A Message from Stan …

As we enter our first full year without COVID restrictions, Sustainable Orillia is excited about the events and projects we have planned for 2023.

We will kick off the year with a three-part series of workshops scheduled to begin in early April. Entitled “A New Lens on Carbon – from Emissions to Offsets”; this stimulating series will provide participants with a whole new perspective on the Carbon Cycle, your Carbon Footprint and how to positively leverage the carbon market.

Why a series on carbon? Well, for one thing, emissions are on the rise again and we need to know more and do more to reverse this disturbing trend. Just this past week, the Canadian Climate Institute (CCI) issued a report confirming that Canada’s 2021 greenhouse gas emissions (mainly carbon compounds) increased by 2.8% – after falling by almost 20% through 2019 and 2020.

True, many of the general population began to go back to work in 2021, after COVID restrictions were lifted. However, there were many others who continued to work from home – yet emissions from passenger transportation increased a staggering 8.7%. Here in Orillia, the CCI report confirmed that about half of Orillia’s GHG emissions come from transportation. Together, these two facts underscore the need for all of us to promote both active transit and the move to electric vehicles sooner than later.

To better understand how to reverse this trend – we need first to understand why this excess of carbon in our environment is not good for the planet and then explore options for dealing with this major issue. More practically, there are tools we can use to both reduce our personal impact and/or offset our carbon emissions. This first-of-a-kind, series will address all of the above and more.

Readers and Electric Vehicle (EV) enthusiasts can look forward to an even bigger and better “All Vehicles Electric” show at ODAS this summer – scheduled for the August long weekend. And the 5th annual Sustainable Orillia Month will be back in September – featuring our annual community conference, a ‘biodiversity art show’ and many other events. The very successful ‘Urban Walks’ program will be back as well this year.

Very importantly – throughout the year, Sustainable Orillia volunteers and partners will continue their work on behalf of achieving climate action targets such as the City of Orillia’s Three Big Moves:
• #1 Increasing renewable energy generations;
• #2 electrifying transportation and
• #3 implementing energy efficiency in our buildings.

Turning the tide on climate change requires vigilance and a series of collaborative projects. Yes, we need leadership from government – and over the past year, the Orillia City Council has stepped up with plans and funding – but as individuals, families, organizations and businesses we also need to have our own plans in place – to make our own ‘Big Moves’!

Please join us for the ‘New Lens on Carbon’ workshops and stay in touch all year to lend your voice and hand to sustainable issues and initiatives. And if you have questions on how you can begin to plan your own ‘Big Moves’ … perhaps we can help.

For example if you are considering trading in your current fossil fueled vehicle – visit our EV portal evinfo.earth, for more information and mark your calendars to join us at our 5th annual EV event on the Aug long weekend. SO Members have lots of first-hand experience to share on this and many other sustainable actions – just click (info@sustainableorillia.ca) and let us know if we can help.

Sustainably Yours,
Stan Mathewson

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