Ask MPs for a Just Transition
Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, parents and grandparents in the For Our Kids network started organizing for a Just and Green Recovery from COVID-19. That work continued through the last federal election, holding our MPs to their election promises for a Just Transition Act; leglislation that could address the intertwined climate, social, and economic crises we are in.
Engaging our political leaders is a key thing we can do for our kids. Politicians aren't used to hearing from parents about climate change. Being contacted by concerned families is unusual, and helps apply pressure for urgent and accelerated climate action. Whether in a For Our Kids team or acting with your family or friends, join in:
Contact your MP
Find your MP here. Email or phone their office. Not sure what to say? Here are some ideas:
- let them know you are their constituent (living in their riding)
- if you've met formally with them before, remind them what you met about
- speak from the heart and share your concern about your kids' future if urgent climate action isn't taken
- ask them to meet with you about your concerns and the need for a Just Transition (and/or to present your Just Transition parliamentary petition - see below).
- If you have never met with your MP before and want some help to prepare, talk to us. We can share tips or connect you with parents that have done this work successfully. You can research your MP and where they stand on climate change and have some questions prepared. You could also watch this video with tips from two mothers about engaging politicians, or check out how this For Our Kids team got a meeting with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
- send them mail to follow up: include a note or hand-drawn picture from your child; older kids can add their own thoughts!
Gather signatures on a parliamentary petition
Download Council of Canadian's CLIMATE CODE RED TOOLKIT to get the tools you need to present a parliamentary petition about a Just Transition to your MP.
These are formal petitions that must be tabled by your MP in the House of Commons if there’s a minimum of 25 signatures. The government of the day is then required to formally respond within 45 calendar days. Get 25 friends or neighbours in your riding to sign and then deliver it to your MP!
Here's a tutorial from the Climate Emergency Unit on how to engage your MP with this petition, and how we'll know when we're making progress.
Background on the term Just Transition and Legislation in Canada
Some history and context about the term Just Transition from Climate Justice Alliance: What Do We Mean By Just Transition?
Learn more about the Just Transition Act in Canada from The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in their paper Roadmap to a Just Transitions Act or their video:
From this 350 Canada Townhall, with guests: Green Party Parliamentary Leader Elizabeth May and NDP Environment and Climate Change Critic Laurel Collins.
From Iron and Earth - a worker-led organization whose mission is to empower fossil fuel industry and Indigenous workers to build and implement climate solutions. They commissioned a poll that shows that 88% of fossil fuel workers are interested in training and upskilling to transition to a net-zero economy: Just Transition for working people.
From the Government of Canada's website: Just Transition.
Justice - Equity - Diversity - Inclusion
The JEDI-Accelerator committee formed from a need expressed by teams across the network to understand systemic racism and how it is manifested in the impacts of climate change as well as within the environmental movement itself.
Look for resources to be added here as the committee works through its goals of raising awareness and knowledge within and outside the FOK network, supporting work led by BIPOC communities and organizations, and integrating JEDI principles, policies and practices into the ongoing structure and work of FOK.
Here's an introduction to the JEDI committee shared at the Feb. 27 team leaders' meeting.
Interested in learning more and/or becoming involved with the committee? Email [email protected] or [email protected]
For Our Kids Nova Scotia
We are a group of concerned parents, grandparents and allies of children in Nova Scotia who are working to drive urgent climate action. If you’re feeling like you want to do something about the climate crisis, but aren’t sure what, please join us!
Join our community on Facebook.
We have 3 principal areas for action:
CONNECT – create accessible spaces for parents, grandparents and caregivers to connect in shared solidarity around the climate crisis and its impacts, learn about the climate emergency, and provide ways of taking action.
ADVOCATE – Advocate for climate action at all levels of government, and hold our elected officials accountable for their climate plans and promises.
AMPLIFY – Work to bring the campaigns, actions, and ideas of other organizations with shared goals to the forefront in civil society, industry, and government.
Welcome to the landing site to access resources, share ideas, suggest actions, and hopefully more as we explore the possibilities of this Teamspace! Please share your comments about what could be added here.
Apply for a small grant for your team
For Our Kids Slack Workspace
Along with social media, traditional media including newspapers, radio and TV offer great opportunities to reach others with your messages and actions.
Lots of people read the "Opinion" section in local papers and online, so letters to the editor and op-ed pieces are great ways to raise awareness and share your insight and opinion. Along with reaching other parents, sparking discussion and encouraging them to join you in meaningful action, you can also reach influencers by sharing your voice in a letter or op-ed, including elected officials. Commenting on letters and op-eds written by others gets you in the conversation.
