‘Green wishes’ for 2022 from Peterborough’s environmental and social justice leaders

The second of a three-part series from GreenUP where local visionaries share their environmental hopes for the new year

For Our Grandchildren board member Scott McKinlay photographed this barred owl through his living room window. McKinlay's "green wish" for 2022 is that we continue to find, preserve, and nurture opportunities to reconnect with our natural roots. (Photo: Scott McKinlay)
For Our Grandchildren board member Scott McKinlay photographed this barred owl through his living room window. McKinlay's "green wish" for 2022 is that we continue to find, preserve, and nurture opportunities to reconnect with our natural roots. (Photo: Scott McKinlay)

If you could grant the Peterborough region a special gift for 2022, what would it be? This is part two of our three-part holiday column series featuring the responses of local leaders to the question, “What is your green wish for our community for 2022?”

Last week, we featured the wishes of local politicians and business leaders. This week, as 2021 comes to an end, we are excited to ring in the New Year with our next set of green wishes from local environmental and social justice leaders.

We would love to hear from you too! Please share your green wish for 2022 with us on social media @PtboGreenUP or or by visiting greenup.on.ca/green-wish.

Happy holidays from the team at GreenUP!

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Tegan Moss, Executive Director at GreenUP

GreenUP executive director Tegan Moss connecting with nature in her garden. (Photo courtesy of Tegan Moss)
GreenUP executive director Tegan Moss connecting with nature in her garden. (Photo courtesy of Tegan Moss)

I often experience feelings of connection and contentment when I am outside. Be it a brief moment on my ride to work or after hours spent with a shovel in my garden, something will capture my attention and call me into the present moment.

An earthworm reminds me that the soil is living. A sunbeam strikes a leaf that is breathing in CO2. Pollinators buzz by with a backdrop of wispy clouds. For just a few breaths I might stand awestruck with the beauty and resilience of the natural world.

My green wish for 2022 is that everyone be able to feel their own connection to nature, and that together we can use those feelings as fuel to take action and address the climate crisis.

 

Scott McKinlay, Board Member with For Our Grandchildren

During the pandemic, people from all walks of life have found solace in nature. There are few things more peaceful than a sunrise on a calm lake in the Kawarthas. (Photo: Scott McKinlay)
During the pandemic, people from all walks of life have found solace in nature. There are few things more peaceful than a sunrise on a calm lake in the Kawarthas. (Photo: Scott McKinlay)

After almost two years of countless WTFs (Wishes That Failed), one thing has become abundantly clear: people from all walks of life have found solace in nature.

So my wish for 2022 and beyond is that people and governments will continue to find, preserve, and nurture opportunities to reconnect with our natural roots. Experiences in nature not only inspire compassion for our Earthmates, but they rekindle an appreciation for the delicate balance between earth, wind, water, and fire.

We need more victories like the heritage designation of Jackson Park, and less destruction in pursuit of short-term gains.

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Malaika Collette, Climate Activist and Program Coordinator with Kawartha World Issues Centre

Earlier this year, Malaika Collette of Kawartha World Issues Centre went to COP26 in Scotland as a youth activist. "The Scottish land was breathtaking and empowers me to keep fighting for a better world." (Photo courtesy of Malaika Collette)
Earlier this year, Malaika Collette of Kawartha World Issues Centre went to COP26 in Scotland as a youth activist. “The Scottish land was breathtaking and empowers me to keep fighting for a better world.” (Photo courtesy of Malaika Collette)

My green wish for our community in 2022 is that we will grow even stronger as a climate community and continue to build relationships with one another while planning engaging and impactful events.

I hope our community can plan and participate in mass mobilizations to continue to show the power that our community has in creating change.

I would also like to see climate change prioritized in both the upcoming provincial and municipal elections.

 

Julie Cosgrove, Executive Director of the Kawartha World Issues Centre

Julie Cosgrove in her front yard showing her winter kale, composting pumpkins, and enthusiasm for winter cycling. (Photo: James Outterson)
Julie Cosgrove in her front yard showing her winter kale, composting pumpkins, and enthusiasm for winter cycling. (Photo: James Outterson)

My green wish is that we pause to recall that moment months ago when the skies cleared and the blue deepened, when birds flocked and animals crept back into our quiet neighbourhoods, and know what it is exactly that we love about this beautiful place, our home.

Zen master and peace activist Thich Nhat Hahn refers to love as a capacity more than a feeling.

My wish is that we realize our collective capacity to protect what we love and value, to enable the transformation which climate change and a just COVID recovery require of us, before it’s too late.

