Updated: Jan 23
Year 2020 will definitely go down in the history books as a year we will never forget! What a crazy year it has been. Luckily with vaccines becoming available, we see a light at the end of the tunnel!
So, what did Neighbours for the Planet (NftP) manage to do this year? Well read on...
January - March 2020 - NftP supported a Weekly Youth Climate Rally, Vaughan
When NftP found out about a weekly #FridaysForFuture climate strike happening in front of Vaughan City Centre, we started coming out to support Mbabazi, a student at Maple High School that organized these rallies.
Mbabazi is a real inspiration! She was so committed, striking every Friday since September, sometimes on her own. Nothing seemed to stop Mbabazi, no matter the weather. And believe me, there were some particularly cold and windy days including a snow storm.
January 27, 2020 - Plant Forward Recipes now posted on our website!
At our NftP bi-weekly meetings Robin Enotera started bringing home made vegan snacks to each of our Climate Action Meetings. Robin wanted to showcase vegan dishes to encourage us to eat them at home.
These were a huge hit and everyone wanted the recipes. NftP decided to create a Recipes page on our website so we could share them with everyone.
Thank you to Robin and Brian, both members of our "A Heathly Diet" Team who have both provided delicious recipes for us to post!
Studies show that eating more fruit and vegetables is better for your health and the health of the planet!
February 12, 2020 - Big WIN for Climate Change in Richmond Hill
Our work on getting Richmond Hill to declare a Climate Emergency, finally came to a conclusion with Richmond Hill Council passing the motion “ Richmond Hill Climate Change Actions" unanimously on Feb 12, 2020.
Thank you to Councillor David West for his commitment and perseverance!
Thank you to our partners from Drawdown Richmond Hill and Blue Dot York Region who we worked with to make this a success.
February 19, 2020 - NftP have beautiful new flyers!
As part of our outreach and creating public awareness, NftP came up with content for three flyers: 1) Clean Transportation, 2) Reduce Food Waste and 3) Changing Your Eating Habits.
A huge thank you to Alan Rapkin for taking our content and bringing it to life in our new flyers! We are so fortunate to have a graphic designer on our team! We have been passing these out when we are invited to events and have received a lot of positive feedback!
March 3, 2020 - Presentation on Electric Vehicles (EVs)
Martin Bush and Andy Enotera, from our Transportation Team recognized that most people had a lot of questions about EVs. What better way to get answers to these questions than inviting a guest speaker to hold a presentation on EVs. Andy, who was also looking at buying a used EV, had met Ron Groves, who works at the Plug 'N Drive in North York. Ron came out to one of our meetings and gave a very informative presentation about EVs including an overview of which EVs are in the market, benefits of EVs including federal grants.
Thank you to Andy and Martin for organizing this successful presentation.
Then there was COVID!
COVID hit us like a ton of bricks. The world watched as more and more outbreaks were reported in countries all over the world.
We soon learned that we had to stay home, flatten the curve, follow health guidelines and wear a mask and physically distance when we did have to go out for essential services.
It stopped everyone in their tracks and many organizations had to figure out how to move forward. After a time of reflection and re-grouping, NftP found a way to move on...
April 2020 - NftP Vegetable Growing Forum
With the world being in lockdown and no way to get back to our meetings and engaging our community, we thought it was time to start a forum.
And with everyone stuck at home and a bit more time on our hands, what could be better than promoting growing your own vegetable garden?
The NftP Gardening Team started posting about how to start your garden indoors with seeds, to then planting in your outdoor garden. We even learned about straw-bale vegetable gardening from some of our community members!
And when community gardens were finally allowed to open, Dinah Gibbs started posting about her experience with community gardens.
Thank you to Dinah, Wing and Julia for all the help and guidance!
May 2020 - Our Social Media Team is born
One of our goals this year was to create a social media team to increase our outreach, boost our presence online while also increasing traffic to our website.
Marilyn Clark, one of our active volunteers took up the challenge to take the lead on this and find some volunteers to join the team.
Thanks to Marilyn, she not only built a team who are successfully posting regularly on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, but she also grew our accounts to include LinkedIn.
Thank you to Aaron Brown, Anusha Srinivasan, Anushka Karmalkar, Marilyn Clark and Melanie Koicha for the amazing work you have done!
