Marianne Ariganello

Marianne Ariganello's latest activity

Ottawa parents gain support for more natural spaces

Have you ever seen the monoculture grass on the sides of streets and thought - why can't that be flowers and pollinator habitat?  I had that thought for a few years, especially when I learned that a friend of mine (who ran a daycare) had planted a pollinator paradise of native plants and milkweed for monarchs and due to a bylaw complaint, was told to cut it all down or face a fine. It took a few years (and a few more bylaw complaints from neighbours) before we were able to gather a mass of passionate and motivated individuals to act on this bylaw (Lesson learned #1: simple emails to our councillors were not sufficient to move the needle towards a change that would be equitable to all residents of Ottawa, not just ones that had sympathetic councillors.)

Along with Ecology Ottawa and the Envirocentre, two significant environmental organizations in our city, we worked with Councillor Rawlson King to bring a motion to Ottawa City Council. The motion was brought to the Transportation Committee by Councillor Laura Dudas and presented on May 4 by Councillor King (who we primarily worked with). There was some very interesting insight about "neighbour wars" (e.g. complaints councillors frequently see between two neighbours) but overall councillors were in agreement with the motion and were glad to see that the bylaw was *finally* being updated. For Our Kids parent Raewyn Khosla delegated at that meeting and provided some great answers to questions from the councillors. The motion has now passed city hall and we can't wait to see what the new bylaw draft looks like in 2023 (Lesson learned #2: city bylaws don't change quickly).

Why did I want to make this happen? Because urban cities NEED better green space and there is SO much climate benefit to planting (especially native) plants wherever we can. During our research it became apparent that planting native plants wasn't just good for pollinators, it improved the soil quality of the green spaces, helped to keep the water in the water table and not overwhelm our stormwater systems, captured carbon, improved access green space and supported mental health (not only by seeing the beautiful plants but also planting them, and building community by chatting with neighbours!).

Here is the strategy we employed:

  1. Identify key people who have expertise we don’t and find people who are passionate about this change.
    • We met a few times virtually to flush out what we wanted to ask, which councillor made sense to work with and started drafting a letter to the councillor

    • We chose a councillor that was on the environmental committee who we knew was active in the community and would appreciate the value of the bylaw change 

  2. Schedule a meeting with a city councillor (one of our parents was a constituent in their ward) and explain what we would like to accomplish and how we hope to help. [the "how we hope to help" was key]

  3. Provide a detailed letter to a councillor.  
    • Connect the dots between why the action is important and how it aligns with the city’s climate action plan. Here is our letter

    • The letter went through many drafts in collaboration with other local environmental groups including Ecology Ottawa and Envirocentre (relying on their expertise with the municipal system) 

  4. Provide a substantial resource document like this one that can help city staff with their work.  
    • We highlighted other cities that have successfully implemented this bylaw or something similar.

    • We also met with experts across Ontario as well as other municipal governments and asked if they would be willing to provide advice or support to city staff. We included the contact info in our resource document  

  5. Follow up a few times with the city councillor. We were also prepared to launch a petition if there appeared to be resistance to the idea to show that the support of this bylaw was city wide (we didn’t need the petition in the end, nor our "jingle" - see below)

  6. Delegate at any city council or sub-committee meetings where the motion would be presented.

We hope this helps anyone who may be wishing to naturalize green spaces in their cities! Don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions!

Let it Grow.. Let it Grow.. Don't Mow it Down anymore....

Let it Grow. Let it Grow.. Walk away it's one less chore...

Please let me.. help the bumble bees..

[Yes we even drafted a jingle - though we haven't yet made our Frozen music video yet!]

published Eco-hope: 2022-06-07 22:59:55 -0700

Eco-Hope: A Conversation for Parents

Eco-hope: A Conversation for Parents

Wednesday June 15th - 8 pm EST

Feeling overwhelmed or anxious about climate change?
As a (grand)parent, maybe you are worried about your child(ren)'s green future? You are not alone!

Join For Our Kids Ottawa/Gatineau parent and psychotherapist, Nathaniel J., for our second facilitated discussion on what we can do with our limited free time to act and provide hope.

