‘Green wishes’ for 2022 from Peterborough’s cultural leaders and community activists

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

Performer Megan Murphy at 4th Line Theatre's Winslow Farm in Millbrook. The outdoor theatre's managing artistic director Kim Blackwell, whose "green wish" for 2022 is that everyone takes stock of their carbon footprint, says 4th Line will be looking at ways to cut down on waste and garbage at the farm property. (Photo: Jess McDougall)
Performer Megan Murphy at 4th Line Theatre's Winslow Farm in Millbrook. The outdoor theatre's managing artistic director Kim Blackwell, whose "green wish" for 2022 is that everyone takes stock of their carbon footprint, says 4th Line will be looking at ways to cut down on waste and garbage at the farm property. (Photo: Jess McDougall)

Happy 2022 from GreenUP!

This is the third and final instalment of a special holiday series in which we’ve asked community leaders to respond to the question, “What is your green wish for our community for 2022?” In previous columns we heard from political and business leaders and environmental and social justice leaders.

For our final column, we saved the best for last. While all voices — including yours — are critical to the success and vitality of our community, artists and activists prod us to dig deeper and to tap into our creativity, passion, and our commitment to our community, to create a better future.

The Peterborough region is known as an artistic hub and an engaged community. Below are the green wishes of some of our local cultural leaders and community activists.

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Ann Douglas, parenting author, radio commentator, and speaker

When parenting expert and author Ann Douglas is kayaking, she does a lot of thinking about what needs to change if we want to make things better. Her "green wish" for 2022 is that we take the climate emergency seriously and elect governments that are prepared to take action. (Photo: Ann Douglas)
When parenting expert and author Ann Douglas is kayaking, she does a lot of thinking about what needs to change if we want to make things better. Her “green wish” for 2022 is that we take the climate emergency seriously and elect governments that are prepared to take action. (Photo: Ann Douglas)

My green wish for our community is simple: I want us to take the climate emergency seriously and to elect governments that are prepared to take action.

Two-thirds of Canadians want politicians to do more, and yet the archaic first-past-the-post voting system that we use to elect governments at both the provincial and federal levels is preventing us from making meaningful progress. We need a system of government that encourages politicians to work together and that prioritizes long-term thinking as opposed to short-term political gain.

We need electoral reform and, more specifically, proportional representation. That’s my green wish this year!

 

Beau Dixon, actor, playwright, singer/songwriter, music director, sound designer

Actor, playwright, and singer-songwriter Beau Dixon shared this selfie from his backyard as he prepares to work on his co-op vegetable garden. (Photo: Beau Dixon)
Actor, playwright, and singer-songwriter Beau Dixon shared this selfie from his backyard as he prepares to work on his co-op vegetable garden. (Photo: Beau Dixon)

My green wish for our community in 2022 is that the City of Peterborough involves more of the community in environmental projects that subsidize the unemployed. I think one of the big problems in the city of Peterborough is the opioid crisis.

It would instill great hope in this city if those that were unemployed were taught how to do simple gardening tasks. Whether it’s proper soiling, planting or vegetation, these are skills that are needed to sustain a healthy lifestyle and environment. And by teaching these skills to the unemployed, we are creating jobs and trade skills that are valuable for our future generation.

Lastly, we must reduce our carbon footprint by eating less meat and implementing a better transit system. Whether it’s more carpooling with friends or parking your car and taking longer walks, something’s gotta change before it’s too late!

 

Cathy Dueck, environmental educator and coordinator with the Pathway to Stewardship and Kinship

Pictured with her dog Maya, Cathy Dueck's "green wish" for 2022 is for everyone to take a daily walk and appreciate nature. (Photo: Kyle Dueck)
Pictured with her dog Maya, Cathy Dueck’s “green wish” for 2022 is for everyone to take a daily walk and appreciate nature. (Photo: Kyle Dueck)

My wish for everyone is to step out of your worries every day, take a walk, and soak in all the wonders around you — the sights, sounds, smells, temperature, wind, rain, and all the things that remind you that you’re alive. We let so many miracles pass us by, unnoticed, every day.

Walking refreshes the body, the mind, and the spirit, and it’s even carbon-free! Focus your attention on where you are, what’s happening around you, and tune in to the little things — the sound of a chickadee flitting past, the rustle of a dry leaf in the wind.

These are everyday gifts of life with the power to heal and energize. All it takes is a walk and opening up your heart.

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Charmaine Magumbe, community activist

Charmaine Magumbe enjoying the trails in Peterborough. (Photo: Charmain Magumbe)
Charmaine Magumbe enjoying the trails in Peterborough. (Photo: Charmain Magumbe)

My green wish is for the citizens of Peterborough to ditch their cars and enjoy the beauty of outside on our awesome Peterborough trails.

