- Time for Nature webcast June 5
- Bike-a-Thon for Africa Climate Action Initiative June 6-7
- Climate lens and bike lanes for Toronto!
Despite all the hardships we are suffering in the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a ray of light: city residents from all neighbourhoods are rediscovering their connections to the natural world all around us. Whether it is hearing bird songs again because of reduced traffic noises, enjoying walks or bike rides to parks, ravines and the waterfront, or joining the new rush to grow our own food in #covictory gardens, Canadians are finding time for nature and rediscovering its healing powers.
On June 5th, U.N. World Environment Day, Climatefast is hosting another webcast after its hugely successful Earth Day webcast in April. Eight Torontonians will share their experience and insights about how we can enjoy, protect, and enhance our relationships to nature in Toronto and more equally share the benefits nature provides.
Biodiversity in the city matters! It is essential for our food supply, the air we breathe and water we drink, as well as our changing climate and ability to prevent new pandemics. Scientists agree that it is humanity’s relentless destruction of natural habitats that has brought us into contact with new viruses, like COVID-19.
Access to nature matters! For all urban dwellers, it is essential to our physical and mental health. For Indigenous and racialized communities it is particularly important: access to nature and gardens provides a means of building community and growing healthy food.
Our presenters! From gaining historical designations for ancient trees that are part of our rare Black Oak Savannah, to fighting for food justice and Indigenous food sovereignty, to connecting children with the butterflies and plants that can be found in backyards, our presenters are passionate about sharing how we can take action to preserve the green spaces around us.
The Biodiversity Crisis is connected to the Climate Crisis and to the Pandemic Crisis; our health is intimately connected with the health of our green spaces and our planet. The good news: we can all take action. We can all make a difference. And we will be nourished by the love of nature that is a part of human nature.
Our family-friendly webcast will be hosted by Allie Rougeot and Aminah Attar, members of Fridays for Future Toronto and will feature videos, performances, and speakers who will discuss biodiversity within the city of Toronto, including urban agriculture, waterways and our green spaces. Viewers will also get the chance to ask the speakers questions near the end of the webcast. Register today! We hope you are as excited about this event as we are, and we look forward to celebrating World Environment Day with you! And please share on facebook!
BIKE-A-THON FOR AFRICA CLIMATE ACTION INITIATIVE – JOIN US!
On June 6 and 7 cyclists will raise funds for climate action projects in Africa. We welcome riders! And sponsors!
You probably know that the impacts of climate change in African communities
Please check out our team page here: https://canadaafricapartnershipride.ca/acai/ - you can choose to join a team, support the team, or sponsor a rider!
ClimateFast has hosted two webinars so far, EarthDay2020: Towards a Green and Healthy Recovery and Africa Climate Action Initiative (ACAI)
You can listen to the recorded webinars, or to individual speakers at our Youtube Channel (ClimateFast Action) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClreo1EqWo4r6fcdU7-pUPg/videos
ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION GETS A BIG BOOST WITH CROSS-COUNCIL SUPPORT!
Good news to celebrate on the municipal front in Toronto! As the May 28th virtual City Council meeting demonstrated, the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic embraces the vision of a greener, more equitable Toronto that climate justice advocates have been demanding for years. This is truly a paradigm shift, and it’s thanks to the many of you who kept the pressure on Council through emails and meetings with councillors, deputations, letters to the editor and other actions. ClimateFast co-signed letters with 120 other organizations to support these changes and nearly 1200 individual letters were also received by council. That may be why there were only two councillors opposed! Council approved the staff recommendation to accelerate the implementation of the City’s cycling plan so that an unprecedented 40 km of bike lanes will be installed in little over a month as part of the ActiveTO plan.
These cycling routes will offer Torontonians a safe, healthy and affordable way to travel and ease demand on the TTC so physical distancing can be maintained. Most notably, the Bloor bike lanes will be extended so that there will be a continuous cycle track from Runnymede and Bloor in the west to Dawes Road and Danforth in the east. The plan also includes routes in Scarborough and North York as well as others in the city core. Check out the details on this map courtesy of Cycle Toronto.
CLIMATE LENS ON CITY PLANNING – POST-COVID RECOVERY PRINCIPLES
Thanks to other motions passed by a strong majority of councillors, traffic lanes will be reduced to allow for greater pedestrian and patio space along stretches of Danforth Avenue and along Yonge between Sheppard and Finch. Looking towards Toronto’s longer term COVID recovery, Council agreed that climate change mitigation principles must guide any economic stimulus plan to which the City becomes a party. Many councillors who have been reluctant to support climate friendly initiatives in the past, voted for these motions and spoke very favourably about them during the Council meeting. Please take a moment to write or phone your councillor and the Mayor to thank them for their climate leadership. Or send your thanks to the entire Council by addressing your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Mayor Tory has signed a statement by the C-40 mayors that is very much aligned with the Principles for a Just Recovery that Climate Action Network and member groups have launched. There is much work to be done to launch a program based on these principles especially at this time with the City is very financially challenged. So we can thank them – and ask for more! (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A SAY – IN RECOVERY & REBUILD
The Toronto Office of Recovery and Rebuild (TORR) wants to hear from you about how we can build a better, healthier, greener and more equitable Toronto as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Please complete this short survey by June 30 and insist that a climate lens is applied to the recovery and rebuild process. ClimateFast is planning to present an online community consultation in the coming weeks to provide the City with further input on its recovery and rebuild plans. Stay tuned for details!
Important committees such as the Infrastructure and Environment Committee will be resuming their meetings through an online format in the coming weeks. Arrangements are being made to allow the public to make virtual deputations at these meetings. When it becomes available, ClimateFast will pass on the information about how you can make your voice heard at committee meetings.
Together we are making a difference! To volunteer with ClimateFast sign up here!