Meeting Summary: Jan 23, 2020 - Neighbours for the Planet Climate Action Meeting

Updated: Jan 26




General Updates


Student Action Climate Group

  • First meeting will be in Feb.

  • Opportunity for Climate Change Documentary – casting call in Feb. If anyone knows of students, please send me their email if interested

Climate Strikes

  • Maple H.S. – they are continuing every Friday. They would love it if we join them! Carrie will go to Fri Jan 24th. After being to one, she will promote to whole email list with more details about parking etc.

Pamphlets

  • Draft versions have been circulated to groups. Collecting feedback and hope to finalize soon.

Martin has now done two climate change presentations at schools. 1) Eco Club at Pierre Trudeau High School in Markham; 2) teacher at Milliken Mills H.S. Would like to get it out to more schools.


Announcements

  • Tomorrow, Friday Jan 24th 3:30pm – climate strike meet at Major Mack and Keele. Will walk to Vaughan City Hall.

  • Carrie has confirmed that FFF climate strikes occur every Friday at Queen’s Park. Next BIG one is May 1st. Will plan on doing this one in Richmond Hill

  • Sun Feb 9th 1pm - Sustainability Symposium at RH Centre for Performing Arts –Hosted by Councillor David West, sponsored by Cleber Bernards. All our climate groups will be tabling. This event is now SOLD OUT!

  • Sat Feb 15th 10am – 4pm: Kitchen Table Conversations in TO. Learn how to talk about climate change to your family, friends, neighbours etc

  • Lots of other Upcoming Events - check here for more details

  • 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”.


Group Updates


1) Transportation:

Update provided by Martin:

  • Andy will check out the TO based EV groups to see if we can get someone to come to an NftP meeting to talk about how we could promote EVs in RH.

  • Imran will write up a piece about the advantages of subsidized public transport and Martin will include this in his monthly opinion piece he writes for the York Regional News (a free newspaper that comes out once a month). The deadline is the end of the month.

  • Martin will contact Chris Ford, the chair of the Markham Environmental Advisory Committee (MEAC), to ask his advice on getting an env. advisory committee set up within the RH council. Chris works for the RH council and knows Julius Lindsay (RH Council environmental advisor) so should be able to advise us. The MEAC is a useful channel to get proposals before the Markham Council, so a similar arrangement in RH would be useful in order to bring policy proposals before the RH Council.

  • Martin will provide links to articles showing that life cycle costs of EVs are already less than gas/diesel vehicles.

  • Group discussed ways to advocate to reinstate subsidies for EVs, noting that sales of EVs in BC and QC are now much higher than Ontario after the subsidy was cancelled by Ford’s government. Need to lobby and/or petition the regional gov. but no specific action was proposed.


2) Promoting a Plant Based Diet:

Update provided by Robin:

  • Robin will type up a list (similar to what Martin did for his group) of the different areas that the group will work on and at the next meeting they will each choose a topic.

  • Dinah will work at trying to find a location where we can offer plant based cooking instruction.

  • Brian will work at compiling a list of sources of info on plant based eating.

  • Wing is gathering information on growing micro greens and vertical farming.

  • Robin is working on finding and compiling a resource list of products and places to enjoy plant based dining, in an effort to make it a little easier or more convenient for others to find products and places to eat.

  • Robin will continue to introduce plant based recipes to the group.

  • The group also discussed writing a personal description of how each became vegan or vegetarian or how each member is reducing or eliminating animals from their diet.


3) Reducing Food Waste

Update provided by Stuart:

  • Grocery store visits to find out about their food waste - Monica visited another store. The fresh foods manager she spoke with was helpful; he suggested the store did not produce a great deal of food waste.

  • Get Smart: Take the Challenge food waste audit. Amount of food wasted in the home is monitored (volume or mass) each week. Marilyn and Stuart are running pilot projects. Marilyn’s feedback: audit going well; we already do a good job at not wasting food; “my general sense would be that the general public would not do such a food waste audit as it would seem like "too much work". That opinion is formed from talking to other people about it over the holidays. People motivated to not waste food would be more likely to do it and they wouldn't get a lot out of it ... as it's really a good way to create awareness about how much food is wasted but if you're motivated not to waste food then the audit defeats the purpose. That's my general take away right now.” Stuart’s feedback: Two weeks completed. Mass easier than volume to measure. Some members of a household may find this activity challenging with the increased stress that it may bring. It is quite possible that those motivated to take the Food Audit Challenge may already be good at reducing food waste. Marilyn and Stuart will try and tweak the process before potentially encouraging others to participate.

  • Stuart met Audra Scott at a York Region Environmental Advisory Committees meeting at the end of last year. As community program support co-ordinator - environmental promotion and protection, Audra has run food waste reduction programs in York region. We will continue to try and set up a meeting with Audra.

  • The Milan Urban Food Policy pact has been signed by 270+ cities globally, including the city of Toronto. Reducing food waste is one commitment agreed to in this pact. Stuart has been in contact with John Tory’s office to see how Toronto is dealing with food waste and if this pact could be pushed in Richmond Hill, Markham and other GTA cities. We are now waiting on a reply from the Toronto Public Health division which deals with this pact. http://www.milanurbanfoodpolicypact.org/text/ http://www.milanurbanfoodpolicypact.org/mufpp_food-waste/

  • Matching food donors and recipients programs are being explored. The following article was brought to the group’s attention. We will look at how this Thornhill organization is reducing food waste by matching donors and recipients. We are also looking at the Feed America Program which operates in a similar manner. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/02/opinion/going-digital-to-rescue-food.html?

  • Green waste disposal. Stuart spoke with the Head of Waste Management in Markham. She feels there is a lot of food waste generated by restaurants and grocery stores (in a further discussion Stuart had with a chef at a prominent Toronto hotel, the chef expressed concern about the amount of food waste their restaurant produces). The Head of Waste Management said residential Markham green waste is transported to an anaerobic digester near Ottawa. York region grocery store and restaurant green waste goes, via truck, to a Michigan landfill. There is no green waste pick-up option and Michigan disposal is relatively cheap - $300/trip plus $10 per ton. A GTA area anaerobic digester is in the works, but needs to be pushed along. We will look into this and find out what is needed to avoid sending green waste to Michigan and Ottawa!


4) Media/Climate strikes

  • Discussed possibility of doing some kind of event for Valentine’s day – we love our planet! Jim is really busy right now so timing may not work out.

  • Stuart also reminded us that RRSP season is upon us and good time to check with your bank that your investments are clear of fossil fuel assets.


5) Social Media

There is a #GoodFoodChallenge that we could maybe participate in and get some attention on social media.

TAKE A 2020 RESOLUTION TO EAT FOR THE CLIMATE

"With the Holidays just behind us and the New Year ahead of us, let’s take a 2020 food resolution together and eat for the climate! https://act.greenpeace.org/page/53450/petition/1


Agenda items for next meeting

  • Climate moment

  • General Updates

  • Updates by each group leader

  • Group work sessions


Meetings are held twice a month.


Next meeting –Tues Feb 4th at York Regional Police Community Room, 171 Major Mackenzie Drive West, See events page on NftP website for details.


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