Sending a well-crafted media release is key to getting coverage for your events, along with making connections with local reporters and editors.
Here's a checklist for you! It's compiled from the expert advice presented as part of FOK's Pitching and Placing session with Jennifer Moreau, former Burnaby Now reporter and founder of Babies for Climate Action New Westminster, and communications specialist Naomi Carniol of Springboard Communications Inc.
Jennifer's presentation "Getting Your Story Out" is available here.
And you can access Naomi's writing tips here.
Resources for Team Leaders
Organizing Your Team
Posted by Natalie Caine · June 23, 2022 11:44 AM · 1 reaction
Social Media 101
Posted by Natalie Caine · April 20, 2022 11:27 AM · 1 reaction
New Team Leaders Quick Links
Posted by Natalie Caine · April 20, 2022 10:56 AM · 1 reaction
New Team Leader Training
Training 1: Getting Started
Posted by Galen Armstrong · March 25, 2021 9:30 AM · 1 reaction
Training 2: Launch Party!
Posted by Natalie Caine · March 24, 2021 9:59 AM · 1 reaction
Training 3: Building the Team
Posted by Galen Armstrong · March 23, 2021 10:25 AM · 1 reaction
Learn together: Decolonization
An integral part of our work for climate justice involves recognizing and respecting the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples. For Our Kids teams live, work, meet, and act in communities that exist on land taken from many Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island, whether through unfulfilled treaties or outright occupation of unceded territory. Acknowledging that First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples are the original stewards of the lands is a first step, but to challenge colonization we must move beyond land acknowledgements.
The next step is actively learning about Indigenous histories, cultures and the impacts of colonization. While also unlearning the skewed or fragmented histories about Canada we have been taught.
We encourage you to do this learning collectively, either with your family/friends, in a For Our Kids team or by creating a community group to learn with. Just as our collective actions will have a bigger impact, so will our collective learning. We'll benefit from each other's insights and ideas for action, and we'll have support as we learn more deeply about the atrocities of colonization.
Here are some ideas to begin your learning.
LEARN ABOUT THE LAND YOU'RE ON
Find out more about the Indigenous land you’re on at native-land.ca.
Could your family or community group do research and learn together about the land you're on? Could you find out more about the traditional territories, languages, treaties, laws or agreements that govern those lands? Could your For Our Kids team share learnings at regular meetings or dedicate special meeting times to focus on this learning? Follow Indigenous organizations or governments on social media?
Here are some initial questions you could explore:
- What and whose territories are you on? How do Indigenous peoples refer to the place where you live, how is it pronounced?
- What languages are spoken?
- What Indigenous laws or treaties exist?
- What are Indigenous teachings on land stewardship and maintaining relationships with other-than-human beings?
- What are some things we can do to become stewards of the land?
There's also these great toolkits and terms of reference from educational organization Mikana:
You can enroll in these courses as an individual, but even better commit to taking one with your group. Set-up a group-focused discussion forum online (i.e. on Slack channel, private Facebook group, email list) or organize discussion-focused meetings.
- Home on Native Land: free10-part course on Indigenous justice in Canada and discover the myths, absurdities, and possibilities that are baked into the laws of this land. More info here.
- Indigenous Canada: offered by The University of Alberta's Faculty of Native Studies, it explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. It's about 12 weeks of study, and a 2 hours commitment per week. You can audit these course free of charge. More info here.
- Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education: offered by The University of British Columbia's Faculty of Education. It explores how Indigenous histories, perspectives, worldviews, and approaches to learning can be made part of the work we do in classrooms, organizations, communities, and our everyday experiences in ways that are thoughtful and respectful. In this course, reconciliation emphasizes changing institutional structures, practices, and policies, as well as personal and professional ideologies to create environments that are committed to strengthening our relationships with Indigenous peoples. It's a 6-week course, 2–4 hours per week. More info here.
- Aboriginal Worldviews and Education: offered by the University of Toronto's Faculty of Education, this course is intended for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal learners. The course explores indigenous ways of knowing and how they can benefit all students. Topics include historical, social, and political issues in Aboriginal education; terminology; cultural, spiritual and philosophical themes in Aboriginal worldviews; and how Aboriginal worldviews can inform professional programs and practices, including but not limited to the field of education. More info here.
Reading groups give us space to read at our own pace, and come together to reflect and discuss. Could your team organize a book club format to dive into deeper learning together? Here are some ideas of what you could read:
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Reports
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's (TRC) mandate was to inform all Canadians about what happened in residential schools. As a network of parents and guardians, it's especially important that we understand the trauma experienced by Indigenous families. Including the recent confirmation that thousands of children were buried nearby residential schools in unmarked graves. Indigenous families are in pain, still grieving and fighting to bring their children home.
