St-Lazare, Quebec 17th September 2019
“If we do everything we possibly can to respond to the climate and ecological emergency (individually, working together locally and thinking globally)… If we draw on all the resources, imagination, courage and political will… What could we create?”
(Totnes 2019 Community Climate Action Summit, UK)
Getting the climate action conversation started in St. Lazare…
On Thursday, October 17th, at 7:00pm, Dr Heather Short, local Earth Scientist and Climate Educator presented The Climate Crisis 101 at the Saint-Lazare Community Centre. The event was part of an initiative sponsored by the Hudson Food Collective and Nature Hudson to create a community approach to educating and building awareness and commitment to climate action in our region.
Building on the success of a similar event held in Hudson in September that saw over 40 people from Hudson and surrounding area come out to participate, Dr Short’s presentation covered the scientific basis of climate change, the psychology of inaction, what to expect in our lifetimes, and (most importantly!) what to do about it. Her presentation was followed by a roundtable discussion session where over 30 participants from Saint-Lazare and surroundings worked together in groups to identify and explore how we as individuals and as communities can respond rapidly to the climate crisis.
During this session the groups identified both individual and community-level climate actions related to different topics (e.g. transport, waste, conservation). Ultimately, there was a broad sense that, as a community, we need to work on creating opportunities for inclusive collaboration between individuals, local businesses and governments so we can develop new innovative climate action programs or better support for existing programs. It was recognized that while our individual actions are important in changing social norms, working together as communities on a larger scale is fundamental to enacting the systemic changes required.
Details of the event…
Dr Short’s one hour presentation was followed by a question period. We then all chose a roundtable discussion topic that interested us. The topics for the roundtables represented the most important areas for climate action in our region:
- Local Food Systems/Regenerative Agriculture
- Waste Management
- Energy Efficiency
Each roundtable group then discussed two key questions in relation to their topic:
- What can we do now as individuals or what are the Little do’s. What behaviour do we want to model in order to change social norms?
- What can we do as a community going forward or what are the Big Do’s? What are those actions that may take more effort at a community or local government level.
The outcomes of the roundtable discussions…
You’ll find the complete list in the tables on the following pages but here are some of the common themes.
Start doing. Be the change.
Work on making choices in our own lives to significantly reduce our own GHG emissions and then share lessons learnt and opportunities discovered kindly with others. We need to start doing those things that we can. For example, car-pooling, cycling more, supporting local farmers and community gardens. Get involved in your kids schools and local organizations or encourage our municipalities to step into a leadership role and adjust by-Laws to enable rapid community action.
Municipal government actions
Examples include encouraging and working with our Councillors to think strategically and regionally. Help them find ways to establish new by-laws or enforce existing by-laws to support real climate action. Examples: Support their efforts to extend the REM, build support amongst the population for relaxation of lawn-cutting rules and installation of vegetable gardens and wild spaces, or encourage the installation of electric vehicle charging stations and in public locations (e.g. town hall, IGA) and electrified public transport
Community-led projects or initiatives
Broad community projects include establishing and supporting education and awareness programs and programs that empower the community to work together. Examples: a network of community gardens and a local social-enterprise composting initiative, a rewilding project where local landowners and community groups work together to collect and distribute native tree/shrub seeds on degraded lands and a program to share knowledge about how to eat, preserve and ferment local produce. Importantly most tables recognized that a regional effort would be better – one where neighbouring communities pool resources and work together to create even greater climate and social impact.
So, what’s next? Here’s some ideas…
Our hope now is that you are able to take these ideas and start doing, with courage and dedication (if you are not already!), all the Little Do’s you possibly can and also connect with others in working toward accomplishing the Big Do’s. Connect with your facilitators and others from your group or start an initiative yourself!
The roundtable discussions highlighted the need for us all to engage with our local governments in whatever way we can. The MRC Vaudreuil-Soulanges (Mayors of each municipality in the MRC) adopted a Regional Climate Action Plan on the 30th October 2019. Each municipality in the MRC (including Hudson and Saint- Lazare) will now be required to develop their own Climate Action Plan in line with the Regional Plan. This represents an opportunity for us all to get involved and participate in any new consultations and discussions – if there are none planned you could always organize your own.
