Already thinking of your New Year’s resolutions? So are we!
Guided by over 300 responses to our election campaign and priority survey, our team has laid out five key priorities for 2019, along with an action plan. From ramping up green infrastructure to holding city hall accountable, this plan is certainly ambitious. Yet while our staff team is small, our network of volunteers and supporters is mighty and eager to build a greener city, and we are so excited to get started.
Help us fight for a greener Ottawa. Join our Protector’s Circle today by providing a monthly gift. The Protector’s Circle is critical to Ecology Ottawa’s work, allowing us to engage in high-impact advocacy that makes a real difference on many of the environmental issues facing our city. The King Foundation has generously offered us $15,000 if we can secure 30 new monthly donors by the end of the year. Whether it’s $5, $50 or $100 a month, your donation will go a long way to supporting our work.
Based on your feedback, here’s our list of priorities for 2019:
1. Pushing for climate change action from the city. With the province cutting funding for city-level climate initiatives like active transportation and energy efficiency, the City of Ottawa needs to step up like never before. We need to see unprecedented action on climate change in this term of council – with policies, funding and resources at a level that matches the urgency of the climate crisis. We will push for an inspiring vision of a city that can become more vibrant, just and livable through leadership on climate change.
2. Ramping up green infrastructure and restoring Ottawa’s tree canopy. From downspout re-directs to rain gardens, we’re getting Ottawans excited about all the ways they can deal with rainwater at the household and neighbourhood level – all while building a more climate-resilient city. In 2019, we will also continue to reforest our urban tree canopy by giving away thousands of trees to Ottawa residents. With trees and green infrastructure, we will engage in a vital conversation about how Ottawa can better prepare for severe weather impacts, flooding, invasive species and heat waves.
3. Securing safe and easy access to light rail for pedestrians and cyclists. The soon-to-launch light rail project could mark a giant leap forward for sustainable transportation in Ottawa – but only if tens of thousands of residents can leave their cars at home and connect to rail by bus, bike or foot. Ecology Ottawa will be engaging the public on sustainability solutions at and around light rail stations with street audits, public forums and new reports.
4. Using the federal election to demand more climate leadership from all parties. Canadians will head to the polls in October 2019, and Ottawans will cast their ballots for eight area MPs. Each of these races provides an opportunity to demand more climate leadership from our federal representatives. We’ll be knocking on thousands of doors across the city, hosting federal debates on environmental issues and holding parties to account on their records and promises.
5. Holding the newly-elected city council accountable. We are bringing back Council Watch, our annual report card that documents councillors’ votes on key environmental issues. The next term of council will wrestle with some major issues, including whether to extend the urban boundary for more development, how to increase transit access, and how to sustain momentum on restoring Ottawa’s tree canopy. We’ll be keeping tabs on who is helping and who is hindering efforts to make Ottawa the green capital of Canada.