You can find the PDF versions of the TRC reports here.
There's also a reading challenge you can participate in here, a pledge to read the report's 94 Calls to Action.
This video also shares the perspectives of a survivor and her daughter:
- Final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
The National Inquiry’s Final Report reveals that persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. The two volume report calls for transformative legal and social changes to resolve the crisis that has devastated Indigenous communities across the country. Find the report and more information here.
You can also watch this video about the launch of the National Action plan:
- Decolonization: A Primer
The project Reading to Decolonize offers a template to host a reading group on their reading series called "What is Decolonization: A Primer". You can contact the project here and ask for more information.
Bring Electric School Buses To Your Community
We've just launched our new Electric School Bus Campaign!
Get involved and help bring electric school buses to your community.
Together we can make these yellow buses go green - details here!
And sign-up here to stay in the loop of campaign news and info-sessions.
Ask Leaders to Sign Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty
Update: Montreal, Ottawa and Gatineau have all joined the list of municipalities endorsing the treaty as of January 2023!
This global movement is making its way to municipalities across Canada, with parents involved at every step!
What is the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty? It's an international campaign calling on governments at every level to commit to phasing out fossil fuels and supporting a just transition. Here's a link to more info.
Vancouver was the first city in the world to endorse the FFNPT, and now its neighbours in New Westminster, North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Burnaby have all joined. Toronto city council unanimously supported the treaty in summer 2021. They've joined cities across the US, Australia, the European Union, the UK and Costa Rica.
What can you do?
Encourage your municipality to endorse the NNPT. We can help! Sign up here and we'll follow up with you.
Join the FOK teams in Ottawa-Gatineau and Montréal, if you live close by, to help bring the motion forward to their city councils.
Learn more here about the public health care case for endorsing the FFNPT.
Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty signup
The call for governments to negotiate and ratify a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is a global movement to stop expansion, phase out fossil fuels and ensure a global just transition for all.
It's based on the same concept as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signed by world leaders more than 50 years ago.
The three principles behind the treaty are:
Non-Proliferation: Prevent the proliferation of coal, oil and gas by ending all new exploration and production
Fair Phase-Out: Phase-out existing production of fossil fuels in line with the 1.5C global climate goal
Just Transition: Fast-track real solutions and a just transition for every worker, community and country
Interested in asking your local council to support a FFNPT?
Sign up here and we'll follow up with more info!Sign up
Provincial election - Ontario June 2022
This space is for teams in Ontario to share resources and collaborate on actions leading up to Ontario's provincial election. If you're not able to access the documents shared to this page, contact [email protected]
The main strategy so far is to ask candidates a set of consistent questions, compile the responses, and share them publicly. Please let me know if you or your team is interested in this strategy, as we can provide the support.
Here are some suggested questions, along with information about finding local candidates and voting information. These are also being shared on FOK's public-facing page about the election: forourkids.ca/ontario_election2022
Please keep in mind that For Our Kids is a non-partisan network. We cannot endorse or denounce candidates or parties - we can only present the information we compile from legitimate sources.
Here are plenty more resources - these are also included in the public-facing page:
- Brief summary of major party platforms on specific climate questions, compiled by 4RGrandchildren
Template letter you can send to your school district, encouraging them to hold voter registration drives in high schools to support youth voting - thank you, Anne Keary from FOK Toronto for this!
Environmental Defence's Vote for the Environment campaign
Grand(m)others Act to Save the Planet (GASP) is an influential, strong voice for climate activists across Ontario - check out their election priorities here
The Ontario Climate Emergency Campaign is a non-partisan collaboration of groups developing a Climate Emergency Action Plan for Ontario and prioritizing the plan during the election campaign.
- Sierra Club Canada's key election issues cheat sheet
GreenPAC is supporting candidate debates in key ridings - find out more here
Ontario Voters Coalition is a new collaborative undertaking to identify priority issues for candidates and report on platforms
Talk About Climate Change
People still don't talk enough about climate change in social settings, which can lead to a bit of a "circle of silence" as everyone assumes that nobody else is thinking about it since nobody is talking about it, so it must not be important. People are also more likely to listen to those in their social circles more than they trust experts, scientists and climate organizations. You can break that silence with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Not in a preachy way, but in a way that expresses your concern and asks others about their thoughts.
Thinking about how to tackle climate change can feel daunting and overwhelming. It's been proven over and over, through research and anecdotally, that connecting with others who share our questions and concerns encourages and empowers us to take action, which in turn helps us to feel less overwhelmed. It can also help empower someone else, or encourage them to think about it too.
