Community polls

Every month we send out our newsletter, in which we include a poll, as well as results from the previous month’s poll. Open polls, as well as completed ones, are below.

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March, 2024

The magnitude of climate change is overwhelming. Recent news indicates that emissions from major polluters, like the oil and gas industry, are heading to record levels, even as the profound danger of climate change becomes increasingly apparent.

In the face of this, individual citizens are told that they can help, by, for example, shortening the length of the showers they take, idling their cars less, offsetting emissions from their flights, or using cloth bags for groceries.

Do you think individual actions can make a meaningful impact in the fight against climate change, or do you think they are a distraction from the larger changes needed?

(Optional. Used for the results write-up in the newsletter.)

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A monthly newsletter full of information on what’s happening in Simcoe County and beyond, including information on how you can take action to protect the health of your community, and in-depth dives into key topics.

February, 2024

February’s question addressed political will, and whether there is enough of it in Canada to do what’s necessary to achieve net-zero emission goals.

The vast majority thought that we are not doing nearly enough, with one stating that even net-zero isn’t enough, and that we need negative emissions to get back on track, and few were unsure

Being unsure about this question is itself interesting, and may indicate the lay of the land, currently with respect to where we are with efforts to achieve net-zero, as opposed to simply not knowing how to answer. There certainly is ambiguity regarding the goal, since it’s been clearly communicated as something we will meet, yet there’s increasing concern regarding whether we are, in fact, doing enough to do that.

Finally, Ric took the time to share his concern that we might starve or freeze first, and so what’s the point? He is also under the impression that “BUBBLE advocates don’t have any day to day bills to meets/survive.” I’m not sure who he’s referring to as bubble advocates. My best guess would be small children, and in that case I suppose I’d agree with him, since they don’t have the primary responsibility for paying bills. And so it all makes sense.

Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

January, 2024

We had a great response to this month’s poll.

In addition to answering the provided questions, a number of people added comments, noting what they are seeing and what they are most concerned about.

Fires, in particular forest fires, and the impacts they have on air quality, featured prominently. Larry noted that they had to stay inside a number of days this past summer, which many of us can relate to.

Flooding was another major concern, with s.hirst commenting on damage experienced to their house.

Brent, Mirjana, and George all noted that climate change is likely to cause increased political instability. (This is an issue on our radar for an upcoming Issue In Brief.)

And, the very Canadian concern of the loss of ice surfaces (connecting to the loss of traditional experiences and the deep cultural impact that has) was raised by Kevin.

In what time-frame do you think climate impacts will directly affect you?

Some examples of what directly affected means: damage to your property, or an increase in the price of a product that requires you to make a hard choice (to buy it means to not buy something else).

Results

Youth Survey

Youth are often left out of the decision-making process, even though the decisions that are made will have the greatest impact on them, shaping their world for decades to come.

We think this should change. Help by sharing your voice, and get engaged!

Simcoe County and municipalities across Ontario are conducting planning reviews that will determine how cities and towns look like in 30 to 50 year’s time, but they aren’t doing a great job of listening to youth.

This needs to change. It is the youth who will inherit these communities, after all, and the problems that result from planning decisions made today.

In partnership with the Simcoe County Environmental Youth Alliance (SCEYA), as well as others, SCGC is helping to provide opportunities for youth to get engaged in these processes.

The survey below is a first step. The answers you provide will help form the basis of a report on the priorities of young people, from addressing climate change to creating communities that are more fair and more accessible.

Create your own user feedback survey

Follow Us On Social Media

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Reports

Youth Survey

Youth are often left out of the decision-making process, even though the decisions that are made will have the greatest impact on them, shaping their world for decades to come.

We think this should change. Help by sharing your voice, and get engaged!

Read More »

Have something to say? Leave a comment below, or get in touch using the contact info at the bottom of the page.

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We send out a once-monthly newsletter full of information on what’s happening in Simcoe County and beyond, including information on how you can take action to protect the health of your community.

The View From Inside: status quo squabbles or a participatory politics?

This is the first in a series of posts that Kelly, who’s with SCGC for the summer, will be writing about her experience as a young person engaging with climate change in Simcoe County.

ATTN: Young People of Simcoe County!

Let’s cut right to it – now that the pandemic is beginning to come to a close, now is the time to jump into action and demand the world we want. Covid-19 put a lot of things on hold, put a lot of us into limbo. Now is when we plan. Now is when we act. Now is when our desire and need for change come into bloom – with the Earth lending us the energy of summer to do it!

I’ve been concerned about environmental problems my whole life, but only in the past couple of years have I really learned anything of substance – schools, media, and most people I know don’t treat this as the emergency it is. Maybe you can relate.

