You may recall the article I wrote a few weeks ago about COP26 and why it matters locally and globally.
COP26 is now over. Did they keep alive the goal of restricting global warming to 1.5 degrees?
The general consensus I see from climate change experts is that COP26 was another step in the right direction, but that it still leaves us far short of the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres himself has said that “we are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe.”
We need to turn around and knock on the door that leads to sustainable, healthy communities.
There’s a gap between the action we need and the action we’re getting from world leaders. This is a familiar gap, and it’s something we can overcome. Historically, these kinds of cultural and social changes come mostly from the grassroots, not from the top down.
There is an increasingly urgent need to educate, inspire, and empower action at the grassroots level — that’s you, your neighbours, your friends, your family. That’s where this change happens.
GreenUP needs you. In communities across Canada and around the world, grassroots and non-profit environmental organizations like GreenUP have our work cut out for us. With your help now, we can all give each other the action, hope, and change that are so urgently needed to create a sustainable future that leaves no one behind.
If you are a regular reader of GreenUP’s columns, you already know this decade is our last best chance to take climate action. In the face of sometimes overwhelming problems and the devastation of the climate emergency, we may despair and feel paralyzed by the tiny scope of our individual actions.
I’m reminded of something that climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe said in a recent interview with CBC’s The Current: “Hope comes from action rather than the opposite way around.”
“I study the difference that our choices make in the future and I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that our future is in our hands,” Hayhoe shared. “Every choice matters. Every year matters. Every bit of warming matters, and every action matters.”
AUDIO: Katharine Hayhoe on CBC’s The Current
You matter. That hope — that power to create change — comes from taking action together, in our homes and throughout our communities. With the support of donors, volunteers, and partners, GreenUP continues to empower those actions and create that hope across the greater Peterborough region.
There are two kinds of actions we need you to support now. First, we need to empower people to take the climate action that is within our grasp right now: low-hanging fruit we can seize to meet our target of reducing emissions by 45 per cent by 2030. Second, we also need to inspire the youth of today to become the climate leaders of tomorrow.
GreenUP is committed to inspiring and empowering these changes. Here’s how:
Our home energy and Green Economy Peterborough programs are ready to facilitate the climate action we need this decade. We know that over 36 per cent of emissions in the Peterborough region come from homes and buildings. This is the biggest piece of the puzzle to meet our 2030 emissions reductions targets.
We know that meeting these targets can also deliver additional benefits: increased home comfort, improved energy efficiency, and reduced business costs, to name a few. We need the capacity to reach the home and business owners who can make these changes.
GreenUP’s Neighbourhood programs are supporting active transportation and accessibility for all ages and abilities. We are helping to reduce transportation emissions and introduce climate change mitigation strategies.
GreenUP also continues to steward and create green spaces like Ecology Park and our Depave Paradise sites that demonstrate the benefits of green spaces and green infrastructure in our shared watershed.
Last, but certainly not least, GreenUP’s educational programs fill a critical gap for children and youth. Climate change is a multiplier of inequality. This is perhaps most evident for today’s youth. These generations will grow up with the consequences of votes they can’t make and buying power they can’t control.
In recent years, generous donors have helped us transform Ecology Park into an accessible, barrier-free educational space.
GreenUP’s educational programs align with curriculum needs while also focusing on action and leadership. It is essential for the wellness and survival of today’s youth that they are empowered and informed so that they can participate in solutions to climate change.
Climate change also disproportionately impacts those impacted by gender inequality. Girls and young women are increasingly likely to experience unequal access to health, education, participation, and protection.
With this in mind, GreenUP piloted a Girl’s Climate Leadership Program in the summer of 2020. This program gave a small cohort of girls the opportunity to learn about the impacts of climate change, develop strategies to support action in their lives, and learn from inspiring local climate leaders who identify as women.
VIDEO: 350 Climate Ride with Glen Caradus
This past summer, we more than doubled the capacity of the Girl’s Climate Leadership Program. Participants learned about food security, low-carbon building methods, water protection, active transportation, and ecosystem restoration.
We continue to grow our youth programming at Ecology Park and in schools, reaching more families and future leaders every year.
GreenUP does not do all this alone. We depend on the support of partners, volunteers, and especially donors.
How can you help? Your donation to GreenUP helps us invest in both the climate action we need today and also the climate leadership we need to build a better tomorrow.
Giving Tuesday is coming up on November 30th. This is a day celebrated across Canada as the beginning of the giving season. Please make a donation to GreenUP or become a monthly donor. GreenUP is a non-profit charity: your donations support our climate action projects.
For more information and to donate, visit greenup.on.ca/donate-to-greenup/.
The profits from sales at the GreenUP Store and Ecology Park Nursery also support our work. The Ecology Park Nursery is now closed for the season, but the GreenUP Store is well-stocked with green gifts and GreenUP gift certificates.
You can drop in to GreenUP Store at 378 Aylmer Street North in downtown Peterborough (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday) or shop online anytime at shop.greenup.on.ca.
This story has been published in partnership with Peterborough GreenUP.