Starting a conversation can be daunting in itself! Whether you're speaking to someone you've known for years or someone you've just met, it's hard to know how to begin.
Dr. Katharine Hayhoe has become an expert on how to talk with people about climate change - even those who could be seen as climate change deniers - and more importantly, why it's critical for us to do so. Here's her TED talk from 2019, and here's a more recent interview on the same topic.
You can also check out this helpful #TalkingClimate Handbook from Climate Outreach.
Email us and let us know that you're practicing talking about climate change. Share with us questions that are coming up or your key learnings so we can share with the network: [email protected].
Hope Matters with Dr. Elin Kelsey - Oct 2021
An inspiring and solutions-focused workshop! In Oct. 2021, Elin Kelsey led parents in an exploration of the eco-anxiety, weariness and disempowerment we and our kids are experiencing and how we can find sources that enable us to support kids to move beyond feeling disempowered by the doom and gloom of media reporting towards meaningful engagement.
Learn more about Elin and her work on her website, including a link to the Existential Toolkit for Climate Justice Educators website, which showcases an extensive collection of climate change communication resources for enhancing engagement while navigating the climate emergency.
Toast, Hail, Boast!
During the workshop, Elin shared her Toast, Hail & Boast strategy and invited participants to
toast someone present for their meaningful climate action,
hail someone not present, or
boast about their own meaningful climate action.
We loved this idea so we set up a special page to continue this positive storytelling and reporting on climate action that is making a difference - if you have a toast, hail or boast to make, please share it with us.
Canada's 2030 Climate Plan - Your Chance to Weigh In
Remember Bill C-12, Canada's first emissions-reduction accountability act?
It outlines the federal government's responsibility to set targets for cutting GHG emissions, and plans to meet those targets, every five years from 2030 to 2050. The ultimate target is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. You'll find a handy timeline here.
It's also about public consultation as part of setting targets, and public accountability for meeting them.
Public consultation on the first target goal for 2030 is open online until end of day January 21st. Because of the incredibly short timeline, happening over the holidays and amid unpredictable back-to-school and work schedules, we've tried to make it as simple as possible for you to provide input. Here are some options:
Quickest: Find suggested responses here
Individual responses are more meaningful than template ones, but don't let that stop you. If you agree with these suggested responses, copying and pasting them into the online survey is a good way to let the government know you are a concerned citizen. Rewording them to reflect your own thoughts if possible is even better! Especially if you add a few lines about your story as a parent, grandparent, or caregiver advocating for the kids who will be directly impacted by the actions taken over the next 8 years.
Have 1-2 hours? Read more before responding
The submissions portal includes a fair bit of helpful background information. It takes about an hour to read through the pages before submitting responses, and having time to reflect more deeply on the questions will allow you to be more thorough. You can save your responses as you go, so no need to complete the whole survey at one time.
Deep dive: Additional resources
Here's an amazing toolkit developed by Climate Messengers including comprehensive research on each topic covered in the survey and a range of ideas for responses. Our thanks to Climate Messengers for sharing their work and insights.
Whichever action you take, please share with your networks and encourage others to do the same. With so much on their plates, parents can feel this kind of action is too much to take on - meaning their voices are often missing from these discussions, where they are most needed as advocates for our kids.
Ecoanxiety as Fuel for Action: Feb 2021
For parents and grandparents experiencing the mental and physical strain and fatigue that comes with acknowledging the climate emergency we all face, Dr. Courtney Howard offers a way forward.
Here's some insight and inspiration from Dr. Courtney Howard, from her session with For Our Kids and Moms4Healthy Recovery on Feb. 11. We encourage you to find a quiet place to settle in and watch this affirming 30-minute reflection on where your sustainable energy comes from.
About the Presenter
Dr. Courtney Howard is an Emergency Physician in Canada's subarctic, a Clinical Associate Professor in the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, and is Past-President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. She led the 2017-2019 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Briefings for Canadian Policymakers and was the 2018 International Policy Director for the Lancet Countdown.
Dr. Howard has researched menstrual cups and wildfires, and led policy work and advocacy regarding ecoanxiety, movement-building, active transport, plant-rich diets, divestment, carbon pricing, coal phase-out, hydraulic fracturing and Canada's oil sands. She sits on the boards of the Canadian Medical Association, Health in Harmony, the Global Climate and Health Alliance, the Steering Committee of the Planetary Health Alliance and the Editorial Advisory Board of the Lancet Planetary Health.
Her plans for 2021 include finishing off a dance video exploring eco-anxiety (filmed in a melting snow castle!) and publishing CODA Change's Top 10 Action Items for a Healthy Recovery. There is much good mischief to be made -- onwards!