Nathaniel has over a decade of experience with an interest in trauma healing and promoting hope and resilience in the face of the climate crisis.


We had an amazing conversation in May with many parents and grandparents. This will be our last conversation before we break for the summer.

Register for the zoom link.

Climate Chat about Don't Look UP

Lot's of people are talking about the Netflix Blockbuster Don't Look Up!

Join in the discussion with Ottawa Gatineau For Our Kids Parent

***NEW DATE!  March 4th at 8 pm

Whether you saw the movie or are not sure you want to watch.

Whether you were inspired by the movie or left wondering.. "what now?"

Let's talk together as a community of parents.

It is our pleasure to have FOK parents and psychotherapistsNathaniel Jewitt and Shannon McCloskey to guide and facilitate the discussion.

Nathaniel is an FOK parent and a counsellor/psychotherapist with over 10 years experience, and an interest in trauma healing and promoting hope and resilience in the face of the climate crisis. 

Shannon is an FOK parent and psychotherapist with an interest in climate emotions and hope. 

They both hope that this discussion will lead to an ongoing conversation group with FOK parents, to help address climate anxiety and accompanying feelings of isolation and powerlessness.  Action is an antidote to anxiety, and so is community!

Bring your beverage of choice, popcorn and your inner movie critic. Pop in whenever bedtimes and kiddos allow.

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Tell Ottawa We Need Renewable Electricity for All of Ontario by 2030

Clean, renewable energy is a viable, reliable, and less expensive way to power Ontario's electricity needs - but the provincial government's plan is to invest in gas plants instead.

We have a chance to demand a clean energy future for our kids.

In September, Ottawa City Council will be asked to support a motion to request the Government of Ontario to develop and implement a plan to phase out gas-fired electricity generation by 2030.

We plan to delegate at the Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management. We will be submitting the following document to the committee and would like to include your signature, do demonstrate that many residents of Ottawa are in support of phasing out gas-fired electricity generation by 2030.  Please sign and share.  (And once you sign, send a copy of the document to your city councillor AND your MPP, explaining that you support a gas-phase out because climate action is a major election issue for you.)

Why does our petition ask for your address? It makes for a stronger petition if we can actually demonstrate to our city council that the names are "real" residents of Ottawa, and city councillors take more notice when it's "their" constituents that have signed the petition.  So if you don't want to give your entire address, just your postal code would be great! 

Here are some additional facts that you may find interesting:

Transmission upgrades along existing corridors between Quebec and Ontario would significantly increase the amount of hydro power Ontario could import. These upgrades could cost upwards of $1.44 B, which is relatively low compared to the $25.8 B it would cost to rebuild Ontario’s ten aging nuclear reactors or the $3 Billion Ontario recently spent on purchasing gas plants.  

The Rocky Mountain Institute (a US-based, independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization of experts across disciplines working to accelerate the clean energy transition) estimated in its 2019 report that the projected drop in the cost of clean portfolios means that clean energy  sources are likely to be cheaper than the operating costs of 90% of gas plants, as early as 2035. The Growing Market for Clean Energy Portfolios, 2019, Rocky Mountain Institute.

You can read Shawn Menard's Motion below (will open in a new window).


of a 100 signature goal

As parents, we represent the “everyday” citizens of Ottawa: voters, taxpayers, and most importantly,  parents concerned that with every passing day there is more evidence that our children’s health, well-being, and future existence is being directly and seriously impacted by climate change.  We fully support phasing out gas-fired electricity generation by 2030.

It’s clear on all counts, made even more apparent with the recent IPCC report, that phasing out gas and transitioning to renewable energy would provide multiple short and long-term benefits to the health and well-being of all Ontarians, not just those of us in Ottawa.

Why we support phasing out gas-fired electricity generation by 2030.

A. Research and real-world examples show that solutions already exist with the capability to meet the reliability needs of Ontario’s electricity demands, and those solutions have been proven to work at the scale needed.  

