Announcing Building Back Better

New Muskoka Region column from Climate Action Muskoka

Two views of a sustainably built home in Muskoka, with wood, earth plaster, LED lighting and "truth window." .

We’re proud to announce that a regular column entitled Building Back Better will soon be premiering in Muskoka Region. This series, organized by Climate Action Muskoka, envisions a just, climate-sensitive, post-pandemic recovery, with a focus on Muskoka; but also exploring broader topics like the need for a living wage, the benefits of growing our own food, the importance of ensuring that our buildings are built sustainably, and more. The contributors are supporters of Climate Action Muskoka.

The photos above accompany a column from Melinda Zytaruk and Matthew Adams about sustainable buildings. These images feature a local straw bale home and highlight the wood, earth plaster, LED lighting and, at the back of the image on the right, a “truth window” revealing the straw with which this home was built. [Photo credit: Riley Snelling.]

We’ll also be sharing these columns on our website and social media. Please keep an eye out for them. And note that we’ve taken care to include links to the resources the writers draw from, so you can continue to read up. Kudos to the writers who have already contributed and to the ad hoc editorial board at Climate Action Muskoka for their hard work. And also, hats off to Muskoka Region for supporting this important grassroots initiative. 👏

If you are interested in being a contributor, please contact us at climateactionmuskoka@gmail.com.

Climate Strikes Go Digital

Coronavirus Update — As of Februay 21, 2020, weekly climate strikes are continuing, from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm every Friday, but in order to stay safe and not risk spreading the Coronavirus we are sharing Greta’s advice:

Make it digital

Wherever you are, between 11:30 and 12:30 pm every Friday, post a picture of yourself with your climate strike sign on social. If you’re a member of the Climate Action Muskoka Facebook group you can post there, and/or on your own account wherever you are. Use the hashtags #digitalclimatestrike and #climateactionmuskoka. You can also tag us on Facebook or Instagram @climateactionmuskoka.

Stay home, stay healthy, everyone!

Climate Strikes Continue

Coronavirus Update

March 12, 2020 — Today the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Simcoe-Muskoka district. We hope everyone is being careful and staying safe. Greta has weighed in on the subject, sensible as ever.

After some discussion, we have decided to go ahead with the in-person climate strikes tomorrow. Climate strikes are happening from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm tomorrow, Friday March 13, at three Muskoka locations.

  • Huntsville at Town Hall, 37 Main St. E.
  • Gravenhurst at the Post Office at the corner of Muskoka Rd. N. and Bay
  • Bracebridge at Memorial Park

This is week 25 for Bracebridge, week eight for Gravenhurst and week six for Huntsville. Come out and say hello to new friends who want to talk climate action.

But please no handshaking; a wave, a thumbs-up or a curtsy will do just as well. 👋

And if you’re passing by, honk for climate action! We hope you can join us!

If you prefer to stay at home, you can still climate strike. Greta invites us all to participate in a #DigitalStrike, and to post a photo of you with your sign on social. Use the hashtag #ClimateStrikeOnline!

If you’re on Facebook or Instagram don’t forget to tag @climateactionmuskoka. We’re not on Twitter, but you can certainly hashtag us: #climateactionmuskoka.

[And if this all sounds like Klingon to you, no worries! You can text a photo of yourself climate striking to 705-645-5225 and we’ll post it for you! Or, you can just tell your friends and family! ♥️ ]

We hope to see you there!

Just in Case You’re Feeling Alone…

Climate strikes continue weekly on Fridays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm in Huntsville, Bracebridge and Gravenhurst. Friday March 6 will mark week 24 for Bracebridge, week seven for Gravenhurst and week five for Huntsville.

Muskoka is a just a small community, but remember that we are climate striking in solidarity with millions worldwide. Don’t believe it?

Here are the communities where weekly climate strikes are happening in our part of Ontario, from the FridaysforFuture.ca website. (These maps are current as of March 5, 2020)
…And here’s where weekly climate strikes are happening worldwide.

Never forget that YOU are part of an important global movement!

I don’t know about you, but I am proud that Climate Action Muskoka is a part of that.

Look up the map for yourself and see how many worldwide are calling for climate action. https://fridaysforfuture.ca/event-map/

#climatestrikebracebridge #climatestrikegravenhurst #climatestrikehuntsville #fridaysforfuture #muskoka

Good Grief Muskoka

Good Grief logo

Do you suffer from eco-anxiety? Drs. Alexis Nicole and Steve Stewart are facilitating a 10-week Good Grief Program in partnership with Sustain EcoStore starting March 24, 2020 in Huntsville.

Combat despair, deepen self-awareness and recognize our interconnectedness with each other and our environment. We will discuss a new theme each week – exploring how we can resource and energize both ourselves and our community.

We invite everyone grappling with the challenges of today’s climate crisis to join us as we build community and mobilize toward meaningful action. This is based on a similar program in different locations across the globe, but is the first of its kind in Muskoka. To enroll or if you have questions, email sdspsychology@protonmail.com. Do it soon. Space is limited.

