DISTRICT PASSES – A NEW LEAF: MUSKOKA’S CLIMATE STRATEGY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MUSKOKA – On Monday, December 21, the darkest day of 2020, Muskoka District Council brought light, hope, and the best Christmas present ever to the people of Muskoka, unanimously passing A New Leaf: Muskoka’s Climate Strategy to address the Climate Crisis, with a goal of ensuring a safe, just and healthy future.

District Council unanimously passing A New Leaf: Muskoka’s Climate Strategy

“This strategy names the Climate Crisis as an emergency, requiring immediate action,” said Climate Action Muskoka (CAM) spokesperson, Melinda Zytaruk, in support of the proposal. “It brings strong policy leadership and firm targets which put climate action at the fore-front of all decision-making.”

She stated that A New Leaf also provides for strong partnership between the community and the District, and praised the work of Kevin Boyle, Climate Initiatives Coordinator and his team.

Zytaruk urged the District to make immediate policy changes in 2021 requiring decarbonization of all new builds in Muskoka and retro-fitting of existing buildings, conversion of the District fleet to electric with provision of District-wide charging infrastructure, and finally promotion of low-carbon leisure activities through the development of active infrastructure for walking, biking, hiking, canoeing, snowshoeing etc.

“Listening to the recent delegations from CAM has prompted us to consider the opportunity to bring forward a more comprehensive, collaborative strategy for your consideration,” Christy Doyle, Director of Environmental & Watershed Programs, told Council. She pointed out that doing anything meaningful requires an all-hands-on-deck approach.

A New Leaf, includes the District government’s plan to reduce its own carbon footprint, the MCCAP. It also embraces as a guiding framework the strong Climate Emergency resolution brought to the Council by CAM:  a greater than 50% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030, reaching zero by 2050, development of a Community Climate Action Plan (CAP), with input from a diverse, representative Community Working Group, which will regularly review and update the CAP.

Councillor Nancy Alcock, urged all councillors to sign up individually on the CAM website to take the 50% by 2030 Community Carbon Challenge to demonstrate leadership on climate to their constituents.

The District now joins countries, municipalities, businesses and individual citizens around the world in raising its ambition to address the Climate Crisis ahead of the 2021 COP26 international climate conference. Some countries have revised their decarbonization goals upwards, noting that 50% by 2030 is now considered insufficient to keep the heating below the 1.5C degrees over pre-industrial levels.

[See a PDF of the presentation to council here and the report to committee which includes a copy of A New Leaf: Muskoka’s Climate Strategy here.]

CAM is an inclusive, non-partisan group of citizens concerned about climate change in Muskoka.

climateactionmuskoka.org  climateactionmuskoka@gmail.com

Climate Emergency resolution is on its way back to Muskoka District Council

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MUSKOKA – Climate Action Muskoka’s (CAM) ambitious Climate Emergency resolution is on its way back to Muskoka District Council as part of the District’s A New Leaf: Muskoka’s Climate Strategy after the report received unanimous support from the District Community and Planning Services committee (CPSC) at its meeting Thursday.

“This is a bold climate framework for Muskoka with timelines, goals and broad community input. It acknowledges the important role both the District of Muskoka and the community must play together to address the mounting climate crisis,” said Sue McKenzie, co-founder of CAM after the meeting. 

The report, developed by Kevin Boyle, the District’s Climate Change Initiatives Co-ordinator, Christy Doyle, Director of Environmental and Watershed Programs, and the MCCAP Steering committee includes the detailed Muskoka Corporate Climate Action Plan (MCCAP).

Committee chair, councillor Nancy Alcock, suggested that staff needs to hold Council’s feet to the fire to ensure the strategy is implemented.

“This isn’t us holding Council’s feet to the fire,” responded Boyle. “This is everybody holding everybody’s feet to the fire. This is a co-ordinated effort that crosses all departments in the District. This is Council holding staff’s feet to the fire, community groups holding staff and Council’s feet to the fire. It’s the Watershed Council and Climate Action Muskoka. It’s a unified approach that means we move these actions forward.”

Councillors expressed enthusiasm about the possibility of taking the climate strategy back to their area municipal councils.

“!’m so amazed to see how quickly this morphed from a plan into a strategy,” said councillor Mike Peppard. “I very much look forward to seeing how this can go to the area municipalities and how we can work with this plan instead of reinventing the wheel.”

A New Leaf: Muskoka’s Climate Strategy will come before Muskoka District Council on Monday, December 21 for a final vote.

CAM invites citizens, groups and businesses to join its community-wide project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030.  Sign up to take the 50% by 2030 Community Carbon Challenge. https://www.climateactionmuskoka.org/

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

Sue McKenzie for CAM

Watered Down Climate Emergency Declaration Passed By District — CAM Expresses Disappointment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MUSKOKA – On Monday October 19, 2020, the District Council of Muskoka unanimously passed a watered-down Climate Emergency Declaration.  The resolution passed was not the same resolution put forward by Climate Action Muskoka (CAM).

Although Melinda Zytaruk made an extensive presentation to Council on behalf of CAM, the resolution finally voted on was a weakened, rewritten motion put up to replace the stronger CAM resolution, despite the fact that many councillors had previously declared they were unwilling to pass a resolution that was meaningless.

“It constitutes a mere token declaration with no ‘teeth’, no goals, no community input, no plan, in short, nothing to hold the District of Muskoka to addressing the mounting climate crisis,” said Sue McKenzie, co-founder of CAM after the meeting.  

