Green Neighbours 21 History

Green Neighbours 21 was launched in February 2007 at a community meeting attended by 60 enthusiastic people who shared their concerns about the environment and ideas for action. Since then we have held monthly meetings, which often include a speaker, organized a number of special events, and implemented a special project - Green Together - to help people make energy saving changes in their homes [link to section on Green Together]. We have an extensive email list providing notification of Green Neighbours 21 events and other green events in the city. All work is done by volunteers, under the direction of a steering committee, with task groups formed for specific projects.

Some accomplishments

  • co-sponsored Strawberries & Asparagus in Cedarvale Park, a celebration of community, the environment, and local food (June 2007 and June 2008)

  • had information tables at numerous community events including Environment Days, Strawberries & Asparagus, school fairs, and the local farmers’ market

  • directed volunteers to help with the recycling program at Salsa on St. Clair, and with the local Farmers’ Market

  • held an all-candidates’ meeting for the provincial election focusing on climate change and energy issues (September 2007)

  • held a climate change evening “Convenient Solutions for An Inconvenient Truth” at Oakwood Collegiate (a live presentation of the slides from Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth followed by a panel discussion of solutions) (November 2007)

  • co-hosted, with the Conservation Council of Ontario, a Conservation & Solar Fair where  people met directly with organizations and companies that could help them go green (March 2008)

  • co-sponsored with the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto an information evening “Putting a Price on Carbon” which included a panel discussion with representatives from the candidates in the federal election (October 2008)

  • produced several fact sheets [link to “Resources”]

  • hosted film screenings:

    •     “The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived  Peak Oil”

    •     “Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home”    

    •     “Be the Change: Uplifting stories of real people living lightly and loving it”

    •     “Escape from Suburbia”

Invited speakers at our meetings have included

  • Janet McKay, LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests)

  • Ben Marans, Smart Living St. Lawrence

  • Chris Winter, Conservation Council of Ontario

  • Rhonda Teitel-Payne, The Stop Community Food Centre

  • Jeff McCormick, City of Toronto, Water Efficiency Program

  • Lorraine Gauthier, Now House

  • Randy Park, Post Carbon Toronto

  • Andrew Knox, Transition Toronto

  • Blake Poland, Transition Oakville, on “Building Transition Communities”

  • Councillor Joe Mihevc on Toronto’s Green Vision

  • Geoff Singer, Urban Planner, on “Building Sustainable Communities”

  • Mike Schreiner, Food policy consultant, on “Local Sustainable Food Systems and the Emerging Green Economy”

  • Leehe Lev, Toronto Cyclists’ Union, on “Safe Cycling”, and Tom Devenishek, Autoshare, on “Car-sharing”

  • Liz Curran, The Stop Community Food Centre, Susan Poizner, Growing for Green & Ben Nobleman Park Community Orchard, and Laurel Atkinson, Not Far From the Tree, on “Join the Local Food Revolution”

  • David Carrington, Toronto Hydro, on ways of reducing your summer electrical bills, and Mike Alkema, LEAF, on gardening to cool your home and save on water use

Green Together

Launched in January of 2009, Green Together was an 18-month project carried out by members of Green Neighbours 21 as an experiment in using community-based social marketing to promote home energy-saving projects in and around Ward 21. Grants from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Community Go Green Fund enabled us to hire a Coordinator and rent office space. Working together, the Coordinator and Project Management Team then recruited a group of 20 volunteers who underwent training in various aspects of home energy savings. A group of partner organizations (GreenSaver, Toronto Water, WISE, RiverSides and LEAF) contributed to this process, while a series of special events, most notably our “Eco-Energy Fair” held in the Wychwood Barns, helped to draw in residents considering energy saving work on their homes. Linking up with homeowners, volunteers drew on their training, personal experience and knowledge of what others had done in the community to provide advice and support through all aspects of these projects, including the EcoENERGY audits, decisions about products and work to be done, selection of contractors and accessing government rebates.

By the time the project reached its formal conclusion in June of 2010, Green Together volunteers had signed up 199 participants. While only 14 of these had completed the final EcoENERGY audit, an additional 109 were still engaged in some aspect of their home energy work, so many of these are likely to get second audits in the months ahead. For this reason a follow-up study is planned for June of 2011 to gain a more accurate picture of Green Together’s long-term effects.

Two reports have been produced:

1)  “Green Together – Lessons Learned” (a short report highlighting the conclusions we drew from our experience).

2)  “Green Together – Final Report" (a lengthier report detailing the many tasks and outcomes of the project)   Request a copy by e-mailing: greenneighbours@yahoo.ca

 

Would you like to get involved?