Most of what I know came from university or social media, when public discourse began to change, thanks to activism like the Youth Climate Marches and Fridays For Future, The Sunrise Movement, and all of the grassroots groups and Indigenous Land and Water protectors. And thanks to young people in particular – to you who can see the future that we need and the path to get there. I’m starting this in my 20’s – that means that most of you already have way more experience with climate action. Now my goal is to support you and other young people in your activism.

Over the coming weeks, I’m going to reflect on my experience of engaging with climate action from inside my home instead of out in public space because of Covid-19, and from inside the local advocacy scene as a young person just getting involved.

My view from inside.

I’m privileged enough to be educated and to be in a position to help out at SCGC this summer (and they’re getting serious about making a space for youth). I can only speak from my own experience as a white settler resident of Barrie, which does not include so many lived experiences of young people across Simcoe County. What I express here are my own thoughts, and are intended as entry-points for discussion (that’s your hint to engage and follow us on social media!).

Access

To be sure, there are opportunities. If you look hard enough and do enough networking, there are several ways to get involved. But there are barriers. There are barriers this year because there are no in-person actions to show up to and less calls for volunteers. But it can be hard to get involved at the local level anyway. Organizations are small, networks are tight. If you’re short on time, confidence, vocabulary or privilege, it’s hard to break into this (I myself have always been on the quiet side, so reaching out & showing up was a barrier for me).

It doesn’t help that a lot of info (for me at least) on climate action comes from national or international organizations, from the States, or are concentrated on the GTA. There are campaigns, news pieces and agenda items, but how can we even learn about these and how they fit into what we know of climate action? We need the technical stuff translated into clear terms that tell us what the actual impact on people and the community is so that we have the choice to act on it. Yes, climate action at the local level inevitably involves getting to know the nitty gritty, but why is the nitty gritty so exclusive? That’s a rhetorical question of course, since our municipalities aren’t exactly participatory democracies. It’s a lot of ‘inside baseball’.

Want to get involved? We’re launching our Youth Vision for Simcoe County project this summer – follow us on social media for how you can help build the future we need.

A Disconnect

I like to think I have a good understanding of the crises that we’re facing – climate, economic, social – and of the climate justice needed to address the root causes that these crises share. But translating this into the details of the local context is not easy. To me, it feels like it’s all established community members with established relationships to local politics – not to mention the private companies with major sway over politicians.

Sure, cities always want feedback, we can watch council meetings, there are big campaigns for the big things, and news stories about various issues. But there’s a reason that politics happens in meetings (even if they stream it on Youtube), through contracts and technical reports and hidden in bureaucracy.

It means that the public has to jump through a lot of hoops to participate in democracy. Status quo politics is designed to pit Parties against each other with paid advertising and showy debates, then we go vote for who made the least mistakes to go make decisions for us.

There’s a disconnect between climate justice discourse and formal politics (at all levels of government). In my experience, this really turns off young people from getting involved. Status quo formal politics just isn’t doing it anymore. Partisanship, elections and council meetings are not satisfying our need for more democracy. We want real participation and real community – not status quo squabbling and debating false dichotomies. We want a participatory politics where real change comes from the bottom-up and we have champions with the courage to acknowledge the scale of this emergency and the scale of action needed to prepare for it.

Young people are the imagination, the people power and the hope to make these changes. We haven’t spent a lifetime being told that there’s only one way to do things; we haven’t been taught to put ‘The Economy’ above the people and planet (in fact, we know that the economy should be a system to help us live better, not an alter to throw ourselves on).

Once we can safely gather in the streets, and take up public space for the common good, we need to be putting all the pressure on local politicians to do what’s necessary – not let them keep arguing with each other about excuses why they can’t reach the low-bar that was set for them in a different era.

Kelly, signing off. 

P.S – I think of these blog posts as an ongoing discussion. You can share your comments here, on social media, or get in touch with me at kelly@simcoecountygreenbelt.ca. Otherwise, I’m just typing into the void.

Kelly Gingrich

Kelly Gingrich

SCGC Youth Engagement Lead

How Can You Get Involved?

  1. Connect with Kelly by clicking on her photo or name, above, on on the email address, just above her photo.
  2. Follow the Simcoe County Environmental Youth Alliance (SCEYA) on social media, and connect with them, too, if you’d like to learn more about how you can support youth action to address climate change and help ensure a healthy environment.
  3. Sign up for our newsletter!

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A monthly missive, full of information on what’s happening in Simcoe County and beyond, community polls you can vote in, and deep dives into key topics.

Become part of our network. Stay informed. Take action. Protect Ontario.

Friends. Online censorship by unaccountable tech companies, combined with an all-out assault on the Greenbelt by Ontario’s developers/government, make this a perilous time for the future of democracy and the power of the people in Ontario.

We need to build new ways of empowering those who believe in accountability, in a healthy environment, and in communities ready to thrive in the economy of tomorrow.

Join our supporter network and stay informed about efforts and actions to protect the Greenbelt, to build communities that support the health and well-being of people, and to lay the foundations of a resilient, climate friendly future.