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.

-30-

Sue McKenzie for CAM

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.

-30-

Sue McKenzie for Climate Action Muskoka

647 884-1531

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.

-30-

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

Live interviews with CAM members

You won’t want to miss these three interviews as our neighbors in Haliburton reach out to hear about Climate Action in Muskoka and the Ontario Green Party leader reaches out to our own resident expert to learn more about building green. Great job Sue, Linda, Tamsen and Melinda.


No Planet “B” Webinar – September 25, 202o – on you tube
hosted by Environment Haliburton!
Panelists: Muskoka Watershed Council member Peter Sale, CAM member Sue McKenzie, and Terry Moore discuss the climate crisis and activism in Muskoka


PLANET HALIBURTON – EPISODE 74 – SEP 25, 2020
BY: TERRY MOORE | CANOE FM
“On this PH episode we explore local climate change planning activism with two representatives of Climate Action Muskoka (CAM), Linda Mathers and Tamsen Tillson


Build Back Greener: Live with Mike – Sept 24, 2020 – on you tube
Melinda Zytaruk, CAM member and community power expert, chats with Mike Schreiner about how we can #BuildBackGreener and create new opportunities for women in trades.


Muskoka Drawdown: The Podcast

Episode 6 – Soil Permaculture – Sept 5, 2020 – now available

Airing once a month on the local community radio station Hunters Bay Radio, Muskoka Drawdown is a radio show and podcast about climate change solutions here at home in Muskoka. Hosted by Tamsen Tillson, Bracebridge resident and one of the founders of Climate Action Muskoka. You can listen to all 6 episodes here.

About the Show

We follow the framework of Project Drawdown, an international team of research gurus that reviews, analyses, and ranks 100 of the most viable climate solutions worldwide. Drawdown isn’t about stopping global warming. It’s about reversing it. Through innovations in energy, food, land use, and more.

Image of the cover of the book Drawdown over blue sky with clouds
The website and/or book is a must-read if you want to know more about climate solutions. Look for it at your public library.

You’re probably saying, it’s all very well to talk about what can be done in China, Africa, Europe, and what-not; but what about us, here in Muskoka? The fact is that many of these solutions are happening, right now, right here, in our own back yards. We talk to the innovators who are taking the lead. So you can jump in.

Invitation: 50 Ways to Flatten the Climate Curve and Make Life Sustainable

Submit your exhibit ideas for the Muskoka Discovery Centre | Deadline July 8

Climate Action Muskoka supporters, let’s put our creative talents to work.

We have been invited to brainstorm ideas for compelling, provocative, hands-on exhibits that will educate visitors to the Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centre in Gravenhurst by challenging visitors’ understanding of the threats of climate change and motivate them to participate in sustainable and regenerative actions.

The criteria for exhibit ideas includes:

  • Provocative, challenging the status quo, and envisioning a sustainable and regenerative future
  • Hands-on, interactive, engaging any or all age groups
  • Visitors leave challenged to make personal changes in their behaviour.
  • Visitors leave determined to demand and support climate action at all levels.

Professional designers will develop the exhibits. We have been asked to generate the ideas. The theme is structured around 50 Ways to Flatten the Climate Curve and Make Life Sustainable.

Some exhibit ideas already suggested:

  • Building and retrofitting for the future Choose from a selection of building materials to build your house and get an embodied carbon emission score for each material chosen.
  • Intersectionality and Climate Solutions A large sustainability web, like a spider’s web, displaying connections between social, environmental, economic, low carbon and infrastructure sustainability pieces. Remove or weaken one piece and see how it affects the others.
  • Pick a path to your holiday destination in Muskoka. What would it look like? Compare emissions from a current weekend in Muskoka to a new alternative with train/public transit, shuttle, non-motorized recreation such as canoeing, biking, hiking, skiing.
  • Climate Tipping Points: Where are we now? Large global map with push buttons to light up information on regions (Greenland, Antarctic, Arctic Amazon Rainforests etc.) Links to how this impacts Muskoka.

Make a difference by contributing your ideas.Please send your submission by July 8th, 2020. Email climateactionmuskoka@gmail.com. Please put ‘Discovery Centre Submission’ in the subject line.

This is an incredible opportunity to impact climate change behaviours in our community and beyond in transformative ways.

We are grateful to the Muskoka Discovery Centre and Rick Zytaruk for the invitation to collaborate on this important issue.

This is the moment, Muskoka: Building Back Better—a new column from Climate Action Muskoka

Read the latest column – Sept 24, 2020
A car-less dream for all of Muskoka. By Gordon Laxer – Here

Picture of Darwen Thompson holding sign - Building Back Better column in Muskoka Region

We’re proud to announce that the first Building Back Better column launched today in the Muskoka Region online. Thanks to author and Climate Action Muskoka leader Sue McKenzie for kicking this off. This series of columns submitted by CAM supporters envisions a just, climate-sensitive, post-pandemic recovery. Look for it in Muskoka Region online every Thursday.  👏 Read the full column HERE. If you are interested in being a contributor, please contact us at climateactionmuskoka@gmail.com.


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!