__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 8

Townhalls: Engage Our Community and Leave No One Behind Susan Moore

T

here is lots of talk about the impending climate crisis and increasing inequality with more families struggling to get by. Can we change direction and get on a more positive track? People are looking for answers so, on June 5 and July 23, citizen-led townhalls took place in Tamworth to galvanize us to get down to work. These events were part of about 200 Green New Deal townhalls being held in communities across the country that brought people together to discuss how to create a fair and just society, cut carbon emissions, and shrink our excessive footprint - leaving no one behind in the process.

June 5 Townhall The evening of June 5 was an important two hours in Tamworth, as 65 concerned citizens met to begin discussions on the future we want for ourselves and our children. Organizers Steven and Susan Moore welcomed participants from Stone Mills, Greater Napanee, Arden, and Hastings County. First up was a presentation on the science of climate change and the challenges we are facing. Then, working tables of participants created lists of ideas for confronting those challenges, with a representative from each table reporting. This information was forwarded to the Green New Deal Organizing Committee at action@greennewdealcanada.ca for consideration of next steps. From the local June 5 results, the top five wanted actions were:

• Public transportation plus bike lanes • Local food • Require new buildings to be environmentally sound

• Reduce, reuse, repair • Environmental awareness in youth curriculum

July 23 Townhall At Townhall Step Two, 25 citizens met to develop action plans to address some of the top five actions. Attendees chose the subject of most concern to them, and the four “table discussions” produced the following reports:

Tree Planting: The biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis is to plant billions of trees across the world and this can be achieved without encroaching on crop

land or urban areas. Estimates are that a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere by human activities (The Guardian Weekly, July 12, 2019. See also Science Journal, July 5, 2019). “This new quantitative evaluation shows [forest] restoration isn’t just one of our climate change solutions, it is overwhelmingly the top one,” said Prof. Tom Crowther at the Swiss university ETH Zürich, who led the research.

• Less Lawns - Offer financial incentives

to homeowners who focus on naturalization of their property. • Advocate for tree planting on public and private lands. Incentives in the form of tax rebates. • Farmers: Maintain fence line trees and hedges as corridors for wildlife and food for pollinators. • Public education on the benefits of planting trees. Tailor a planting programme for our geographically diverse township. Not - one size fits all.

Transportation:

• Alternative transportation:

Reintroduce rural public transit, subsidize fuel-efficient vehicles. Provide a rural network of cycle paths or lanes. • Reduce the need for transportation: Provide more locally based services (keep local branches open!). Encourage more working, shopping, studying from home. Increase home delivery of goods & services. • Organize communal “pools” for necessary transportation: Local websites to advertise carpooling opportunities for medical trips, banking, shopping. Volunteer drivers would be remunerated for expenses. Adults could volunteer driving time for a compensating tax break as well.

Local Food:

• Farmers’ Market: A committed

volunteer group is needed to organize a farmers’ market in Tamworth area. • Growing our own food with resources such as Tamworth-Erinsville GrassRoots Growers’ speaker series • Market gardeners: Help mitigate the difficulties faced by market gardeners, such as the effects of extreme weather and the general undervaluing of the labour needed for this job. • Community gardens: Determine the purpose of a community garden? Who will it serve? • Database: Assemble a database of existing resources with help from

Townhall participants June 5. many regional partners.

Reduce Reuse Repair: Plans are underway for a Repair Café to be held in Tamworth in late September. People can bring their broken items to be fixed by local specialists at no charge. For more about this concept, visit the links in the text box. The Goals are to change the mindset of our throwaway culture and teach people how to repair by taking part in the repair process. programme in Stone Mills Township. • Hold in conjunction with other community events, possibly a farmers’ market. • Hold special workshops on kids’ toys (teaching kids about repurposing and repair), diagnosing a repair job, or composting – held on a Repair Café day. • Fixers for the Café: We currently have Fixers for computers, sewing, general repairs, and wood repairs. • We are looking for Fixers for electronics, small appliances, bicycles, and tool and utensil sharpening - who might also want to promote their local small businesses.

The world’s scientists and Indigenous peoples are telling us we have to change course – and we need to do it quickly. Let’s get down to work.

8

The SCOOP • August / September 2019

international organization with nearly 2,000 Cafés globally.

• Run as a regular

Please watch for more information about the Repair Café and support our initiatives. If we wish to keep our communities strong, we also need to support our local businesses and organizations. Our communities won’t be sustainable without them.

Repair Café scene.

Repair Café is part of an

For more information, contact Susan Moore at 613-379-5958 or susan@moorepartners.ca.

Do you have a broken household item? Don’t toss it! Bring your small appliances, computers, clothes, bicycles, toys and more, and we will fix it for free and share the repair skills with you. Video: https://repaircafe.org/ en/about/ There are currently Repair Cafés running in Kingston repaircafekingston.weebly. com and in Frontenac County www.facebook.com/ RepairCafeFrontenac

Profile for The SCOOP

The SCOOP // August / September 2019  

The SCOOP is an independent community newsmagazine. Since 2005, we have been covering rural life in the Ontario area north of the 401 and so...

The SCOOP // August / September 2019  

The SCOOP is an independent community newsmagazine. Since 2005, we have been covering rural life in the Ontario area north of the 401 and so...

Advertisement