Protect the Greenbelt.
Expand the Greenbelt.
A message from Margaret Atwood
Our focus this year is on protecting Ontario’s Greenbelt and building the foundations, in local communities, to support its future expansion.
Our proven track record of building grassroots organizing capacity is the basis for this work.
By engaging and enabling residents, through education, networking, and capacity building, we are planting the seeds for locally based, self-directed advocacy supporting one of Ontario’s greatest natural assets, the Greenbelt.
Funds raised go directly toward staff time, which includes research, communications, and more, space rental for meetings and community events, per diems for webinar guests, as well as much more.
This world is full of hope.
Let's protect it.
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The Greenbelt was created to preserve a common good that benefits us all, namely natural resources such as fresh water, wildlife habitat, and farmland.
The health of our environment makes our communities among the most desirable, prosperous places to live in the world.
Protecting this with Greenbelt expansion is, accordingly, a farsighted, pragmatic policy that establishes a secure foundation for Ontario to thrive.
But the Greenbelt, and evidence-based, pragmatic decision making in Ontario is under attack.
The Greenbelt, like healthcare and education and just about every other policy created in the public interest, is being torn apart to benefit a few.
Private interests, who have special access to power through highly paid lobbyists, are profiting by re-jigging policies in their favour, and it is making Ontario less competitive and less ready to respond to future challenges.
(Doubling down on more sprawl development and highways when Toronto is already one of the most congested cities in North America is just one example of how our current politics is dysfunctional.)
To counter this we work to give decision makers the information required to make better decisions, while also creating the political support, as well as pressure, they need to do the right thing.
Now, the difficult part is that those who profit from unsound or biased decisions have plenty of money to continue to influence policy in order to benefit themselves. The public, on the other hand, advocate for themselves in their own free time.
So, for example, citizens opposing an aggregate quarry do their own research, compose arguments, and attend meetings in the few free hours they have between putting dinner on the table and putting kids to bed. The aggregate company, on the other hand, is represented by well-paid, full time staff.
This is a dynamic repeated over and over, and not just at public meetings. These companies have political access, through high-paid lobbyists and the like, that citizens don’t have.
We Work For You!
So, we do the research and analysis, speak with elected representatives and staff, and, when necessary, organize protest and other forms of direct action in an effort to bring this dynamic into something resembling more of a balance.
Is it enough to actually attain that balance?
Not by a long shot.
It’s always an uphill battle because the public good isn’t something that any single individual can benefit from – it benefits us all, collectively, and the benefits are dispersed, making it difficult to connect the dots between the action the policy maker did and the result the citizen experiences. (It really helps with re-election when you can point to easily identifiable, pocket-book type accomplishments, whereas public good accomplishments are often complex and nuanced.)
Protecting public goods will always be a challenging argument to make, but it’s worth it, and we endeavour to make it with honesty and integrity. That’s how we want decision makers to operate, after all!
So, all that to say that we truly appreciate the support of our donors.
Contributions can be large or small. Even $10 a month makes a huge difference.