For example, the Ontario Clean Air Alliance’s report: Phasing Out Ontario’s Gas-Fired Power Plants: A Road Map provides clear direction for how replacing natural gas with renewables in Ontario would be achievable by 2030. (It shows how Ontario could reduce electricity consumption by 50% by 2030 just by implementing energy efficiency measures.) Further, a study undertaken by the Pembina Institute showed that  “non-emitting renewable energy portfolios [such as wind, solar, battery energy storage] can reduce consumer costs along with climate and health impacts while delivering the same or greater services as gas plants.” (1)

B. Financially, phasing out gas will be economically advantageous to Ontario families. It is clear that renewable energies are the energy sources of the future.

Wind prices (at 3.4 to 7.0 cents/kWh) and solar prices (at 3.8-5.5 cents/kWh) are lower than Ontario Hydro’s current mid-peak rates of 9.4 cents/kWh. Prices are expected to continue falling through to 2030. (2) Water power is also a reliable source of electricity and has been offered to Ontario from Hydro Quebec at a very favourable price of 5.0 cents/kWh. As a practical example, the city of Cornwall has sourced its electricity from Hydro Quebec for the past 50 years and its residents pay an average of 35% less than Hamilton residents and 40% less than Toronto electricity customers.

C. Phasing out gas-powered electricity generation will have an enormous benefit to human health.

The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE)’s Call to Action on Climate Health concluded that chronic exposure to fine particulate air pollution resulting from the burning of fossil fuels resulted in 7,100 premature deaths in Canada per year and annual health-related costs of $53.5 billion. (3) 

The Government of Canada recognizes the impact of emissions on planetary and human health and says ”burning fossil fuels (such as coal and natural gas) and petroleum-based fuels (such as diesel and heavy fuels) has negative impacts on our environment and human health including producing a large part of Canada’s air pollution.” (4)

Children are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of air pollution and climate change as a result of fossil fuel combustion. Due to their rapid growth and immature immune and detoxification systems, unborn children and young children are particularly affected. (5)

The impacts on human health are significantly higher for members of vulnerable communities, particularly low-income and racialized communities, who are most often physically situated closer to the sources of pollution and least resourced to be able to deal with the impacts.  

D. For a safe planet we need to rapidly decarbonize our economy. The recent IPCC report has made it clear: GHG emissions hasten climate change, leading to more frequent  dangerous heat events, more extreme weather events such as flooding and drought which threaten  food and housing security, and above all, irreversible damage to the environment.  

Gas expansion is inconsistent with the Paris Agreement goals. In fact, the IPCC report says “Most scenarios see power generation almost completely decarbonized by mid-century, even in a 2°C world (IPCC, 2018, p. 112).” (6)  In addition, according to the recent International Energy Agency (IEA) report all new fossil fuel projects must be stopped if we are to have a chance at meeting the goal of net zero by 2050 (7). 

From a legal perspective, Ontario is currently being sued by seven youth climate activists for rolling back the province’s climate targets and replacing them with a significantly weaker 2030 target. (8) If, as in a growing number of jurisdictions around the world, the applicants win the case, this will put any plans to ramp up gas plants in jeopardy. Indeed, it would render such plans a liability. 

The choice is clear: ramping up gas-plants production would take Ontario backwards;  phasing-out gas plants and investing in renewable energy and the transmission of available hydro power from Quebec would help propel Ontario forward into a clean energy future, and help protect the health and safety of our kids.


(1) Reliable, affordable: The economic case for scaling up clean energy portfolios, Oct. 2019, Pembina  Institute 

(2) The Growing Market for Clean Energy Portfolios, 2019, Rocky Mountain Institute

(3) Howard C, Rose C, Rivers N. Lancet Countdown 2018 Report: Briefing for Canadian Policymakers.  Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Public Health Association, The Lancet; 2018 November

(4) production/electricity-generation.html 

(5) Perera F. “Pollution from Fossil-Fuel Combustion is the Leading Environmental Threat to Global Pediatric  Health and Equity: Solutions Exist” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,  2018  

(6) p. vi. 




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Do Politicians Really Get the Consequences of a Weak Climate Action Plan? Parents Do.

