Environment Views: East Toronto groups doing their part to fight climate change

Local students take part in a Fridays for Future climate change march along Main Street last year.

By KATIE FULLERTON

I feel it and I bet you feel it too. Things have changed ,and the tipping point in relation to the climate crisis is poking us all to do more to support our planet.

There have been some positive moves from formidable advocates such as Greta Thunberg and the students participating in the Fridays for Future, but there have also been devastating events such as the Australian Bush Fires.

Right now many residents are feeling anxious ,frustrated and angry at the slow progress of the changes needed to reverse the devastation.

There is belief that too many political parties and major companies are simply doing window dressing rather than tackling the causes of climate change.

As a result many residents are looking for new ways to collaborate and coordinate on approaches, issues and projects that will make a difference. Some who are not sure what to do are asking for help in doing their part.

There are some great community groups in the East End who are doing what they can to work on the climate crisis. From setting up supportive and collaborative meetings, to doing sustainability initiatives, to enhancing biodiversity, to awareness building – these groups are all doing their part to create change.

Over the next while I will be highlighting what each of these various groups are doing. And remember, that each of these groups welcomes new members.

For this first report I am looking at two groups that started up this past fall – the Toronto East End Climate Collective and the Climate Crisis Coffee Klatch.

Toronto East End Climate Collective (TEECC)

The Toronto East End Climate Collective is a group of like minded East End residents who are concerned about the climate crisis and meet weekly.

The goal of these weekly meetings is as per Michael Polanyi, a leading resident member, “to provide a supportive space for East End residents to connect, share, learn and plan action to address the climate crisis…”

These Friday meetings were started in September by Beaches-East York MPP Rima Burns McGown who was inspired by the Fridays For Future student movement and invited neighbourhood residents to join her for Friday night sharing sessions.

Through the support of Michael and Susanne Maziarz, the Music Director for the Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation, these gatherings have continued on Friday nights on an ongoing basis. There are more than 165 Facebook members and attendance weekly varies with around 25 to 40 people per session.

Polanyi, who works with the Toronto Environmental Alliance, outlined the issues of discussion and work for the group. These include “a just transition to zero-carbon, solidarity with Indigenous people, ending fossil fuel subsidies and the construction of new pipelines, reducing single use plastics, improved public transit, low emission buildings, affordable housing” and more.

Information and learning is expanded through speakers. Recently, Toronto-Danforth MP Julie Dabrusin and Adrianna Couto, of Beaches Reduces, attended the sessions.

There are also workshops such as the upcoming Awakening the Dreamer symposium on Feb 2. For more info on this symposium, please visit .https://www.facebook.com/events/233891920936576/

Meetings are Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Neighbourhood Unitarian Church, 79 Hiawatha Rd. There is always hearty vegan soup to share.

For more information please go to the Toronto East End Climate Collective Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/groups/2410073949260321/

Climate Crisis Coffee Klatch

Many of the members of TEECC are involved in additional groups and projects in the area. One of those members is Katya Nosko, who runs the Climate Crisis Coffee Klatch.

Katya, a long time environmentalist, has found herself struggling to keep positive especially with the ongoing onslaught of devastating environmental news around the world – from destructive weather events to the loss of habitat and species. Katya recognized that while many such as herself are actively working on solutions,they are at the same time grieving the losses and worrying about the future.

In order to provide support and build resilience for those experiencing feelings of concern and futility, Katya started the Climate Crisis Coffee Klatches in November.

These get togethers provide a safe place to “share ideas, exchange feelings of loss, and to booster resilience and a feeling of purpose.”

There are, for example, parents in the group who are looking for ways to be good stewards and advocates for the climate crisis while trying not to scare their children.

The meetings are the third Wednesday of every month. Topics depend on input from attendees.

For more information on the Coffee Klatches, please contact Katya at greatescape.bookstore@gmail.com

Also, please note the City of Toronto Community Climate Action Website deadline date of Feb. 5. The City of Toronto is encouraging residents to be more involved in community-based climate action – and is creating a climate action website.

This will include an interactive map and searchable list of local green groups. If you would like to be included please fill in the form at https://s.cotsurvey.chkmkt.com/?e=186300&h=8C002404D1687B8&l=en

In future articles I will be reporting on green groups and projects across the East End.

These include groups such as the Green Neighbours Network, GNN Ward 24, Treemobile, Beaches and Kingston Road Reduces, Guildwood Pollinators and many more.

Please send me an email if you would like to be included. I can be reached at k_fullerton@sympatico.ca


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