Declaration of Climate Emergency Resolution

A group of Climate Action Muskoka members has developed the following declaration, to be presented to District of Muskoka council in April of 2020. We will be seeking endorsements in the community, from individuals, groups, businesses and NGOs in the coming weeks.


Declaration of Climate Emergency Resolution developed by members of Climate Action Muskoka — Linda Mathers, Melinda Zytaruk, Sue McKenzie, Len Ring

February 19, 2020

WHEREAS the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report ‘Global Warming of 1.5 °C’ states the urgency of keeping global heating below the 1.5C goal and
also acknowledges that the world is currently on track for more than 3ºC increase in temperature rise based on policies that are now in place; and

WHEREAS this current track of climate heating will lead to catastrophic social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts in our community and elsewhere and that the IPCC estimates less than 11 years to avoid the worst impacts of climate change; and

WHEREAS many municipalities across Ontario and Canada understand the major benefits of and the need to be at the forefront of action on climate change, with many having declared a climate emergency already; and

WHEREAS much of the financial damage associated with climate change will come from impacts to municipal core infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water, wastewater and storm water systems and from destruction of natural infrastructure; and

WHEREAS it is necessary not only to reduce carbon emissions, but also to increase community resiliency in the face of climate change, and that these approaches can offer multiple benefits
including improved health and air quality, increased innovation, economic development and reduced costs in the long run; and

WHEREAS many people in Muskoka have demonstrated a strong interest and commitment to address climate change and continue to make Muskoka a leader in environmental action and protection;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the District of Muskoka officially

  1. Declare a Climate Emergency immediately to name and deepen the District’s commitment to protecting our economy, our community, and our eco systems from the
    impacts of climate heating; and
  2. Develop a Climate Action Plan (CAP) to reduce corporate and community greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), which includes the identification of firm, ambitious targets with a
    goal of greater than 50% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030 and reaching zero GHG emissions by 2050; commit to becoming a drawdown/regenerative community, taking an active role in the repair and regeneration of our systems, including in the areas of the built environment, natural infrastructure, land use, transportation, energy, waste,
    health, and food security; and
  3. Support and participate in the establishment of a Community Working Group, which will provide input to the CAP and will assist in the regular review and updating of the CAP as the science evolves. The Community Working Group should be diverse and representative of the Muskoka community; be balanced according to gender, age, ethnic background, geography, economic status; learn from Indigenous knowledge and leadership; and include scientists and other key stakeholders.
  4. Collaborate with other municipal governments, institutions and industry associations to improve standards and protocols that can positively address climate adaptation and mitigation; and
  5. Seek and secure funding opportunities from both internal and external sources for 2020 and beyond to adequately finance climate actions necessary to meet 2030 and 2050 emission reduction targets; and
  6. Commit to putting climate action at the forefront of all decision-making, large and small, working to achieve community resiliency, equity, reconciliation, and leaving no one behind. Require all future reports to council to include a section titled Climate Change Implications that will identify how the recommendations will contribute to meeting the objectives of the CAP; and
  7. Work with other community stakeholders to educate the public at large about steps that can be taken by individuals and businesses to reduce GHGs; and
  8. Urge both Provincial and Federal governments and opposition parties to work rapidly to deliver the GHG emission reductions needed to keep global heating below the 1.5C goal to minimize the life-threatening impacts of climate change. Forward a copy of the resolution to the Premier of Ontario, the Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, and Parry Sound Muskoka representatives Hon. Norm Miller MPP, and Hon. Scott Aitchison MP.

Endorse Here

Click the links below to answer a few questions confirming your endorsement or your group’s endorsement. You will receive an email confirmation. Thank you.

Individual Endorsement | Group Endorsement

Questions? Email us at climateactionmuskoka@gmail.com. Thank you for your interest and support.

Climate Strike February 21, 2020

This is a reminder that we climate strike tomorrow, February 21, 2020.

Join us in Huntsville at Town Hall, 37 Main St. E., in Gravenhurst at the Post Office at the corner of Muskoka Rd. N. and Bay, and in Bracebridge at Memorial Park.

If you’re just passing by, honk for climate action. Or support us on social. We’re on Facebook and Instagram @climateactionmuskoka. #climateactionmuskoka #climatestrike #climatestrikehuntsville #climatestrikegravenhurst #climatestrikebracebridge.

Weekly Climate Strikes begin in Huntsville & Other News

Climate strikers in Huntsville, Autumn 2019

Exciting news! Weekly climate strikes are starting in Huntsville tomorrow! Friday February 7, from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm in front of Town Hall, 37 Main Street East.

Bring a sign if you can. If not, we can find you one. Come out and meet new friends and talk climate action. #climatestrikehuntsville.

If you’re not free this Friday, we will be there every Friday from now on, same time, same location!