As parents, we hoped strengthening Bill C-12 would be the best way to secure a safe climate future for our kids - Were we wrong?

by Dr. Marianne Ariganello

When Bill C-12 was introduced in November 2020, I, like many parents turned climate advocates, was buoyed by the fact that it seemed that our elected officials were FINALLY acting on climate change.  The Bill wasn’t the greatest Climate Accountability Plan (CAP) written but given the IPCC nine year countdown for strong climate action, it seemed that a parent’s best hope for a livable planet for our kids was to strengthen the bill rather than start over. For Our Kids Ottawa / Gatineau (an organization I helped facilitate) joined more than 10 other parent-led climate advocacy For Our Kids (FOK) groups across Canada and began to strategize: what did we need to do to make this Bill into a CAP that WOULD be strong enough to prevent climate chaos and its consequences for our kids.  We met online, studied analyses by environmental groups, and came up with key points of change, all this while working around kids’ nap times, home schooling, meals and bedtimes. Our motivation was to truly make this a law that would protect our children from the most devastating effects of climate change 

Then, we let our elected officials know.  We reached out to our MPs and to every member of the standing committee that would review the Bill. We met with them, sometimes more than once. It was surprising and a bit scary to realize that some MPs who would be responsible for one of the most important climate bills had so little understanding of the gravity of the situation. So, as parents, we also became educators. 

Some red flags popped up along the way. Before the Bill made it to second reading, the government named members to the CAP advisory body - a body which is supposed to be independent and comprise experts who know the science of climate change - prompting Elizabeth May to call the action a  “disrespectful pre-empting of the committee review of the Act”.  It was also disappointing that the NDP MP Leah Gazan’s private members Bill C-232, which included many improvements to Bill C-12 like requiring full involvement of Indigenous peoples, was quickly defeated in the House. 

As Bill C-12 proceeded through the House, parents became increasingly uncertain. Elizabeth May voted against the Bill at second reading: did that mean it would be a better strategy to defeat the Bill and start over again? But knowing that climate scientists have globally called for at least 45% reduction in emissions by 2030, would it be reckless to wait for an election and hope a new government would draft a stronger bill?  Was there even a chance of drafting and passing a stronger Bill? 

Things have become even more concerning during the standing committee review. Only 34 witnesses were invited to give testimony to the committee (the selection is made by individual committee members); for a total of 9 hours of testimony and questioning over 3 meetings.  By comparison, Bill C-10, an Act to amend the Broadcasting Act, has already had 20 meetings and heard from 110 witnesses.
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The vast majority of Bill C-12 briefs submitted by experts and members of the public (87%) weren’t made available to committee members until after the committee chair’s deadline for proposed amendments. Clearly the committee members couldn’t have taken them into account before proposing amendments to the Bill. They also were hearing testimony from witnesses up to 24 hours before the deadline for amendments. Why the rush?   “I think it really makes a mockery of inviting the public to send comments when amendments are due before the comments are received.” Elizabeth May commented during the committee. Even Dan Albas commented that the committee needs to think about its process, but merely suggested they do better “next time”.

Equally important are the voices left out of the discussion because they were not invited or not able to provide testimony: climate scientists that could speak toward the need for urgency, Indigenous communities and knowledge keepers, and youth, the generation that will inherit the consequences of this government’s choices. And finally, there is the elementary school recess-like behaviour from committee members. “We don’t want to play ball with Lizzie” is effectively what Liberals and NDP members did by voting down any amendments that were not proposed by themselves. This was noted by Bloc Quebecois MP Monique Pauzé, who asked: “Is this an ideological reason, that people didn’t want to vote on the Greens' (amendment) but are ready to vote on the government’s? I’m wondering,”  We might expect this childish behaviour from our children but this is certainly not appropriate from our leaders.  And so, parents across Canada are left wondering and worried: were we wrong to think that our government was mature enough to listen to its elders and the experts and improve a weak bill to protect the future for our kids?

As parents, we often speak about natural consequences to poor choices and inappropriate behaviour and I think it is time for parents across Canada to remind our elected officials that there is a very obvious political consequence that can happen in 2022. The problem: the natural consequences to weak climate legislation in the meantime are devastating. We can’t wait. We need leaders who WILL heed expert advice, take the time needed to listen and to strengthen Bill C-12 so that it can become a law that is able to protect our planet and our children. 

