Richmond Hill Community on Climate Change

“Drawdown is that point in time when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begins to decline on a year-to-year basis.”—Project Drawdown

ClimateBooksCrowd

Active group targets Climate Change with climate books in foreground

On March 9, I attended a local community event on acting on climate change at the Richmond Hill United Church on Yonge Street (GTA, Ontario). Liz Couture (spearheading the Drawdown Group) had invited me to the event; we had met and had a productive discussion on water and climate change at the Ontario Climate Symposium last year.

SigningPetition

Signing to declare their right to live in a healthy environment for Suzuki’s Blue Dot petition

Panelists of the Richmond Hill meeting included Tom Cullen (Citizens’ Climate Lobby), Brian Chamberlain (entrepreneur), MP Majid Jowhari, MPP Daisy Wai, Adam and Peter DeVita, Liz Couture (Drawdown), Kathleen Wong (Blue Dot), Glenn Marshall (CCL), and ecologist Lorne Grieg.

The meeting encouraged a discussion of ways to resolve climate change as individuals and a community. Presentations and discussions focused on viable solutions for advocacy and actions with an emphasis on alternatives to the use of fossil fuels (such as geothermal, solar and wind power—and the challenges of currently existing infrastructure).

Liz-Drawdown Group

Liz Couture with Drawdown staff

Liz Couture summarized the Project Drawdown model, based on the 2017 book edited by Paul Hawkin. Project Drawdown is the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. It provides 100 solutions that are applicable to individuals, communities and governments at all levels.

“We did not make or devise the plan—the plan exists and is being implemented worldwide. It has been difficult to envision this possibility because the focus is overwhelmingly on the impacts of climate change. We gathered a qualified and diverse group of researchers from around the world to identify, research, and model the 100 most substantive, existing solutions to address climate change. What was uncovered is a path forward that can roll back global greenhouse gas emissions within thirty years. The research revealed that humanity has the means and techniques at hand. Nothing new needs to be invented, yet many more solutions are coming due to purposeful human ingenuity. The solutions we modeled are in place and in action. Humanity’s task is to accelerate the knowledge and growth of what is possible as soon as possible.”—Project Drawdown

The church sanctuary was filled with people wishing to learn more about what they could do to combat climate change. Many asked questions of the panel. Others challenged members of government for lack of transparency or action. Several shared testimonials of actions and toward solutions.

Amid several vows to personally make a difference such as walk more and cycle more and use the local stores and cafes, I thought to myself: it’s all well and good to make these promises for personal action. But what if there isn’t an attractive neighbourhood with cafes, stores and amenities nearby? I’ve driven through many suburb “deserts” throughout the Greater Toronto Area that lacked a friendly environment in which to walk or cycle. What if the roads to get to those friendly tree-covered neighbourhoods are not bike friendly? How can an individual realistically keep their promise?

Toronto Suburb

GTA suburb

In an amazing demonstration of synchronicity, someone summed it up just as I was preparing to mention this challenge: to ensure we have the infrastructure to support a climate-friendly lifestyle, we must do more than simply make a commitment; we must ensure that we can follow through with that commitment. And if we can’t, we must let people know. The success to such a commitment requires going beyond a personal checklist and involving the community to engage our government representatives on what our community wants to do, what we will accept and not accept. One of the best things we can do as individuals is to vote for and interact with our government representatives. Vote-in the representatives who will help bring about that infrastructure.

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Climate-Environmental books on display at event

Project Drawdown & the Role of Women

 

 

nina-2014aaaNina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of award-nominated speculative novels, short stories and non-fiction. She is co-editor of Europa SF and currently teaches writing courses at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. Visit www.ninamunteanu.ca for the latest on her books. Nina’s recent book is the bilingual “La natura dell’acqua / The Way of Water” (Mincione Edizioni, Rome). Her latest “Water Is…” is currently an Amazon Bestseller and NY Times ‘year in reading’ choice of Margaret Atwood.

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