Sustainable Orillia’s “Path to Net Zero” Conference Looking for citizen input into Orillia’s future

A “Path to Net Zero” Conference will be held at St. Paul’s Centre on the afternoon of Sunday, September 25th. Residents of our community will have an opportunity that day to suggest and explore citizen-led actions to support Orillia’s Climate Change Action Plan, adopted earlier this year, actions that will help our community become more sustainable. There is no charge for the event and all are welcome.

Canada, like the rest of the world, has witnessed a rapid succession of severe climate-related weather events such as out-of-control wildfires, floods, droughts and heat domes. Canadians, as a result, are coming to terms with the many changes we must make in order to survive into the next century. Indigenous teachings encourage us to think long-term when we make our choices and decisions – seven generations into the future. The “Path to Net Zero” Conference, guided by these teachings, will seek to inspire wise decisions and actions.

Following keynote remarks and a brief technical presentation on the Orillia Climate Change Action Plan, participants will see the ground-breaking film, “2040”—one man’s journey to discover what the future could look like if we simply embraced the best ideas that exist today. Australian writer/ director Damon Gaeamu imagines the life his four-year-old daughter could have 20 years from now. The film focuses on technologies and concepts already in place and supported by known experts, practices that, if more broadly adopted, would halt and even reverse climate change, giving his daughter and the other children featured in the film a safer, cleaner, more equitable world.

Some say the biggest risk in fighting climate change is our overwhelming sense of helplessness. “2040” points to a practical, achievable path toward solutions. This film does not scold us; it is hopeful.

Following the film, the conference will convene in small, moderated groups around the various themes of the film—which happen to align with Sustainable Orillia’s own Sectors (goods and services, sustainable agriculture and natural environment, infrastructure and energy, and health and wellness). The groups will be invited to generate 2 or 3 actions that our community can take and that our area’s elected municipal councils can support. These will serve as a call to action for us all.

Sample discussion topics and challenges will include:
• Enhancing renewable energy
• Electrifying transportation
• Improving energy efficiency and conservation in our buildings
• Ensuring smart urban planning and eliminating unnecessary boundary expansion
• Developing a circular economy
• Greenhouse gas sequestration and improved local food supply through regenerative agriculture
• Contributing to improved physical and mental health and wellness through a more sustainable community

A reception and social will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. At that time, municipal electoral candidates will be invited to meet and greet attendees. Conference participants can further expand on the call to action of the day.

Bring your own mug or purchase one onsite for $5 and help support Sustainable Orillia. The 2023 Sustainable Orillia Calendar “Orillia in 2050”, which features local artists of all ages, will also be available for sale.

Reserve your spot at the “Pathway to Net Zero” Conference here:




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