Taking the time to stop and smell the flowers, taking time to disconnect from their technology, taking time to walk, bike, run, jog, or even take public transit.

Enjoy life in the heartbeat of nature, outside!

 

Drew Hayden Taylor, award-winning playwright, author, columnist, filmmaker, and lecturer

Indigenous playwright and author Drew Hayden Taylor's "green wish" for 2022 is for a greater understanding and respect for the land. (Photo: Paul Kemp Productions)
Indigenous playwright and author Drew Hayden Taylor’s “green wish” for 2022 is for a greater understanding and respect for the land. (Photo: Paul Kemp Productions)

My green wish for 2022 is no different than most people, I believe: a greater understanding and respect for the land.

It’s not that difficult. Contrary to popular belief, we do not own the land. It is not ours to control and play with. We are supposed to live in unison with it and respect it as we hope it respects us.

Climate change is an example of that lack of respect.

 

Joelle Favreau, Manager of Nourish and Community Development and Training Supervisor at YWCA of Peterborough, Victoria, and Haliburton

Joelle Favreau's "green wish" for 2022 includes the implementation of a guaranteed livable basic income. (Graphic: Basic Income Canada Network)
Joelle Favreau’s “green wish” for 2022 includes the implementation of a guaranteed livable basic income. (Graphic: Basic Income Canada Network)

As we wrap up 2021, I hope that we finally learn the lessons from the pandemic. It had devastating impacts on the lives of people living in poverty, as well as women and BIPOC individuals and families.

My green wish for 2022 is that it will herald the implementation of a guaranteed livable basic income, along with robust anti-racism strategies to transform our health, legal, social, economic, and environmental systems.

These policies will champion an equitable transition anchored in wealth redistribution. They will also ensure that everyone in our community and beyond is able to feed themselves well, and with dignity.

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John McNutt, Executive Director of the Council for Persons with Disabilities

I would be thrilled to see household green waste collected throughout the year.

Food scraps amount to roughly 40 per cent of residential waste that ends up in landfills and rots, producing the greenhouse gas methane, which traps heat in the air.

Using a green bin to separate your kitchen organics from the garbage is an easy step towards considerable waste reduction. It’s been done in other Ontario cities, and I believe would be an excellent, smart fit for Peterborough.

 

Kim Blackwell, Managing Artistic Director at 4th Line Theatre

4th Line Theatre managing artistic director Kim Blackwell at the "box office" at Winslow Farm in Millbrook before the pandemic. (Photo: Jeannine Taylor / kawarthaNOW)
4th Line Theatre managing artistic director Kim Blackwell at the “box office” at Winslow Farm in Millbrook before the pandemic. (Photo: Jeannine Taylor / kawarthaNOW)

My green wish for our community in 2022 is for all of us to take mindful stock in our carbon footprint and keep the climate and the climate crisis front of mind.

At 4th Line, we are hoping to take stock in our footprint and look at ways to cut down on waste and garbage at the farm property. We want to eliminate plastic water bottles at the farm in the next three to five years. We want to look at an even more robust reuse and recycle strategy for sets and costumes at the theatre.

Being an outdoor environmental theatre means we are at the forefront of seeing the climate crisis playing out in such things as extreme weather. We can all make a difference together.

 

Shaelyn Wabegijig, Program and Outreach Coordinator at the Kawartha World Issues Centre

Shaeylyn Wabegijig in the Labyrinth Garden,  located in East City along the Rotary Greenway Trail, where she helped till the soil and grow vegetables in summer 2021, (Photo: Summer Hoffman-Menard)
Shaeylyn Wabegijig in the Labyrinth Garden, located in East City along the Rotary Greenway Trail, where she helped till the soil and grow vegetables in summer 2021, (Photo: Summer Hoffman-Menard)

My green wish for our community in 2022 is for the City of Peterborough to create a green and just COVID recovery, by investing in and implementing basic income, composting, green transportation, and increased protections for water, wetlands, and greenspaces.

I hope city councillors review and build upon the seven reports that KWIC and GreenUP created from our work Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, centring Indigenous leadership and the principle of leaving no one behind.

I wish that our leaders understand how interconnected environmental and social justice issues are, and take an inclusive and intersectional approach to this work.

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A special thank you to all those that were able to participate in our green wish project, both for our column and online. Your submissions have brought smiles to our faces and hope to our hearts. Importantly, they can guide us all as we learn to overcome COVID-19 and move towards a more sustainable future.

Here’s to a healthy, happy and green 2022 for everyone in the Peterborough region!

Please share your green wish with us on social media @PtboGreenUP or by visiting greenup.on.ca/green-wish.