Weekly Gravenhurst and Bracebridge Climate Strikes Continue

Also, congrats to the Bracebridge team, which is coming up on its 21st weekly climate strike since September 21! Find us at Memorial Park every Friday from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm as well. #climatestrikebracebridge

And to the folks in Gravenhurst: this will be their third week. (Heck, let’s start keeping track!) They gather in front of the Post Office at Muskoka Rd. N. Everyone is invited. #climatestrikegravenhurst

Climate strikers in Bracebridge, January 2020

Pop Up Climate Strikes

Minimize your driving! How about organizing a climate strike right in your neighbourhood! It only takes two people, some signage and an hour a week to raise awareness of the urgent need for climate action. #HonkForClimateAction #FridaysForFuture.

Climate strikers! We invite you to take a picture of your #MuskokaClimateStrike and send it along to us, or post it on the @ClimateActionMuskoka Facebook or Instagram page. We’d love to see #climatestrikebala #climatestrikehoneyharbour or heck, #climatestrikemcnabbstreet!

Whereever you are, we hope you can join us!


CAM Sub-Committees Making Progress

Our group’s ad-hoc steering committee held a very fruitful meeting on Sunday February 2nd in which members of our new sub-committees worked on their roles and objectives. We encourage everyone who is interested in getting involved in a sub-committee, or in sharing ideas and resources, to contact us at climateactionmuskoka@gmail.com.

A group of climate activists sitting in a circle in an office.

Sub-Committees are: Communications | Presenting to Council | Endorsements | Transportation | Waste | Food | Built Infrastructure | Water. Read our blog about it.


Recommended Read of the Week

Picture of Celine MacKay shopping at the Muskoka North Good Food Co-op.

Our Top Eco Actions of 2020. This is an inspiring line-up of positive steps we can all take, both in our individual actions and in our thinking. Bonus list of recommended reads at the end. There’s a heck of a lot in here. Kudos to Celine MacKay and Sustain Eco Store in Huntsville and Peterborough for pulling this important blog together!


Remember: We Climate Strike Every Friday

Rome wasn’t built in a day. We climate strike in Gravenhurst at the Post office at Muskoka Rd. N. and Bay, and in Bracebridge at Memorial Park and now Huntsville at Town Hall every Friday from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Come when you can. #fridaysforfuture #climatestrike

About Climate Action Muskoka

Climate Action Muskoka is an inclusive, non-partisan group concerned about climate change in Muskoka who believe in working together and supporting one another to inspire individuals, groups, and every level of government to make the dramatic changes needed to meet this historic challenge.

You can find us online at www.climateactionmuskoka.org. We have a landing page and a few news items. More to come.

Facebook = Climate Action Muskoka | Instagram @climateactionmuskoka
climateactionmuskoka@gmail.com and hello@climateactionmuskoka.org.
Please follow the group and use the #climateactionmuskoka hashtag.


Inspirational Quote of the Week

“You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.” ~ Zig Ziglar

Making Progress

Our ad-hoc steering committee held its third meeting on Sunday February 2nd. It’s great to hear the ideas and progress that each sub-committee is making in determining its roles and objectives.

The committee list is below. Absent members are not named. Please contact us if you would like to help out with a sub-committee or share your thoughts, ideas and resources. Email climateactionmuskoka@gmail.com, with the name of the sub-committee in the subject line.

Group of about 20 people sitting in circle.
We’re all ears!

Communications: Bet, Sheryl, Tamsen and Steve
Presenting to Counci and Endorsements: Sue, Len, Diana and Linda
Transportation: Arleigh, Robin and Gord
Waste, Food and Agriculture: Amy, Celine, Christine, Lesley, Susan and Trisha

Built Infrastructure is headed up by Melinda, who was unable to attend.

Water is headed up by Erin, also absent.

We look forward to telling you more soon.

Update – January 30, 2020

Weekly Climate Strike Tomorrow — in Gravenhurst and Bracebridge

This is a reminder that weekly climate strikes are happening in Gravenhurst at the Post Officeat the corner of Muskoka Rd. N. and Bay, and in Bracebridge at Memorial Park. We hope you can join us!

Bring a sign if you can. If not, we can find you one. Come out and meet new friends who want to talk climate action. Bring a friend or family member.

And if you’re passing by, honk for climate action!


Congratulations Sue, Len, Nancy and the rest of the crew in Gravenhurst on a successful first week! Here is our webpage with media coverage about CAM’s various activities. If you see a news story about CAM, please let us know and we’ll add it to the page.

Climate strikers Judy and David in front of Climate Action Muskoka banner in Bracebridge.

Recommended Read of the Week

Image of article: The Power of Living Soil: picture of a slice of bread. Read the article and you'll know why.

Our own Bet Smith has written a wonderfully engaging and informative article about Regenerative gardening called The Power of Living Soil. If you ever even thought about gardening, this read will be a real treat. Thanks Bet!


Seeking A Recycling Enthusiast

Do you know someone who is very into recycling? I mean, knowledgeable enough, and into it enough to shout it from the rooftop? I’m looking for a lively inteviewee for Muskoka Drawdown, a new radio show on Hunters Bay Radio. Please contact me to discuss. tamsentillson@gmail.com. Thanks!


Inspirational Quote of the Week

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” ― Andy Warhol