Please use our template letter to contact the standing committee AND your MP. The standing committee is meeting on Monday Jun 7th - so don't delay. (The letter includes all the emails you need).

Need a bit more inspiration?  Listen to Dr Kelly Martin's moving testimony on the health impacts of climate change and why we are in a race that we must win for our kids. 

Are you interested in reading the 6 briefs submitted by parents belonging to various For Our Kids groups across Canada, you can find them here:

For Our Kids Vancouver

For Our Kids Ottawa/Gatineau

For Our Kids Montreal 

Joint Submission by Babies for Climate Action Vancouver, New Westminster, Sustainabiliteens and Doctors for Planetary Health - West Coast

For Our Kids Toronto

For Our Kids North Shore

From the C-12 submission from For Our Kids Vancouver

Return to For Our Kids Ottawa/Gatineau Main Page  or For Our Kids National Page

(Marianne Ariganello is a scientist, parent and organizer with For Our Kids, a national network of parents and grandparents advocating for climate action for the sake of their children. She co-leads a For our Kids advocacy group in Ottawa)

signed up on Sign-up_Foret 2021-05-08 12:43:14 -0700

Rejoignez-nous pour sauver la forêt Champlain

Veuillez saisir votre adresse e-mail afin que nous puissions vous contacter (le téléphone et l'adresse sont facultatifs). Nous promettons de ne pas surcharger votre boîte de réception de messages! Vous recevrez un e-mail de suivi vous demandant comment vous souhaitez vous impliquer.

Vous pouvez toujours nous contacter à [email protected]

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La Forêt du Corridor Champlain


Faites entendre votre voix !

Si vous pensez que la forêt faisant partie du corridor Champlain ne devrait PAS être le site choisi pour un méga projet d'infrastructure, faites-vous entendre - avant qu'il ne soit trop tard. Lirez-le ici

D'après les critères définis pour le site, il y a de fortes chances que la forêt Champlain soit le site du nouvel hôpital.

Le site aura une superficie de 150 000 m2 (37 acres) - c'est un espace énorme.

Les terrains qui font partie de la forêt appartiennent à la ville de Gatineau, au ministère des Transports (Québec) et à la Commission de la capitale nationale (gouvernement du Canada).

Souhaitez-vous rester informé ou nous aider avec notre campagne pour sauver la forêt Champlain? Inscrivez-vous ici.

Les choses sur lesquelles nous travaillons.

1. Écrivez à votre conseiller, à votre député provincial et à votre député fédéral. Voir les liens ci-dessous. (Un modèle de lettre sera bientôt publié).

2. Bientôt nous lancer une pétition en ligne 

3. FAITES PASSER LE MOT. Plus les gens exprimeront leur inquiétude, plus les décideurs seront à l'écoute.4. Commençons à documenter la biodiversité de la forêt - et rassemblons les études précédentes. Notez que cette forêt fait partie d'un corridor qui va du parc de la Gatineau à la rivière des Outaouais. On sait déjà quand trouves des espèces rares ici. De tels corridors sont très importants pour la faune et la flore et sont plutôt rares dans cette région.

Nous ne disons pas non à un hôpital ; l'amélioration des soins de santé est nécessaire dans cette région. Cependant, il faut choisir un autre site pour la construction - un site qui ne soit pas dans une forêt appréciée par tant de gens, ni dans un corridor vert.

Voici quelques coordonnées :

Députés provinciaux :

Bureau du maire et conseillers :

Député (Hull/Aylmer) :

Ou :




Tell the City of Ottawa we need Urgency in a Climate Emergency







Parents remind Ottawa City Council - We need Urgency for a Climate 

April 24th will mark the two-year anniversary for Ottawa's declaration of a Climate Emergency.

And what have we seen in the past two years?  
* An increase in our urban boundary (sprawl is considered to be "Ontario's tar sands" due to its effect on carbon emissions)
* Limited funding for the City of Ottawa's Energy Evolution (they were going cut the meager $300 000 budget by almost 80% in June 2020 until we stood up for climate!)
* Increased road expansions (Strandherd) and Millions of dollars on road infrastructure
* An official plan that doesn't put the planet or the people of Ottawa first
* Limited funding for new sustainable transportation infrastructure
* A climate resiliency plan that won't be ready until at LEAST 2023
* We are STILL waiting on funding/rebates for retrofits to building

Parents, we need to MAKE SOME NOISE. These are not the decisions of a city who is serious about a climate EMERGENCY.  

