020 - Neighbours for the Planet Climate Action Meeting

1. General Updates

  • Discussed that would continue using SLACK for communications between groups and Google Drive for file sharing. Wing has offered to help out with this as Carrie is too busy.

  • Good News: RH Council unaminously approved a motion “Richmond Hill Climate Change Actions” put forward by Councillor David West. Yay!! A big win. Motion is posted on website.

  • Climate Change Cookbook possibility - Martin discussed the idea of a climate change cookbook with Robin, Andy and Carrie. Martin is waiting to hear if the Toronto publisher he has contacted will agree to publish it. The idea is to explain why a plant rich diet is good for one’s health and also the health of the planet, and to showcase recipes that go from no-beef (only white meat and fish), to vegetarian and finally to vegan. The book will showcase local environmental groups and will weave into the text information about climate change and the importance of less beef, a plant rich diet, and much less food waste.

2. Student Initiatives

NftP Student Action Climate Group

  • First meeting held this past weekend.

  • Lots of great ideas. Because climate change impacts everything, they came up with the name “Everything Matters Movement”.

  • ·Will create an Instagram account to bring all schools together. Talked about how to engage other students in their schools. Interview or use survey to see what other students would like to focus on eg. Fast fashion?

  • Coming up with their own logo.

  • Will be meeting every 2 weeks.

  • These meetings are now posted on our Upcoming Events page so other students can join.

Media/Climate strikes

Climate Strikes - Maple H.S.

  • Fri Feb 14th – REALLY cold. Carrie went. Mbabazi there. Stayed whole hour!

  • Cardboard boxes needed to make new climate strike signs. Please bring to next meeting.

  • This week will be the climate strike with solidarity action in support of Wet’suwet’en nation. Julia Fursova is organizing!! She wrote up an amazing article to help us understand what it is all about. Check it out here.

Climate Change Documentary from Student Perspective

  • Interviews were held this past Sunday for demo tape.

  • Casting calls still to come.

Climate Change School presentations:

  • Andy’s sister is a teacher and has booked Martin to speak at her school.

3. Promotional/Educational Material

  • Our colour flyers have all been printed. Also have been posted on website.

  • Have had a LOT of great feedback. A big thank you to Alan Rapkin for taking our words and bringing them to life!

  • The plant based group had a small discussion on looking into finding promotional materials such as t-shirts.

4. Social Media

  • Nothing new. Need volunteer to help with this.

5. Group Updates

a) Reducing Food Waste

Update provided by Stuart & Marilyn:

  • Get Smart: Take the Challenge food waste audit. Results: We did lower our food waste. Immediate strategies are being used for reducing food waste - no need to do the first two pre-strategy weeks.

  • Earth Rangers Food Waste Mission One component of this environmental group’s program is children try to go a week without generating any food waste. The Earthrangers one week program for kids will get family involved. Stuart will try the Earthrangers program next. Food-Waste-Warrior-Brief-T.pdf and here is the tracking document: Food-Waste-Tracker.pdf

  • York Region Organic Waste. Updates from York Region provided by Carrie:

  • a) York Region manages the municipal residential organic waste collected by the Local Towns and Cities. The Region’s organic waste is processed at these contracted facilities: Cornerstone Renewables, GFL Environmental and Renewi (formerly Orgaworld). Cornerstone uses anaerobic digesters and the other two are composting facilities that has aerobic processes. I believe the gas produced from Cornerstone has been fed into the electricity grid. Their website may give more up to date information on what they do with the gas produced.

  • b) The York Region can only speak to the waste collected by the Local Towns and cities within this Region and not the entire GTA. York Region has identified anaerobic digestion as the preferred technology for managing its organic waste and has been developing an implementation plan to secure capacity needed to meet its long term processing needs and emissions reduction goals. The 2018 Solid Waste Diversion Report has been added to NftP website on our Resource page.

  • c) York Region Waste Management was contacted today for further details on how green waste is being handled in York region and plans for the future, including a possible GTA anaerobic digester.

b) Transportation

Update provided by Andy & Martin:

The transportation group is focused principally on the promotion of electric vehicles and their charging infrastructure, and advocating for improved public transport.

  • One point of agreement was that the promotion of bike lanes in Richmond Hill is a secondary concern, since the promotion of electric vehicles and public transport are regarded as the immediate priority. This is not to say that active transportation is not important, only that there is often not enough space for both bike lanes and bus lanes on most roads in RH, in which case we agreed that bus lanes should take priority.

  • With regard to electric vehicles, we are waiting for the meeting with Ron Groves from Toronto EV who will be attending the next NftP meeting. We are hoping to develop strategies about the most effective way to promote EVs in RH, and also to learn more about the law regarding the installation of charge point in MURBs and the possible revision of building codes so that all new construction must be EV enabled—meaning that the EV charging cabling must be installed as a matter of course. It will be important then RH advocates for a strategy which is aligned with what Toronto is doing.

  • Imran is going to write an article about the advantages of free public transport: an approach which has been pioneered in several cities in Europe. Martin will help him and try and get the article published in the York Region News—a monthly free newsletter.

c) Promoting a Plant Based Diet

Update provided by Robin & Dinah:

  • Dinah has been finding information on a community garden for NFTP, for any members that may be interested in participating. The lots are all taken for 2020 growing season but Dinah will look into the possibility of a smaller plot. Dinah has credentials.

  • Mark – Linda Coss started org seeds for change. For community gardening. Debbie Field also great experience and knowledge for community garden. Region food network.

  • Robin has provided an article on vegan staples that is now posted on Resource page of NftP. Check it out. It is a must read!

  • Brian continues to send Carrie links which are posted on Resource Page and Documentaries Page

  • Robin will bring another vegan treat for our next meeting.

6. Break out into Work Groups

7. Announcements

  • Fri 3:30pm, Vaughan City Hall - Climate Strike and Solidarity Action in support of the We’suwet’en nation

  • Sat noon, Queens Park - Rally, Walk, Round Dance in support of We’suwet’en nation

  • Resilient Stories – RH initiative by Julius Lindsay. The idea of the Resilient Stories is to showcase stories from Richmond Hill residents about how climate change has impacted them. These will be shared on social media and on the RH website to display how climate change is affecting our community. Resilient stories is inspired by “Humans of New York”. Submission deadline: Feb 28th More details here.

  • Dinah suggested we start off each meeting with a Land Acknowledgement. We could all take turns reading it.

Next meeting – Tues March 3 at 7pm York Regional Police Community Room,

We have a special guest speaker Ron Groves, Manager, Education and Outreach at Plug'n Drive.

Please RSVP by emailing Carrie Tai at as we have a max capacity of 30 people,

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