By Gord Ball, Susanne Laperle and Fred Larsen – Special to SUNonline/Orillia
Mayor Steve Clarke has declared September, 2021 as Sustainable Orillia Month. It will be a month-long program of information, education and practical advice, organized by Sustainable Orillia designed to engage citizens and help make our community more sustainable.
In his announcement, Mayor Clarke said, “There is no question, climate change is here – contributing to the extreme heat, forest fires and flooding now regularly occurring around the world. Recent reports and studies suggest that our current targets are too low and potentially too late. They emphasize that we must take more meaningful action to reduce our carbon emissions now.”
“Reducing our environmental footprint is embedded in our mission statement,” the Mayor said, “and achieving sustainability requires that we all, as individuals, businesses and organizations be informed and be prepared to make short and long-term decisions that move us towards a more sustainable future.”
“Sustainable Orillia Month is one of the ways we can do that; bringing together expertise and experiences dedicated to furthering our knowledge and to promoting actions that will move us towards net zero emissions.”
Sustainable Orillia Month provides Orillia residents with opportunities to be informed and engaged. Along with the rest of the world, Orillia must reduce its carbon pollution by moving away from burning fossil fuels. Mayor Clarke referred to the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which confirmed the world climate is dangerously close to a climate-chaos tipping point and that human activities – primarily burning of fossil fuels and deforestation – are unequivocally to blame. The study stresses only humans can reverse it by removing oil, coal and gas as the central energy sources powering our economies.
This year’s Sustainable Orillia Month will focus on how to reduce carbon emissions and move our community down the road to net zero emissions. The month starts strong with Sustainable Orillia Week at the Orillia Square Mall from September 11 to 18. There is a jam-packed lineup of events planned, starting with an Electric Vehicle Demo outside at the mall where visitors are invited to explore EV ownership with more than 20 vehicles and their owners. Inside a number of EV experts are lined up to lead short, in-person seminars, including:
- The EV Revolution, hosted by popular YouTube personality Ken Bokor
- The Electric Vehicle Network, hosted by Darryl Croft, president & co-founder of the Electric Vehicle Network, an EV only used car dealership.
- The Electric Boat Industry – hosted by Jeff Butler, president of Plus Boats, and
- Sustainable Living – hosted by Ian Graham from the Small Dog Studio of Kitchener/ Waterloo, focussing on powering your lifestyle with clean, renewable energy.
All of these seminars are free, less than one hour in length, and repeated throughout the weekend to ensure physical distancing. Check our website for times and locations.
Through the week of September 13 to 18, there will be a display of sustainability-inspired art by local artists, featuring the recent winners of Sustainable Orillia’s two Thematic Art Competitions. After September 18 this show will go on the road, visiting two local galleries for the balance of the month. Also that week at the mall there will be volunteers at tables with information on both Sustainable Orillia and the EV Network.
In addition,Taking the Emissions out of Public Transit, a live webinar happens Monday, September 13 from 6 to 7 p.m. led by renowned David Suzuki Foundation expert Gideon Forman who will address electrification of Orillia’s public transit, bike lanes and transportation policies.
Closing out the week is the ever-popular Repair Café, hosted at the mall by Lake Country Time Trade and the Orillia Repair Café. Volunteer fixers will be on-hand to assess and help repair a range of household items. Email OrilliaRepairCafe@gmail.com for more information and to register.
Other events are planned for the month including a series of free webinars and in-person workshops being scheduled throughout the month. These will be listed on our website as they become finalized. All events, whether virtual or in-person, are free of charge and COVID-19 Public Health protocols will be maintained at all in-person, public events.
Sustainable Orillia is a network of citizens committed to improving the quality of life, the health and wellness and the environment in our community. We want to thank all of the partners, contributors, sponsors and volunteers who are working to make the 2021 Sustainable Orillia Month the most relevant and productive experience for everyone involved.
(Photos Supplied – Pixabay)