So what can you do?

First: Send your city councillor an email telling them that you ARE concerned about climate change and need our elected officials to be leaders to get us out of this crisis!  We have a simple draft you can use here!

Second: Families take a 20 sec video. If you have made a sign about the Climate Emgergency use it. “In a climate emergency, a city needs to...xxxxx “e.g. protect the tree canopy”.  Send your submissions to us using this email.

Bonus: if you feel comfortable, state your councillor or ward. Do your kids want to be involved? Great!

"Dear Councillor xxx, As a parent in your riding, I am concerned
about climate change. In a climate emergency, a city needs to

Not sure about a video - Here's our Small ask:
Simply send us a photo of your sign (Bonus if you can get your kids holding the sign (Faces could be hidden by the sign :-))

No sign? Print or write out a copy of our simple Urgency Poster.

Ideas to say on video.

Keep it simple:  "Dear Councillor xxxxx.  I am a parent and I am worried about climate change. We need urgency in a climate emergency."

Or talk about something that concerns you, like:

  • a culture that supports active transportation vs infrastructure for cars”

  • safe and connected paths for active transportation.

  • affordable housing and food security, because we know crises disproportionately affect the marginalized in our communities

  • divesting from fossil fuel infrastructure (e.g city vehicles should be electric or people-powered..imagine if bylaw officers traveled by e-bike!)

  • human health is threatened by climate change and the city needs to act quickly and with urgency.


Send your photos and videos to us using this email

Next steps:
For Our Kids Ottawa/Gatineau will be posting these videos on social media with a message to city council: "City of Ottawa, councillors, mayor Watson, are you ready to commit to protecting the future for our kids? We have been waiting 2 years and our planet cannot afford to wait any longer”. We need you to start acting like we are in a climate emergency or parents will need to find leaders who WILL invest in a healthy planet and a safe climate for our kids

Ottawa's Climate Emergency Declaration Lacks Urgency

April 24th will mark the two-year anniversary for Ottawa's declaration of a Climate Emergency.

And what have we seen in the past two years?  
* An increase in our urban boundary (sprawl is considered to be "Ontario's tar sands" due to its effect on carbon emissions)
* Limited funding for the City of Ottawa's Energy Evolution (they were going cut the meager $300 000 budget by almost 80% in June 2020 until we stood up for climate!)
* Increased road expansions (Strandherd) and Millions of dollars on road infrastructure
* An official plan that doesn't put the planet or the people of Ottawa first
* Limited funding for new sustainable transportation infrastructure
* A climate resiliency plan that won't be ready until at LEAST 2023
* We are STILL waiting on funding/rebates for retrofits to building

Parents, we need to MAKE SOME NOISE. These are not the decisions of a city who is serious about a climate EMERGENCY.  

We are going to place pop-up art installations around Ottawa (5 locations) to bring attention to decisions the city has made (or is considering) that don't put the climate first.  

What can you do?
1) Help us make some pop-up art.  This could be silhouettes of your children, trees, butterflies, bicycles or just a sign with the message "We need urgency in a climate emergency" 
2) Take photos of you and your kids making the signs so we can share with the media
3) Gather signs from other parents, Ecology Ottawa will help us set up the demonstration at the various sites
4) Make a 1 min video about the decisions you have seen Ottawa make that don't reflect a climate emergency. Or decisions you would WANT to see
5) Help us spread the message by sharing on Facebook, twitter and instagram starting on April 24th, . #WheresTheClimateUrgencyOttawa   #ClimateEmergencyLacksUrgency  #2yearsLessTalkMoreActionOttawa 

Examples of Text to put on the poster (or just ask your kids: what do they love that Ottawa should protect?)

- Biodiversity needs to be protected
- Zoning Changes should protect our environment
Public Transit needs to be accessible to all residents
- We need to invest in bus routes
- We need a Transportation Plan that will increase and improve  bus routes not exchange one route for another.
- “Revenue Neutral” means a car-centric city. 

