How November 29 Climate Strike in Muskoka Went

Thank you to everyone who was able to come out to the Global—Muskoka—Climate Strike on Friday November 29 at Memorial Park in Bracebridge. Very moving speeches and music, including from 12-yo-activist Cailan Punnewaert, Aaron Rusak of the Muskoka Conservancy, BMLSS student organizer Kelsey Smith, plus an incredible original song by Bet Smith. Thank you to Tom Cowan for hosting and providing the inspiring playlist. (Lots of Spirit of the West…RIP John Mann!)

We were so pleased that Bracebridge Town Councillor Andrew Struthers was able to attend and tell us a bit about some of the great things Muskoka Watershed Council has been doing to prepare for, adapt to and to fight climate change. We’re looking forward to speaking further and supporting that good work.

Regarding numbers: my count was between 60 and 70, though fewer did the actual march down and up Manitoba. More than that passed through and offered their support though, as the 109 additional signatures added to the provincial petition and 99 signatures on the federal petition indicates. (Climate Action Parry Sound, we’ll get those back to you.)

We are back to our regular climate strike routine, every Friday from 11:30 to 12:30 with one IMPORTANT CHANGE. Please note that we’re now meeting at MEMORIAL PARK in Bracebridge. See you tomorrow!

Citizens Discuss Climate with Newly-Elected MP Scott Aitchison

Citizens concerned about the urgent need for action on the climate crisis presented a petition to newly-elected Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Scott Aitchison on Tuesday, November 26.

The petition, signed by over 500 Parry Sound-Muskoka constituents, calls for him to work with other parties to begin an immediate transition off fossil fuels with well-paid jobs and leaving no one behind. It calls for a Green New Deal, which basically means decarbonization of the economy. The petition was originally directed to all the federal candidates in Parry Sound-Muskoka.

The group had a very productive conversation with Aitchison about climate action and ways that the federal level of government can collaborate and support municipalities in the transition off fossil fuels. Aitchison expressed his interest in climate action and the need to strengthen federal action on this front.

Len Ring of Gravenhurst expressed his concern that all levels of government did not seem to grasp the urgency of the need for action, citing examples of fires in Australia and California, floods in Europe and the huge one-day loss (11 billion tons) of Greenland ice in August.

“We need to hold the temperature rise to 1.5C as stated by the UN’s IPCC report,” said Ring, “rather than our current trajectory of 3.2C.”

“With each new release of information from the UN, the situation becomes more dire and governments are not taking any kind of action that will meet this catastrophe,” said Janet Libke of Bala. “As a grandmother, I find this particularly disturbing and anxiety

Sue McKenzie of Gravenhurst discussed the need for long-term funding support for municipalities to help decarbonize local infrastructure, as well as legislation requiring that all spending fits with a low-carbon future. She suggested the need for larger federal subsidies for E-vehicles and support for recharging infrastructure.

Judy Lewis of Huntsville wanted to see increased support for tree-planting programs.

Climate Action Muskoka founder Tamsen Tillson encouraged Aitchison to support and collaborate with the local group and offered the group’s support for anything he wants to do to help the climate.

For further information and to get involved in Climate Action Muskoka, find us on Facebook or our website: or email us at:

Climate Strike in Muskoka on November 29

November 20, 2019 — Climate Action Muskoka is calling on all Muskoka citizens to come together at a Global Climate Strike rally and march on Friday, November 29, 2019, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at Memorial Park in Bracebridge. 

It’s part of Global Strike 4 Future, in which millions of demonstrators worldwide will be calling on individuals and all levels of government to work together to take urgent action to tackle the defining issue of our time—climate change.

Grassroots momentum to combat climate change has grown in recent months, led by young Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg.

“Kids used to worry about what they were going to be when they grew up,” says 12-year-old local climate activist, Cailan Punnewaert. “Now the worry is ‘Will we have a world to grow up in?’”

BMLSS student Kelsey Smith, one of the organizers of the school-wide walkout in September, is encouraging her classmates to “make a day of it” and participate in the November 29 strike. November 29 is a Board Holiday.

“I do feel like everyone should come out and support this cause,” says Smith, “We are a small town, but every town and every idea can make a change.”

“We have to do much more, and we have to do it faster,” says Tamsen Tillson of Climate Action Muskoka. “Individuals, business owners and every level of government have to join this fight.”

Similar marches are happening in Parry Sound, and the Bracebridge rally is being supported by other groups for whom climate activism is front and centre such as Muskoka Power of Many. Those unable to attend the Bracebridge demonstration in person are encouraged to put up signs on their homes or their places of work and to gather in their neighbourhoods to spread awareness of the need for urgent action.

Canada, whose per-capita emissions are more than double the average of the G20 nations, is not on track to meet its own Paris Accord targets, targets which many scientists say are too weak. Earlier this month 11,000 scientists declared a climate emergency.

A group of concerned residents has been participating in weekly climate strikes in Bracebridge since September 27, when they came out to join the students of BMLSS.

For more information: email Climate Action Muskoka at, or find Climate Action Muskoka on Facebook.