Climate Change and Your Child's Health: Oct. 2020
Oct. 1, 2020 - Co-hosted by MD Moms 4 Healthy Recovery and For Our Kids, this session featured healthcare and climate specialists sharing their personal and professional insight on how climate change affects children’s health and how parents can help children deal with the outcomes.
Each speaker is captured in an individual video, and a panel session with all five speakers is included at the end.
Dr. Anna Gunz is a paediatric intensive care doctor at Children's Hospital, London Health Sciences Center and Assistant Professor at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University. Prior to medicine, she did a degree in geography, which essentially focused on the ecological, social, economic and political aspects of climate change. Recently, she has worked to align her interests, working on various research endeavors that strive to better understand the effects of climate change on child health, as well as improve healthcare facilities' understanding of necessary mitigation and adaptation measures.
Dr. Daniel Bierstone is a paediatric resident in his final year of training at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Ottawa. He obtained his medical degree at the University of Toronto. Daniel has a special interest in healthy childhood development, Indigenous child health, and newcomer health. He is one of the resident leaders of a paediatric clinic held at the Centretown Community Health Centre and participates in weekly paediatric clinics at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health in Ottawa. Daniel is a member of the Canadian Paediatric Society and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. He has written op-eds (like this one) on the importance of climate action for children's health, and lives in Ottawa with his wife, who is finishing her family medicine residency, and their three young children.
Dr. Warren Bell has been a family doctor for more than 40 years in Salmon Arm, BC, and is past founding president of Canadian Physicians for the Environment 25 years ago. He is engaged in advocacy work from the municipal to the international level. His integrative practice includes insight-oriented psychotherapy. As part of this panel discussion, he will present his perspective and evidence of the psychological effect of climate change on children, including the impact of family displacement from wildfires, floods and extreme weather events.
Andrea McDowell has worked in the environmental field on climate projects for over 20 years, most recently for a Public Health unit, and has been an environmental advocate and activist since high school. She is also a type 1 diabetic, and single parent to a disabled teenager.
Echo McDowell (they/them) is a disabled Dundas teenager who is passionate about human rights and being creative.
Echo is planning to talk about the paradox faced by disabled people who have the expertise and authority to deal with emergencies and disruptions and at the same time find themselves needing more care in the context of climate emergencies.
What Parents Can Do (panel discussion)
From the Heart: May 2020
For Our Kids' first Mother's Day event! Be inspired!
Natalie Caine from Pour nos enfants/For Our Kids Montreal presents the five lessons she's learned from her climate activism, and tips for those just starting out.
Tarlan Razzaghi from For Our Kids Vancouver talks about how she found a community that came together as a team through their shared concern about the climate and their children's future.
Marie-Eve Leclerc shares the story of Mères au front, a Quebec-based group started by a handful of mothers who came together through a mutual feeling of despair about the climate crisis, and which has grown to more than 3,000 members. You can find out more about the Green Heart campaign, on which For Our Kids is collaborating with Mères au front, here.
Mackenzie Harris delivers a stirring account of what inspires her, as a student activist with Fridays for Future Guelph and national organizer with Climate Strike Canada.
The "gorgeous, sun-struck soul" (Globe & Mail) of the Reid Jamieson Band adds a beautiful musical element to the session with two live performances.
Enjoy and share this recording with the mothers and climate activists in your life!
What's a Green Recovery All About? April 2020
April 17, 2020: Calls for a #Green and Just Recovery came from organizations across the country and around the world. This information session featured Merran Smith, mother of two and Executive Director at Clean Energy Canada, discussing what the elements of green recovery could look like at the federal and provincial levels in the wake of COVID-19, and the politics we need to get there - including how parents and grandparents can play a role.
Music from FRASE
Coping and Well-Being in Unpredictable Times: March 2020
March 2020: Unpredictable times due to the Covid-19 pandemic had just begun, and parents were looking for guidance and reassurance.
For Our Kids' first virtual webinar featured Dr. Nicole Racine and parents across the country in a discussion about coping and resilience for children and parents during COVID-19. Dr. Racine addressed common stress responses in children resulting from social distancing and home isolation and responded to parents' questions about reducing stress and promoting mental well-being - for themselves and their children.
About the presenter
Dr. Nicole Racine is a child psychologist and research fellow at the University of Calgary. Her research examines how child adversity influences health and well-being and what promotes resilience after adverse experiences. In her clinic practice, she works with children, youth, and their families to promote mental health and well-being. She currently lives in Calgary, AB with her partner and young toddler, where she enjoys taking in the mountain air whenever she can.