Mayor Steve Clarke has declared September, 2021 as ‘Sustainable Orillia Month’—a month-long program of information, education and practical advice, organized by Sustainable Orillia and designed to engage our citizens and help make our community more sustainable.
In his announcement, Mayor Clarke said, “There is no question, climate change is here—contributing to the extreme heat, forest fires and flooding now regularly occurring around the world. Recent reports and studies suggest that our current targets are too low and potentially too late … they emphasize that we must take more meaningful action to reduce our carbon emissions NOW!”
“Reducing our environmental footprint is embedded in our mission statement,” added the Mayor, “and achieving sustainability requires that we all—as individuals, businesses and organizations—be informed and be prepared to make short- and long-term decisions that move us towards a more sustainable future.”
“Sustainable Orillia Month is one of the ways we can do that—bringing together expertise and experiences dedicated to furthering our knowledge and to promoting actions that will move us towards ‘net zero’ emissions.”
Sustainable Orillia Month provides Orillia residents with opportunities to get informed and engaged. Along with the rest of the world, Orillia MUST reduce its carbon pollution by moving away from burning fossil fuels – oil, gasoline and natural gas. Mayor Clarke referred to the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which confirmed that the world climate is dangerously close to a climate-chaos tipping point and that human activities—primarily the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation—are “unequivocally” to blame. The study stresses that only humans can reverse it by removing oil, coal and gas as the central energy sources powering our economy. Readers are encouraged to view the entire report at https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/
This year’s Sustainable Orillia Month will focus on how to reduce our carbon emissions and move our community down the road to net-zero emissions. The month starts strong with Sustainable Orillia Week at the Orillia Square Mall. From September 11th to the 18th there is a jam-packed lineup of events planned, starting with an Electric Vehicle (EV) Demo outside at Orillia Square Mall, where visitors are invited to explore EV ownership with more than 20 vehicles and their owners. Inside the mall, a number of EV experts are lined up to lead short, in-person seminars, including:
• The EV Revolution, hosted by popular YouTube personality Ken Bokor
• The Electric Vehicle Network, hosted by Darryl Croft, President & Co-Founder of the Electric Vehicle Network (and an EV-only used car dealership)
• The Electric Boat Industry – hosted by Jeff Butler, President of Plus Boats, and
• Sustainable Living – hosted by Ian Graham from the Small Dog Studio in Kitchener/ Waterloo with a focus on powering your lifestyle with clean, renewable energy.
All of these seminars are free, less than one hour in length, and repeated throughout the weekend to ensure physical distancing. Times and locations can be confirmed at www.sustainableorillia.ca.
Throughout the week of September 13th to 18th, there will be a display of sustainability-inspired art by local artists, featuring the recent winners of Sustainable Orillia’s two Thematic Art Competitions. After Sept. 18th this show will go on the road, visiting two consecutive local galleries for the balance of the month. Dates and gallery information, including times, are available on www.sustainableorillia.ca. Throughout the week, in the mall, there will be volunteers at tables with information on both Sustainable Orillia and the EV Network.
Taking the Emissions out of Public Transit, a live webinar on Monday Sept. 13 (6-7 pm), will be led by renowned David Suzuki Foundation expert Gideon Forman who will address electrification of Orillia’s public transit, bike lanes and transportation policies.
Closing out the week is the ever-popular Repair Café, hosted at the mall by Lake Country Time Trade and the Orillia Repair Café. Volunteer ‘fixers’ will be on-hand to assess and help repair a range of household items. Visit <OrilliaRepairCafe@gmail.com> for more information and to pre-register.
To learn more about all these events and others planned for the month, including a series of free webinars and in-person workshops being scheduled throughout the month, go to www.sustainableorillia.ca.
All events, whether virtual or in-person, are free of charge and COVID-19 Public Health protocols will be maintained at all in-person, public events.
Orillia residents are encouraged to join in the activities planned for Sustainable Orillia Month and follow them on the organization’s website www.sustainableorillia.ca and Facebook page.