- Invest in Public and Active Transit
- Climate Health is Human Health
- Residents, particularly those marginalized are already feeling the health effects of climate change.
- Investing  in climate action is investing in Prevention. It costs less 
- We need to reduce the number of cars in our city
- Invest in sustainable not fossil-fueled transportation.
- Bike infrastructure needs to be CONNECTED and safe (what is the speed limit on strandherd).
- City Council: We need greater ambition and less red tape
- Ottawa: We need climate leaders
- We need urgency in a climate emergency
- Tone-deafness on climate emergency
- We need to be investing in Fossil Fuel Solutions not getting stuck in them (e.g. buying more Gas-powered city vehicles)
- Protect our Tree Canopy

Black History and Climate Action

Have you heard of these Black Women who have been protecting our world and advocating for environmental action?

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist and policy expert. She is the founder of Urban Ocean Lab (think tank on the future of coastal cities), co-founder of The All We Can Save Project (an initiative to support feminist climate leaders), co-host of How to Save a Planet (podcast on climate solutions) and founder of Ocean Collectiv (consulting firm for conservation solutions). What an incredible amount of climate solutions! But it doesn't stop there, she has also authored 2 books!Also the co-founder of Blue Halo Initiative, she led the Caribbean's first successful island-wide ocean zoning effort: protection of 1/3 of Barbuda's coastal waters., Dr. Johnson co-created the Blue New Deal, a roadmap for including the ocean in climate policy.

Have you heard of GreenGirlLeah? Find her on FB, Insta or her website. Understanding that communities of colour are most exposed to poor air quality and environmental conditions (black residents have a 1.54x higher burden than the overall population), she focuses on environmentalism and anti-racism and has a strong youth following on social media.

"Intersectional environmentalism is an inclusive version of environmentalism that advocates for both the protection of people and the planet. It identifies the ways in which injustices happening to marginalized communities and the earth are interconnected."

Wangari Maathai 
I learned about Wangari Maathai - renowned Kenyan Environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner - when I was in university and she was featured in an exhibit about the Earth Charter International movement. She founded the Greenbelt Movement to respond to the needs of rural Kenyan women (see link posted in comments!)Now, as a parent, I cannot think of a better person to emulate for my children in these uncertain times.Watch this short animated video of Wangari Maathai to be inspired yourself or together with your children. She died in 2011 but her spirit to never give up is more important than ever.Words to live by: "I will be a hummingbird" and "I will do the best that I can"

Dr. Ingrid Waldron

"Everyone wants to talk about environmental justice, nobody wants to talk about the racism part of it." Dr. Ingrid Waldron

We have been highlighting some amazing Black environmentalists this month. For our last #BlackHistoryMonth post, we would be remiss to not directly speak to environmental racism in Canada.

Hogan's Alley (BC), Leamington (ON) and Shelburne (NS) are only a few examples of Black communities facing environmental racism here in Canada. A UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent recommended that “Government of Canada should encourage federal, provincial and municipal governments to seriously consider the concerns of African Nova Scotians and help to develop legislation on environmental issues affecting them.”

Dr. Ingrid Waldron is an Associate Professor in Faculty of Health at Dalhousie and is the Director of Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health Project (The ENRICH Project). She authored "There's Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous & Black Communities." The book examines environmental racism in Nova Scotia, focusing on Black and First Nations communities. The book was made into a documentary in 2019, which you can find on Netflix. thank Dr. Waldron for bringing this important topic front and centre, and to a global stage.

Combating Environmental Racism in Canada:Over the next few weeks we will also be talking about Bill C-230, A national strategy to redress environmental racism in Canada.  This is up for a vote in March. It was introduced by Nova Scotia MP Lenore Zann.  A Canadian first, it would require the environment minister to develop a national strategy to redress environmental racism. All parties should support its passage.Zann was inspired to draft the bill after encountering Ingrid Waldron’s research into the causes and effects of toxic industries near Mi’kmaq and Black Nova Scotian communities.

published Submission letter C12 in StrengthenC12 2021-02-04 01:33:55 -0800

Submission to Standing Committee regarding Bill C-12

Thank you to everyone who has signed their name to our Submission Letter. We submitted this brief with more than 90 signatures.  