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Jacob Rodenberg, Executive Director of Camp Kawartha and Co-author of the Big Book of Nature Activities

Designed and built by Straworks Inc., the new Rotary Health Centre at Camp Kawartha features carbon-storing materials like locally grown straw bale walls. If conventional materials had been used for this building, manufacturing emissions would have been nearly 40 tonnes. (Photo: Camp Kawartha)
Designed and built by Straworks Inc., the new Rotary Health Centre at Camp Kawartha features carbon-storing materials like locally grown straw bale walls. If conventional materials had been used for this building, manufacturing emissions would have been nearly 40 tonnes. (Photo: Camp Kawartha)

Here is hoping we can go beyond doing less harm by striving to do good. Let’s create natural rich spaces where both nature and people thrive. Let’s go beyond merely sustaining and work towards regenerating. We can bring nature back.

We can infuse our built spaces with nature both inside and out. We can use natural materials — so that when their life cycle is over, they become part of the soil. Let’s plant food right next to where we live, so we can harvest local and healthy food. Let’s design products based on the circular economy. In nature nothing goes to waste — so every product, when its useful life is over, can be re-purposed for something else.

In these challenging times, the answer is located right where it has always been: in nature.

 

Drew Monkman, Author, Naturalist, Columnist, Retired Teacher, and Co-author of the Big Book of Nature Activities

Naturalist Drew Monkman's "green wish" for 2022 is that Peterborough becomes certified as a bird-friendly city. "This year I discovered Fleming College Woods. I learned first hand what a great destination this is for spring wildflowers, American Beech trees, and non-flowering plants like mosses and liverworts." (Photo: Drew Monkman)
Naturalist Drew Monkman’s “green wish” for 2022 is that Peterborough becomes certified as a bird-friendly city. “This year I discovered Fleming College Woods. I learned first hand what a great destination this is for spring wildflowers, American Beech trees, and non-flowering plants like mosses and liverworts.” (Photo: Drew Monkman)

My hope is that Bird Friendly Peterborough, a local conservation organization, will be successful in having Peterborough designated as a Bird Friendly City.

In the past 50 years, North American bird populations have dropped by more than 25 per cent. We can reverse this trend with science-backed action.

Certification would be a source of community pride and tell the rest of Canada that our city takes important actions to help birds and reverse the declines in our own backyard. See www.birdfriendlypeterborough.ca.

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Cam Douglas, Lead Teacher and Coordinator of Youth Leadership in Sustainability

Cam Douglas shared this photo of a hike with his Youth Leadership in Sustainability class through the old-growth Catchacoma Forest. "I hope our city's youth are engaged directly and sincerely in decision-making, and that that they can see their priorities reflected in council decisions." (Photo: Cam Douglas)
Cam Douglas shared this photo of a hike with his Youth Leadership in Sustainability class through the old-growth Catchacoma Forest. “I hope our city’s youth are engaged directly and sincerely in decision-making, and that that they can see their priorities reflected in council decisions.” (Photo: Cam Douglas)

My green wish is focused locally and politically this year. I hope that the candidates that step forward for our 2022 municipal election understand the imperative of moving away from business as usual in city budgeting, policy, and operations to address the related biodiversity and climate crises our community and planet are facing.

I hope too that our citizenry actively and vocally move the political space towards action on these crisis, so that our leaders can more easily manoeuvre in the right direction. Finally, I hope our city’s youth are engaged directly and sincerely in decision-making, and that that they can see their priorities reflected in council decisions.

Our response to COVID shows what we can do together when we’re at our best. Rest, breathe, then let’s get to work!

 

Brianna Salmon, Executive Director of Green Communities Canada

Jen Feigin, Dana Jordan, and Brianna Salmon (former executive director of GreenUP and current executive director of Green Communities Canada) discuss climate leadership with participants in the inaugural Girl's Climate Leadership Program at GreenUP Ecology Park in 2020. (Photo courtesy of GreenUP)
Jen Feigin, Dana Jordan, and Brianna Salmon (former executive director of GreenUP and current executive director of Green Communities Canada) discuss climate leadership with participants in the inaugural Girl’s Climate Leadership Program at GreenUP Ecology Park in 2020. (Photo courtesy of GreenUP)

My green wish for 2022 is that communities across the country come together to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing upon the lessons we’ve learned about the power of collective action, the need to prioritize those who are most vulnerable, and the importance of investing in locally.

To address the climate crisis, we will need these lessons as well as a monumental and sustained commitment from all levels of society.

In 2022, I hope we meet this challenge with solutions that are creative, inclusive, and lasting.

 

Please return next week for the third and final instalment of our green wish 2022 series when we’ll feature green wishes from local cultural leaders and celebrities.

We’d love to hear from you, too. Share your green wish on our social media pages @PtboGreenUP or by visiting greenup.on.ca/green-wish.