“Declaring there is a climate emergency with no commitments attached is like saying the earth is round or photosynthesis happens,” Zytaruk added.

The motion to pass the CAM Resolution received strong support from a number of councillors. Mover of the motion Councillor Peppard spoke of the need to have firm targets and seconder Councillor Alcock urged the council to see the merit in viewing all decision-making through a climate lens. Councillor Glover said he intended to take a similar resolution to Lake of Bays Council.

“I think it’s extremely important that we recognize that the climate situation actually IS an emergency because of the scale of challenge in front of us,” said Councillor Koetzier. He spoke ardently of the need to take real action now pointing out that the Township of Georgian Bay declared a climate emergency early in 2020.

Others applauded the collaborative work done by CAM with District staff, the Muskoka Watershed Council and councillors to develop the resolution. Chair John Klink recognized the work done to achieve widespread community endorsement.

McKenzie pointed out that the CAM resolution was shelved along with its action items:  to develop a Community Action Plan (CAP); to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030, reaching zero by 2050; to support a diverse Community Working Group to provide input and review to the CAP; to collaborate with other parties to develop standards and protocols in line with climate mitigation.

“The bottom line is that the councillors who did NOT support a Climate Emergency resolution with real goals and actions built in, procedurally out-manouevred those councillors who wanted to see the District take real action,” according to McKenzie.

“Of course, our CAM members are profoundly disappointed after working collaboratively for a year to bring a strong resolution to Council,” McKenzie declared. “The District has missed this opportunity to move forward with the community and has placed the responsibility for developing their corporate and community Climate Action plans back in the hands of their staff.  It is our hope the staff will include the substantial action items we have been discussing with them.”

CAM will continue working with and in the community to educate and encourage citizens, businesses and groups to take up the challenge of addressing the climate crisis and the need to take urgent action.

Last week CAM launched it new project 50% by 2030 Community Carbon Challenge where individuals and households can pledge to reduce their carbon footprint 8% a year to reach the goal of a 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. https://www.climateactionmuskoka.org/

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

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Sue McKenzie for CAM

Community Carbon Challenge — Media Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2020

Community-Carbon-Challenge-Logo

MUSKOKA – Climate Action Muskoka (CAM) is launching its 50% by 2030 Community Carbon Challenge today (Saturday, October 10, 2020). Individuals, families, businesses, organizations and schools can take the pledge and develop an action plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 8% a year until the year 2030. The challenge can be taken up by seasonal and year-round residents alike.

“We must act where we can have direct influence, in our own community,” says CAM member Linda Mathers.  “COVID has taught us that collective behaviour matters, that we need to take the science seriously and that we need to act now.”

50% by 2030 is the goal CAM is asking the District of Muskoka to assume in a Climate Emergency resolution to be brought before the full District Council on Monday, October 19.

You can sign up on the climateactionmuskoka.org website.  There you will find a user-friendly carbon calculator which has been specifically designed for this area by Climate Change & Energy Specialist Ben John of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve (GBBR).

The calculator will assess your building, transportation and solid waste emissions and compare your totals with others in Ontario and Canada. Redoing the tracker annually will allow you to measure your success with reducing emissions.

An added bonus is that your anonymous data will be added to the community GHG inventory currently being conducted by the District of Muskoka, under the guidance of Kevin Boyle, the Climate Change Initiatives Co-ordinator.

If you prefer not to do the calculator right now, you can jump straight to the sections offering practical ideas for you to implement.

“We believe community engagement is vital to solving the climate crisis,” says Mathers. “We also believe that it is better to take ‘imperfect action rather than perfect inaction’!”

On the website you can also add to the list of things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint.  New strategies will be added regularly as we grow our commitment to changing our behaviours in carbon reducing ways.

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

CAM believes ‘it takes a village’ and in this spirit we invite you to join us in the 50% by 2030 Community Carbon Challenge. Visit our website climateactionmuskoka.org and take up the challenge. For more information write to climateactionmuskoka@gmail.com.

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Sue McKenzie for Climate Action Muskoka 647 884-1531

South Muskoka CAM Media contacts:  Sue McKenzie 647 884-1531 lensue@hotmail.com                                                                                         Linda Mathers 705 765-5772 mathers@muskoka.com

Huntsville CAM Media Contact:  Lesley Hastie 705 789-7143   hastielesley@gmail.com

Climate Emergency – Media Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2020

MUSKOKA – Climate Action Muskoka (CAM) will be presenting its Climate Emergency Declaration resolution to Muskoka District Council Monday, October 19 at 3 pm. CAM member Melinda Zytaruk will delegate digitally on behalf of CAM to the Council, after which a vote to declare a Climate Emergency will take place.

“The community first called for the District to declare a Climate Emergency last September during the Global Climate strike” says Sue McKenzie. “This declaration is vital to setting Muskoka on a speedy decarbonization of our community to help keep global heating to 1.5C.”

Endorsements of the resolution have come in from community leaders, businesses, groups and individuals. CAM invites everyone to visit its website this week to view the list of endorsements and to add your name, business or group here: https://www.climateactionmuskoka.org/endorsements-declaration-of-climate-emergency/

CAM is also launching its 50% by 2030 Community Carbon Challenge this weekend inviting the Muskoka community to match the same reduction of greenhouse gas goals being asked of the District of Muskoka. You can read about that and join the challenge on the website climateactionmuskoka.org.

CAM is an inclusive, non-partisan group of citizens concerned about climate change in Muskoka.

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Sue McKenzie for Climate Action Muskoka

647 884-1531

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.