By Catherine Daw, Leadership Group, Collingwood Climate Action Team. Catherine’s personal mission is to help create a resilient and sustainable community.
In the fall last year, the Collingwood Climate Action Team launched the Community Carbon Footprint Challenge to encourage everyone to get involved in reducing the impact of our collective carbon footprint. Initially set up as a Collingwood-focused initiative, we were encouraged by many including the Institute to expand the reach across the region. The challenge now covers 7 municipalities in Southern Georgian Bay.
Our overarching goals are to:
- Build community collective action
- Share knowledge about what we can do
- Generate awareness of the need to move together on what works best for us individually, in our businesses, and for municipal governments
We are making good progress – community, business, and government teams are involved. And we are on our way to achieve our targets for engagement. Most of the other regional climate action groups have joined in and are working in their communities to complete their household footprints. Every part of our regional catchment area (Owen Sound, Georgian Bluffs, Meaford, Grey Highlands, Town of Blue Mountains, Collingwood, Clearview and Wasaga Beach) includes people who have taken up the challenge. Forward momentum is building.
This initiative will provide aggregate data (not individual or team data) that can be shared with municipal governments across the region as they build out and implement community climate action plans. And of course, this initiative will let all of us know where we are with our own carbon footprints, and where we need to go.
Imagine all of us contributing to achieving our country’s target of 45% reduction by 2030! And with community effort, it is achievable. That’s about a 6-7% reduction every year to 2030. Sounds a bit more doable when it is put in that context!
With our partner, Project Neutral, which is providing the footprint calculator, we have access to a dashboard of statistics – giving us vital information such as household types, average footprints by region and numbers by each region.
We have encouraged people to create teams, as it is a great way to be with a group of people you already know who are interested in learning more and can be a support on the journey of making change. To date we have 28 active teams – including Collingwood town staff, Collingwood Council, business teams, neighbours, clubs, the Collingwood hospital staff and foundation, and sports teams. Please consider creating one. We also encourage all regions to seek teams of your municipal staff and council to join in this venture. It would be great to see some friendly competition between teams in your community and across the municipalities.
Whether you join a team or do it as an individual, there is room for everyone to step up.
Try it out yourself. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Then consider if you are interested in getting more involved. You can always join a team later.
We are excited about the possibilities for South Georgian Bay residents to adopt new low-carbon actions and make low-carbon living the new normal. We’ll offer suggestions, and you’ll decide what actions you’ll take that work for you, your friends, colleagues, or family.
We are in good company with our funders and partners, including The Town of Collingwood, The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay, Prasad Foundation, Free Spirit Tours, Environment Network, Blue Mountain Watershed Trust, The Nature League, Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, Project Neutral, Carbon Conversations TO, Talk Climate to Me, and Grey Bruce Climate Action Network. We have also just received charitable status and can now issue tax receipts for donations.
We all know climate change is not a political debate — it is grounded in science. Our planet is in danger, and we need to do everything in our power to reduce our impact on the environment. There is hope, and there are solutions, We need your support whether you are new to the carbon conversation or an environmental activist. There is so much we can do together!
For more information, contact: [email protected]
IG: @collingwoodclimateaction, #footprintchallenge