Over the next few months, Dr Short will likely give more presentations/workshops similar to the one you attended. If you know someone in another town nearby who is interested in hosting an event let us know.
We propose that the ideas for individual and community actions you came up with be used to inform the discussion of a larger Community Climate Action Summit (multiple speakers, full day event) to be held in Hudson in early 2020.
Community dinners anyone? We propose to start up a monthly pot-luck style community dinner to come together, share local foods, ideas and ways to get stuff done – and have some fun. If you want to be involved or let us know. First dinner tentative – late November.
Contact Robyn (Hudson Food Collective), Briony (Nature Hudson) or Debbie at Robyn Rees – firstname.lastname@example.org ; Debbie Reynolds – email@example.com; Dr. Briony Lalor – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sincere thanks to Dr Heather Short, Saint-Lazare District 1 Councillor Geneviève Lachance, Debbie Reynolds (for organizing!), our generous facilitators for your time and everyone who came out to participate….let’s get it done…Onwards!
~ LOCAL CLIMATE CHANGE SOLUTIONS ST- LAZARE ~
|LOCAL REWILDING, ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION AND CONSERVATION |
SOLUTIONSFacilitator: JJ Corker (email@example.com)
|Reduce lawn mowing and keep grass as long as possible. Allow for |
wildflowers, trees and other native plants to germinate and grow
|Create meadows in our front/backyards and on larger properties in the |
area = Change the social norm
|Leave brush, understorey and leaves in backyards! Provides habitat for |
butterflies and other critters over winter
|Talk to neighbours about why it is important to leave wild places|
|Explain the value and encourage neighbours to keep native plants such |
as Sumac on their properties
|Sign up to get a plaque from Le Jardin Botanique as a ‘Certified Pollinator Garden’|
|Encourage council to change municipal by-laws to allow for reduced |
|Encourage council to provide incentives for homeowners to plant |
resilient trees and create more wild spaces
|Encourage Council to incorporate municipal tree planting and rewilding |
initiatives into their urban planning process
|Encourage Council to create incentives for homeowners and land owners to re- wild their properties|
|Instead of planting tree seedlings we should be spreading tree seeds. |
Trees grown from seed are more likely to survive compared with tree
|Collaborate with local volunteers (e.g. Scouts or school groups), |
landowners and municipalities to collect and distribute tree seeds during the fall
|Organize a Hudson or St-Lazare Garden Club Tour to visit exemplary ‘|
Wild’ gardens and areas in the region.
|RESOURCES FOR ACTION|
|LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS AND REGNERATIVE AGRICULTURE SOLUTIONS|
Facilitator: Robyn Rees (firstname.lastname@example.org)
|Install home cold cellars to store root vegetables etc. Have access to local food all year round|
|Grow as much or our own food as possible near our homes|
|Learn how to make preserves and ferments|
|Compost our own food wastes|
|Turn our own yards into vegetable gardens – Food not Lawns (or at least eat the dandelions!)|
|Establish a program in the community to provide technical knowledge |
about setting up a cold storage (e.g. temperature? humidity?)
|Organize a seminar series (offer free food as an incentive) or a |
community outreach program to teach people about eating seasonally,
growing your own food and preserving and fermenting
|Investigate the idea of a knowledge exchange program between older |
and younger generations about gardening and growing food
|Establish after school programs like ‘Boîte à Lunch’ where kids make |
lunches for the next day, learn about healthy food preparation and where food comes from
|Establish a program where extra food from local organic farms can go to community kitchens where it can be processed into meals and preserves while it is fresh = build community, break isolation and loneliness cycles and increase community resilience|
|Support and encourage permaculture/ecological agriculture principles|
|Demand municipalities to establish a by-law to allow people to convert |
their lawns into wild areas and vegetable gardens
|RESOURCES FOR ACTION|
|Inspiration for a Community Fridge Initiative https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/community-fridges-hubbub-food- waste-1.4922845 |
|LOCAL WASTE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS Facilitator: Cameron Stiff |
|Compost our own kitchen and garden wastes|
|Get involved in our kids schools – encourage composting, gardening and |
recycling so it is engrained early in our younger generation
|Encourage Council to establish/support community gardens in St-Lazare, Hudson and Rigaud. We could pay city workers to manage these gardens and be responsible for redistributing the excess food to community |
kitchens/food banks (those most needy) in our towns
|Encourage Council to set up a local composting system where restaurants and grocery stores provide food wastes to community composting |
locations that can then be used in community gardens or made available to the community
|Be vocal about getting environment and waste management classes into |
the curriculum in our kids schools (as they do with ethics). Speak with
teachers/ Principals/H&S/governing boards
|Impress on Council and regional elected officials that they should be |
looking for innovative solutions to fix our recycling system so:glass is
actually recycled- compost/recycling pick-up becomes FREE but there is a user-pay system for trash pickup (e.g. by weight) is established.