June 6, 2020 - NftP Curbside Seed Giveaway
With the success of the vegetable garden forum, Julia Fursova had a great idea about holding a Seed Exchange.
Making sure we followed the health guidelines, we decided that instead of a seed exchange, we would hold a Curbside Seed Giveaway!
Thanks to Julia, Dinah and Wing for all their work in planning this event and making it a huge success.
This will now become an annual event! Stay tuned for our 2021 event!
June, July and August - Beating the Climate Crisis Presentations
With no end in sight from the pandemic, NftP went online. Thanks to Monica Woodley and Stuart Cumners, we started holding online presentations on the climate crisis.
Little did we know that this would increase our reach. No longer limited to how far a drive to come to a presentation, we now had attendees coming from other cities, provinces and even countries! We had attendees as far away as the Philippines!
Even once we are able to come together physically, we will continue to host online presentations as well!
July - October 2020 - Meeting with our MPs for a Just Recovery
Over the summer, NftP helped organize online meetings with MPs in York Region. This was part of a Leadnow initiative. With our climate partners we met with MPs in a few ridings. Unfortunately we were not able to secure meetings with all the MPs we contacted.
The meetings that we did manage to schedule were successful with attendees representing different groups, diversity and generations. It was powerful to hear our youth speak out!
One highlight of the meeting with MP Majid Jowhari, in the Richmond Hill riding was an invitation to the group to come to Ottawa where Majid offered to give us a tour, and introduce us as a group working on climate change, in his Member’s statement in Parliament. We will definitely be taking him up on that when it is safe to do so!
Thank you to everyone who stepped up and came out to an MP meeting! Without your presence, these meetings wouldn't have been the success that they were!
September 27- Jubilee: New Hope for Our Planet
This event was the brain child of Monica Woodley, one of our very active members.
This was our first event with panelists. They represented different faith groups including an Indigenous perspective.
The panelists also included our very own resident climate expert, Martin Bush, as well as youth working hard on climate action, Steve Lee and Aimee Tai.
What a great group to bring together and talk about caring for our planet.
Thank you to Monica Woodley for hosting the event, and to James Ravenscroft, Minister of the Richmond Hill United Church for moderating.
October 2020 - NftP becomes a Not for Profit and writes a proposal for a Climate Action and Resource Centre
At the end of September, NftP was made aware of the Climate Awareness and Action Fund that was announced by the federal government.
We met with our climate partners in York Region, Drawdown Richmond Hill; BlueDot York Region and Targeting Climate Change and brainstormed on some proposal ideas. And that is how the Climate Action and Resource Centre idea was born!
However, in order to be eligible for this funding we had to incorporate as a non-profit organization. With the proposal deadline of mid-October, it was a extremely busy time to write up a full proposal as well as get incorporated! But we did it!
A special thank you goes to Martin Bush who worked tirelessly to write the proposal. We are very lucky to have an author on our team!
We will find out if our proposal is accepted at the end of January. So stay tuned!
October 11 - Renewable Energy - Canada's Way Forward
As part of the Climate Reality Project's 24 Hours or Reality, Martin Bush and Aimee Tai created and held a presentation to examine the policies that will ensure that Canada can meet its climate targets.
Congratulations to both Martin and Aimee for successfully completing Al Gore's climate reality training and becoming our latest Climate Reality Leaders!
November - December 2020
With a bit of a breather after a busy year, we are starting the process of going through all the next steps required after incorporating including decisions about how to structure our organization.
And of course, now that we are eligible to apply for funding and grants, we are currently working on looking at funding opportunities!
Meet our First Directors:
Just click on the posters above to read them in larger print and also see the full bios on our About Us page.
THANK YOU to all our members for your support this year! And a special thank you to our NftP Team members who have and continue to dedicate a lot of their free time and energy to help with everything we do. Without you, we would not be where we are today!
We would also like to thank Our Partners who have been so supportive in more ways that we can count. They have been so kind and generous in helping us promote events, but also in their guidance and sharing of experiences as we grow as an organization! We are so very lucky and fortunate to be surrounded by such of a wonderful and supportive group of like-minded climate groups!