Who We Are

A "made-in-Orillia" grass roots movement.

"There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew." - Marshall McLuhan


Imagine a future trip to a galaxy far, far away. For the passengers to survive, the spaceship environment must be sustainable i.e. must have a balanced ecosystem in which demand equals supply. Throughout the decades of the trip preceding generations must ensure sustainability for successive ones. In contrast, our current Spaceship Earth has an unbalanced ecosystem. *Insufficient action toward sustainability by national and state governments, are resulting in citizens in many parts of the world taking local action. (*Canada ranks 7th worst based on Global Footprint Analysis.)
shooting star in the starry sky
group of people protesting climate change
2019 Friday Climate Strike in front of the Orillia Opera House

Why Sustainable Orillia

Because the world’s national and state level sustainability plans are currently insufficient and inconsistent and this is a collective problem that demands collective solutions, local initiatives are necessary. With the Mayor’s encouragement, many concerned individuals and groups within our community have consolidated their efforts, working to develop the concepts, strategies and plans for a  “made in Orillia” grass roots movement under the banner of Sustainable Orillia.   Sustainable Orillia is our local response to mitigating adverse changes to our community.

Mobilize participation in the creation of a more sustainable future for present and future residents of the community.


The community achieves long-term sustainability and net-zero emissions by 2050.   

A man collects collects wooden puzzles at sunset. Concept of success, business solutions. Strategy and goal achievement. Making the right decision. Connection and partnership.

Sustainability Outcomes and Strategies

Because the world’s national and state level sustainability plans are currently insufficient and inconsistent and this is a collective problem that demands collective solutions, local initiatives are necessary. Sustainable Orillia is our local response.

Definition of “Sustainability”

Sustainability needs to be defined and everyone has a different focus. We view Sustainability as a resource supply-demand issue but within a socio-economic-environmental context.

Our working definition of “sustainability” is meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability, in this sense, suggests that human communities must be designed and realigned so that humanity’s “way of life, technologies, and social institutions honour, support, and cooperate with nature’s ability to sustain life” (Capra, 1999).

It is our belief that we can facilitate a sustainability program for Orillia, building on the corporate plan, the emerging strategic plan and previous environmental achievements under the City Council umbrella that will contribute to:
  • A more sustainable way of life that has become an integral part of our lifestyle.
  • New economic opportunities
  • An improved physical environment – land, water and air
  • More effective food production, transport and utilization
  • Improved life for all, both physical and mental
  • Ensuring that the lives of our children and ensuing generations are lived in a world that is not worse than ours —in fact, preferably better
  • Development of  Sustainability Orillia as a learning, leadership and collaboration hub
To achieve the Outcomes, Sustainable Orillia has developed a number of Strategies. These strategies will evolve as Sustainability Orillia learns, grows and itself evolves:
  • Support and cooperation with City sponsored projects (Climate Change response/adaption, efficiencies, innovation, Committees of Council initiatives)
  • Engagement, education and dialogue with individuals and organizations to establish interest and commitment to Sustainability
  • Facilitation of community socio-enviro-economically viable sustainability projects that are characterized by:
    • Local, non-partisan, cooperative action to enhance sustainability with broader impact
    • Recognition that everyone is a stakeholder in their and others’ futures and all groups are welcome contributors
    • Cross-sector thinking and engagement with mutually beneficial plans and actions
  • A focus on measurable reductions in individual, community, city carbon footprint enabled with “smart city” technology
  • Ensuring demonstrable quick wins and long term enhancements to Orillia’s Sustainability

Organizing to Achieve Enhanced Sustainability through Community Engagement

We believe in a “big tent” approach in which all of the diverse interests of our community can find encouragement, tools, advice and a place to enhance sustainability practices that mean the most to them. With that in mind, we believe that within the sectors below (example interests shown), everyone will find a focus and will maximize community interest and engagement:
  1. Agriculture and Natural Capital – (growing food, diet, local sourcing, waste, supply, sharing, pollinators, carbon sinks( natural sequestering) tree planting, habitat preservation and restoration, storm water mgt, source water protection, water and land pollution( plastics, chlorides, nitrates, phosphates)
  2. Arts and Culture – (leadership in societal change – art, music, theatre, writing…)
  3. Education and Youth – (Youth Council, Informal, Formal, and Non-formal systems targeting children to seniors)
  4. Goods and Services – (reuse, recycling, packaging, single use plastic eco tourism, reduced carbon footprint, green marinas, carbon offsets)
  5. Health and Wellness – (physical, mental, emotional health, direct and indirect impact of climate change, climate action (mitigation and adaptation), children’s wellbeing – now and in the future, environmental determinants of health, the role of natural capital on human society)
  6. Infrastructure and Energy – (Electrification of vehicles, active transport, solar, wind, green, affordable housing, densification of development, environmental balance between development and supporting resources, eco-footprint of development, building and operations, socially responsible investment, carbon market/pricing)

Join Us

Become a member of Sustainable Orillia and be part of a growing movement. Your donation directly supports our programs, activities and publications.