Friday, September 24th, 2021 is Fridays For Future’s Global Day of Climate Action – a day to come together, make our voices heard and ask our local governments to build a greener, more climate resilient world.
Fridays For Future is a youth-led and organised global climate strike movement that started in August 2018, when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg began a school strike for climate. Along with other groups across the world, Fridays for Future is part of a hopeful new wave of change, one that takes climate action into the streets, into city halls and amplifies youth voices. For more info on FFF, here is their website: https://fridaysforfuture.org/
The Orillia Climate Rally was organized by the Sustainable Orillia Youth Council as well as Ellen Field from Lakehead University. It is from 12-1PM at City Hall. Since Orillia is in the process of creating their Climate Change Action Plan, we are using the climate rally to let the City know that we are paying attention to the promises they are making in terms of planning for a sustainable, climate secure future.
Orillia has already created and implemented so many green initiatives, like our award-winning recycling program, anti-idling bylaw, greywater (reused) usage initiatives, rooftop gardens, and more. Our municipal government is environmentally aware and Orillia is proud of their natural environments and ecosystems. Therefore, it is more than possible for the City of Orillia to commit to an ambitious, fast-acting, science-based climate change action plan.
It is us young people that will be living in the world created through the decisions made today. In order for us to have healthy and safe communities to live in when we are older, we need to push for systemic change and environmental policy NOW. Students are serious about our futures, and the best change comes from the bottom-up (through municipal politics!)
So – what exactly are we asking for during this rally?
- Bring Urban Sprawl to a Halt: One of the most impactful ways to reduce a city’s greenhouse gas emissions is to intensify city planning and invest in the communities we already have.
Sprawling out and creating new suburban developments destroys natural environments, creates car-dependent communities (increasing GHG emissions immensely), and eventually causes physical and mental health detriments to the people that live there.
- Speed towards the elimination of fossil fuels: It has been said for years that the future of energy is green, and we are asking the city to accelerate our switch to renewable energy and eliminate the usage of natural gas in our city. Ontario already uses so much renewable energy – this is a full switch that can happen quickly!
- Put pressure on the City to set ambitious, science-based targets for Orillia’s Climate Change Action Plan: This involves setting targets for improving our transportation, energy usage, waste management and more! We want our City’s plan to be far ahead of federal greenhouse gas targets, as those are last-resort numbers.
There may also be the possibility of speaking to Renne Recoskie – the Manager of Property and Environmental Sustainability for the City of Orillia. We will also be sending messages to our Mayor and Council! Depending on the amount of people that come out, we may also be walking around the block.
Note: Local COVID-19 procedures issued by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit will be in place, which includes masking and social distancing.
We hope to see you all there – remember, bring your mask, sign and spirit!