Press Release: Richmond Hill environmental group wins prestigious award

Press Release

April 20, 2021

At Richmond Hill’s 56th Volunteer Achievement Awards ceremony held on Tuesday, April 20, a relatively unknown environmental group, Neighbours for the Planet, swept up the award for Community Organization of the Year. This not-for-profit organization has led the way in Richmond Hill and the wider region in organizing community events to showcase the need for stronger regional action on climate change and the promotion of policies to protect the local and regional environment. Led by Ms. Carrie Tai, an engineer who co-founded the organization in 2018, Neighbours for the Planet (NftP) has organized and supported an impressive series of highly-regarded community events. NftP believes in the importance of involving local government in community action, and the organization has worked closely with Richmond Hill council, most notably in 2019 when an NftP initiative resulted in a motion to declare a Climate Emergency, which was approved by the municipality as Richmond Hill Climate Change Actions. Also, in 2019, Ms. Tai hosted a Green New Deal town hall event to elicit and record residents’ views on a vision for a better future for the community. More visibly, before COVID-19 blocked most public events, NftP organized two climate strikes in Richmond Hill which attracted several hundred people and which brought local climate action to the forefront of municipal concerns. Although now leading a larger team, Carrie Tai has devoted a great deal of time and effort to building and expanding the organization. When NftP was starting to ramp up its climate action in early 2019, she took a nine-month break from her engineering work to dedicate herself whole-heartedly to the formation of the group. When she returned to work in 2020, she opted to go back part-time so she could continue her work as a volunteer and community organizer. Ms. Tai is thankful for the hard work of the other members of the NftP team, who also volunteer their time and energy. Other climate groups also played an important role: “None of our successful initiatives could have been done without the help and collaboration of the other groups in Richmond Hill and beyond.” The energy and initiatives of NftP have not gone unnoticed. Ms. Tai has been invited to be on the jury for the Future Ground Prize, a contest organized by the David Suzuki Foundation which will celebrate citizen-led initiatives throughout Ontario that are making a positive impact on the environment in local communities. ________________________________________________________________________ For more information, please contact Carrie Tai at carrie.tai@neighboursfortheplanet.ca The organization’s website is at https://www.neighboursfortheplanet.ca/

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