‘Imagine your day without a car’
Barrie climate-change panel calls for end to sprawl, green-space losses
by Chris Simon Barrie Advance
Plant more trees. Contain new development to infill properties. Stop the loss of green space and farmland.
If Simcoe County municipalities — and the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia — are serious about tackling climate change, these are some of the most impactful actions they can take, Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition Executive Director Margaret Prophet said.
“Climate change is local; climate action is local, too,” she told a small group of local residents and media gathered for a climate-change panel at Barrie City Hall Jan. 22. “You don’t have to travel to plant trees in Australia to take climate action. It’s right outside your door.
“This idea of sprawling, and building pipes and roads and highways, and communities that don’t have a doctor or daycare nearby, they cost our community more than just taxpayer dollars. We’ve been in this pattern of growth for a long time. It is damaging our environment and corroding our social networks. There’s things that are more important than just fulfilling development applications.”
Seventy per cent of Ontario greenhouse-gas emissions are generated through transportation. So curbing sprawl and creating more walkable, pedestrian-friendly communities would have a substantial effect on the environment, Prophet said.
Stress around climate crisis hurting youth mental health, says teen
By : Shawn Gibson Barrie Today
A meeting today was meant to point out the action needed to reverse the effects of climate change. But the event also sparked conversation about how today’s youth are dealing with the psychological pressures of what some see as climate inaction.
The meeting, held Wednesday morning in the Barrie City Hall Rotunda, included speakers from a coalition formed between local doctors, politicians, environmental groups and youth.
Maya Moore is one young person, in particular, who has been vocal on climate change in the region for about a year and took part in one of the largest rallies in Barrie’s history last year.
The Global Climate Strike event on Sept. 27 saw more than 600 people march from city hall to Meridian Place to voice their concerns on climate change.
The 17-year-old Nottawasaga Pines Secondary School student was part of today’s panel about many climate issues, but also spoke about the effect it’s having on the mental health of today’s youth.
“It’s not only when I turn on the news, but from talking with students from all over Canada who say they have spent more time planning and talking about the climate crisis then they have about school,” Moore said. “It can’t help but take a toll on your mind.
“And when teens already feel powerless at times, this just adds to their fear and anxiety.”
The coalition of groups at today’s meeting posed a challenge to municipalities across Simcoe County to make 2020 the year of climate action and declare a climate emergency built on the sentiment of making meaningful change.
The panel consisted of Moore, Margaret Prophet from the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition, Coun. Keenan Aylwin and Dr. Brent Elsey.
Moore also takes part in the weekly Fridays For Future Climate Strike at city hall, an ongoing event which sees students and those who support them, meet every Friday to protest and draw attention to the climate crisis.
The teen has also heard comments about how walking out of school is just young people trying to cut class.
“If we wanted to skip school, we would be skipping school everyday instead of every Friday and standing in the cold or rain and trying to make people more aware of the issue,” Moore said. “I know people are thinking it, I know they have said it, but that is taking away from what we are doing, which is trying to reverse climate change before it is too late.
“We wish we didn’t have to do this, but someone has to, and it is good for us to meet with other teens who are stressed and anxious about the future, too.”
Aylwin, a 26-year-old city councillor, says he agrees with Moore’s thoughts on teen anxiety when it comes to the climate crisis.
“I was about 10 years old when I first learned about the climate crisis we were facing,” Aylwin said. “It has always weighed really heavily on me. I suffer from depression and I feel it is intimately connected to the state of the world and my anxiety about that.”
Looking ahead to how the condition of the world may be because of climate change, Aylwin says he’s a realist, but has also found ways to remain hopeful.
“I found the best antidote is to get out, try to make a difference and be with people who feel the same way,” Aylwin said. “You need to feel and know you are not alone and that really does help. That is why these meetings are important, as are the rallies that are being held.”