In May, London declared a climate emergency and a few weeks later Canada followed suit.
Climate Action London was formed as a response to this emergency. Its goals are to both educate and advocate on the need to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Our mission is: to embolden London and Middlesex County to meet or exceed the targets as set out in the Paris Accord.
Goals are reached through action. Climate Action London seeks to engage Londoners in many kinds of action, from both a bottom-up and top-down perspective. Members are encouraged to take whatever actions resonate with them.
Our primary activity is a weekly email that highlights green initiatives, events, and ideas that are relevant to the London community. This eblast has a subscription list of about 150, and is also rebroadcast to reach over 500 viewers. We don’t host many of our own events but try to find partners who need assistance to get some climate projects off the ground.
Climate Action London has applied for grants to develop a variety of projects, including:
- The creation of a bike share program at a supportive housing residence
- Initiating an online native plant sale through a collaboration with three nature-based non-profits, selling over 3,000 plants
- The creation of two pollinator gardens
- The creation of a website (ClimateActionLondon.ca) with the help of a summer student
- The establishment of pollinator gardens for Urban Roots’ two urban farming projects
Through our affiliation with the London Environmental Network, we have opportunities to table at events. This did not happen so much due to covid, but is picking up again. In the past, we tabled at Seedy Saturday and discussed composting with attendees. This resulted in the sale of all three of our demonstration composters. This coming holiday season, we will table at a holiday market and will sell public transit smart cards. These cards are only available if you go in-person to the transit office, which isn’t very convenient for most people. We will preload the cards with $10 and offer them in holiday gift wrapping for purchase as a stocking stuffer.
As we believe that individual action is not the whole answer to the climate crisis, we also have a focus on advocacy. We also do a range of advocacy work including:
- The establishment an advocacy group that meets monthly to send letters to politicians
- Holding a rally calling for the protection of old-growth forests, especially Fairy Creek
- Hosting the weekly Fridays for Future rally in London
Recognizing that it requires us all to work together, we work to build community. We have developed a good relationship with the university, and have multiple opportunities to engage university students in our work through their Community Engaged Learning programs. Although we don’t host many events, the Greening Sacred Spaces program is one where we do. We have:
- Established a Greening Sacred Spaces (GSS) chapter in London to host quarterly celebrations and monthly networking meetings
- GSS held a Fall Equinox Celebration that attracted about 60 people and was led by an Indigenous community leader
- Engaged in an interfaith tree planting event
- Engaged 5 University students in a Community Engaged Learning project on Electrification
- Distributed 1,500 information flyers at a Western University orientation day of service
- Hosted a monthly Members call to discuss upcoming projects/actions
One of the major focus areas for Climate Action London is to engage communities of faith in climate action. We are currently working with another university student to build out our contact list to reach more communities of faith in London.
With more talk lately about how the way we design our cities impacts our options for climate-friendly solutions, we are starting to talk about how we can engage in this issue. With the municipal election happening in less than a year, having conversations like this will hopefully become an important part of the election debates.
We have learned that people do want to take action, but we need to make it easy and convenient for them, and leveraging the contact lists of partnering organizations can multiply one’s reach. Even partnering with other activist groups like The Council of Canadians and the Canadian Environmental Network has helped to amplify our message.