Inspectors are available to enforce
|RESOURCES FOR ACTION|
|Community gardens and composting inspiration…https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/community-compost-city- hall-1.5211745 |
|LOCAL SOLUTIONS FOR ENERGY REDUCTION Facilitator: Jim Johnson |
|Stop using gas powered appliances like leaf blowers, lawn mowers and |
encourage our neighbours and family to do the same
|Use electric appliances or hand held tools (e.g. rakes, push mowers) or |
plant ground covers rather than lawn
|Work from home – more ‘teleworking’|
|Take public transport. Travel by train/bus|
|Reduce recreational use of cars|
|Less air travel, only for family, not business|
|Install a clothes-line in the basement in the winter rather than using a |
|Caulk windows, add insulation|
|Turn off lights and appliances off|
|Use non-peak times for using home appliances (dishwasher, washing |
|Use programmable thermostats that are linked to phones to control home temperature in winter|
|Key is to provide alternatives for transport that are as flexible and convenient as gas then we can ! increase the price of gas|
|Focus on public transport options – Organize a petition / movement / visit MP to get the REM to Vaudreuil and make sure more buses are available |
for people to get to Vaudreuil
|Make sure Council is considering safe walk and bike path infrastructure |
in urban planning processes
|Investigate ‘Trottibus’ – Pedestrian buses for kids biking, walking or |
skiing to school with adults
|Encourage more local work, school, recreation – teleworkers can socialize locally e.g. community gardens, nature walks|
|Encourage the municipality to be an environmental educator for citizens by creating an up-to-date ‘Environment’ webpage on town site that |
includes climate action goals; subsidies or grants for energy efficiency programs and; links to resources, community programs, organizations and events
|RESOURCES FOR ACTION|
|LOCAL TRANSPORTATION SOLUTIONS Facilitators: St-Lazare Councillor Geneviève Lachance (contact email@example.com)|
|Convince your company/boss to make your job home-based|
|Less air travel|
|Do more teleconferences/less face to face meetings|
|Plan your travels efficiently (reduce unnecessary trips)|
|Walk or use a bike!|
|Buy local, not global|
|Order local, expect delivery by electric cars|
|Carpool whenever possible – use the available apps|
|Encourage local grocery stores to have a ‘Local’ and/or ‘Quebec’ produce section for easy identification of low emission products|
|Impress on Council and regional elected officials the need to bring the |
REM to St- Lazare/Hudson (or at least Vaudreuil)!
|Establish an ‘Electric Car to Go’ program for our region|
|Create co-working spaces in St-Lazare|
|Impress on Council the need for electric garbage/recycling pickup trucks and school buses|
|RESOURCES FOR ACTION|
|RTM car pooling https://exo.quebec/en/trip-planner/carpooling/rtm-carpooling |
CREM Covoiturage – To set up a location in St-Lazare for car-pooling (Alexander Nizhelski au 450-651-2662 ou par courriel firstname.lastname@example.org) http://cr em.qc.ca/f r /pr o j ect/embar que-mo nter eg ie/?fbclid=IwAR3quScmVXjgMP9OprYnEVZb1wE4pWFyJm48761ByWPCUaQjVuuUOAkF0G0