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, 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.

Invitation to Participate in Climate Action Muskoka

For Immediate Release
January 20, 2020

MUSKOKA — The group Climate Action Muskoka (CAM) is inviting everyone in Muskoka concerned about climate change to get involved.

Inspired by student climate demonstrators in Muskoka and worldwide this past September, CAM is an inclusive, non-partisan group of Muskoka-based citizens with a shared commitment to working together to face the climate crisis.

The group’s broad mandate is to provide community support and work with municipalities to build a more resilient community as Muskoka transitions to a post-carbon future. The group will hold its 18th weekly climate strike in Bracebridge this Friday to raise awareness of the urgency of the issue.

Earlier this month an informal steering committee of about 24 CAM participants held its second meeting to get more specific about what urgent climate action in Muskoka might look like.

Attendees at our January 12 meeting.
Attendees at our January meeting.

“The scope of this crisis can feel overwhelming, and it’s so easy to just tune it out or to worry in isolation,” said Sue McKenzie of Gravenhurst. “But having been at these climate strikes, and seeing the expertise and the momentum in the room at our meetings, it’s clear to me that there’s a whole lot we can do. It’s truly heartening.”

The group plans to approach the District of Muskoka and its six Towns and Townships to support the push for a Climate Emergency declaration. More than a symbolic gesture, a Climate Emergency declaration is a formal acknowledgement of the seriousness of the climate crisis. It includes a commitment by the community to invest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to prioritize community resiliency while doing so. As of October, more than 460 municipal, provincial, and territorial governments across Canada have declared a Climate Emergency.

The group has agreed to form sub-committees to set additional goals and plan actions in the following areas:

  • Waste
  • Transportation
  • Food Security
  • Building
  • Water
  • Communications
  • Developing presentations to area councils
  • Gathering community endorsements for the Climate Emergency declaration

If you are interested in working with the group in one or more of these areas or just want further information, please email us at: State in the subject line which
committee you are interested in.

CAM’s regular Fridays For Future climate strikes continue at Bracebridge Memorial Park from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm on Fridays. The group is expanding the weekly strikes to Gravenhurst starting this Friday, January 24th at the Post Office from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Other Muskoka communities are to follow.

Visit us online at We’re also on Facebook and Instagram @climateactionmuskoka.


Sue McKenzie | | 647-884-1531
Tamsen Tillson | | 705-645-5225

Weekly Climate Strikes begin in Gravenhurst

Let’s do this! In addition to Bracebridge, we’re going to start weekly climate strikes in Gravenhurst, starting this Friday! #climatestrike #gravenhurst #climateactionmuskoka

Climate Action Muskoka is expanding its weekly Fridays For Future Climate Strikes (#FFF) to Gravenhurst starting this Friday, Jan 24th, 2020, from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Post Office, located at the intersection of Muskoka Rd. N. and Bay Street.

Bring a sign if you can. If not, we can find you one. Come out and meet new friends who are as concerned as you! Bring a friend or family member! Sue and Len will be there every Friday from now on, same time, same location! If you want further info, please contact her directly. If you don’t have her email, reach her through us at

Please carpool if you can.

And if you’d like to start up another weekly climate strike in Muskoka, you can coordinate through us.

#actnow #strongertogether

Christmas Holiday Climate Strike

If you are one of the many concerned about climate change who have been unable to climate strike because of work, the Christmas holidays are a prime opportunity to join us.

Hi everyone, we hope you had a wonderful Christmas. This is a reminder that we are indeed climate striking today: 11:30am to 12:30pm at Memorial Park in Bracebridge.

Off work for the Christmas holiday? Come on out!

If you are one of the many concerned about climate change who have been unable to climate strike because of work, the Christmas holidays are a prime opportunity to join us.

Come and get your family engaged in climate action, or, take some thoughtful time away from the holiday craziness to meet with some like-minded people.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. We climate strike at Memorial Park in Bracebridge every Friday from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm; and that includes next Friday, January 3rd. Bring your signs. Bring your family and friends. We hope to see you there!

Recommended Read of the Week

The False Promise of Green Housing: One designer is challenging the conventional wisdom about environmentally friendly construction. ~ By Viviane Fairbank. From The Walrus, November 2019.

This is a paradigm-shifter on the building industry and features the work and insights of Chris Magwood , who recently presented at Muskoka Watershed Council; and Melinda Zytaruk of Fourth Pig Worker Co-op , (Local! Part of this group!)

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu

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.