Grassroots Efforts Create New Ways To Protect the Earth

“We’re calling it a Global Work Party, with emphasis on both ‘work’ and ‘party’. In Auckland, New Zealand, they’re having a giant bike fix-up day, to get every bicycle in the city back on the road. In the Maldives, they’re putting up solar panels on the President’s office.  In Kampala, Uganda, they’re going to plant thousands of trees, and in Bolivia they’re installing solar stoves for a massive carbon neutral picnic.”

350.org Climate Movement

Collingwood and area joined the world on October 10, 2010 to be part of the Global Work Party with 7347 groups in 188 countries to bring attention to the climate crisis that most assuredly will intensify throughout the 21st century unless we change now how we locally and globally think and act. The aim of this grassroots effort was also to tell governments that they have to get to work-now. What we did in Collingwood on October 10th was to first go to our Community Garden and pick some of the vegetables and turn over the earth. An art project was held at the garden with Michelle Fleming of The Bay School of Art.  We ended the afternoon by planting 45 two foot trees at Black Ash Creek. Imagine 7347 creative work efforts on October 10 that aimed to inspire us to lower greenhouse gas emissions and have millions of voices saying to our politicians that it’s unacceptable not to point government polices towards a safe 350 parts per million carbon dioxide level for the world. By including many more people through various strategies, we’ll change the present political inertia into action for the stabilization of our climate with all the ramifications that holds for biodiversity and not least, indigenous populations. One strategy to move this grassroots ground swell of support along is to have the 350 Earth Project that will take place between November 20- 28th.  If you look at the word, “Earth” you can find the word. ‘Art’, and in the Grey/Simcoe counties we’ll be asking our artists to demonstrate through the arts what needs to be done for a reduction of carbon to 350 ppm.  How can this take place? At the “Be the Change” film series on November 24th, there will be photos shown of the most beautiful places on the Earth; places that we don’t want to lose. Live music will accompany those exquisite photos. The Bay School of Art is also going to have a creative arts event during this time period that visually presents the case to act on climate and lower our greenhouse emissions to 350.

I wish to address another important topic that impacts our community: the changes coming to the Silver Creek Wetland. Although a change of ownership of the wetlands to the Town is excellent news, not necessarily is a twig saved by doing so. What is frequently left out of the news reports is that the condo development, that is right in the middle of the wetlands, can proceed whether or not the remaining wetlands change hands to the Town of Collingwood. As well, the transfer of ownership may in fact give traction for the need to have the public ‘get something out of the deal’ such as trails where none may have been before. I see this transfer as a beginning and not as an end for better protection of the wetlands.  Perhaps it may be possible to persuade TD, who is the new owner of the upland condo development, to give those lands to the Town or to a conservation group such as the Nature Conservancy as well. Why not name the entire wetland, as one of many possibilities in return for such an act of wisdom and conservation foresight, ‘TD Trust Wetland Refuge’ or any other name that meets with their approval, and gives them a broad public acknowledgement of their generosity. So while a good start has been created for Silver Creek’s protection, a comprehensive vision should not stop there.

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