Because of your actions, the Standing Committee for Environment and Sustainable Development heard from parents and grandparents: the current form of Canada's Net-Zero Climate Accountability Plan is not strong enough to protect our children from climate change. 

Dear Minister Wilkinson and Bill C-12 Subcommittee,

We are parents and grandparents from the Ottawa/Gatineau chapter of For Our Kids. We are a network of parents and grandparents acting on our vision: a just and sustainable world where our kids can grow up healthy and happy. We represent 8 ridings in Ottawa/Gatineau and are made up of a variety of ethnic, cultural and professional backgrounds.

We recognize the World Health Organization’s statement that climate change “is the greatest health threat of the 21st century.” Our children are already living in a time of unprecedented loss of biodiversity and increasing natural disasters caused by climate change. Our children, and those unborn Canadians, will bear the brunt of our choices today. We are thrilled to see the development of C-12 Climate Accountability Act, and the commitment to make into law  net-zero greenhouse gas  (GHG) emissions by 2050.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that achieving 45% GHG reductions by 2030 AND achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 are key to keeping the rise in the global-mean temperature to 1.‍5°C above pre-industrial levels and minimizing climate-change related risks. 

The omission of the 45% reduction in the current form of the bill is misleading. IPCC benchmarks require both 45% global GHG reductions by 2030 and net-zero by 2050 to keep any chance of stopping warming at 1.5%. The Act currently does not address the importance of 2030 as identified by the scientific community. We expect Canada to be a bold and ambitious global leader rather than what we are now- one of the biggest contributors to GHG per capita according to the OECD.  

During the 2019 federal election, the Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau’s leadership promised that it would exceed its NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) if elected. Well, Canadians did elect a Liberal government and we ask you to live up to your promise. As the Bill moves through the House of Commons, we urge the committee to:

  1.       Set a 2025 milestone. We are a year into this pandemic, we need a green recovery and a plan in place for 2021-2025. 2030 is just too late.
  2.       Ensure all GHG emissions reduction targets are legally binding.
  3.       Follow scientific recommendations to and reduce emissions below the 2005 levels by at least 60 percent by 2030.
  4.       Establish three-year carbon budgets and reports, with independent oversight and consequences for overshooting budgets.
  5.       Require mandatory annual progress reports on Canada’s GHG emissions reduction targets to inform planning and help Canadians adapt to a changing climate.
          Explicit penalties for not meeting the targets areis needed. Without clear consequence to one’s actions, the Bill has no teeth (one only needs to look at
          repercussions around not following COVID regulations).
  6.       Include reporting on climate risks and impacts that can inform policy and carbon budgets within the Minister’s assessment reports every five years..
  7.       Establish a framework to enable provincial, territorial and federal governments to share responsibility for meeting our long term targets.
  8.       Ensure that an arm’s length advisory committee is created, composed of, at a minimum, independent climate science experts and Indigenous leaders, and advise on
          targets, gaps, emission reduction plans, impacts and adaptation. The UK has set up a very effective advisory board and could be the prototype for the development
          of this committee.
  9.       Establish a Citizen’s Assembly on Climate Change to work alongside the advisory committee.                                                                   

We are hopeful that you will include these recommendations in the Bill, making it truly effective and establishing a clear path to a net-zero future.

Thank you for your work on helping Canada achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions, for us and more importantly, for our children.

Yours sincerely,

For our Kids Ottawa/Gatineau

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Banks and Indigenous People

Did you know? By divesting from fossil banks we follow in the footsteps of Indigenous peoples. Indigenous parents and grandparents have been putting their bodies on the line to protect the Land, the Waters, the Air, all of Creation. For their own families, and all children seven generations into the future. It’s time for the rest of us to join them.

If you want to show solidarity with the Indigenous peoples who have been impacted by banks and fossil fuel industries here are some things you can do:
A. Watch this video about a divestment action taken by Indigenous activists and their allies:

B. Speak to your bank about the horrific (some say genocidal) effects of tar sands extraction on Indigenous peoples and the territories that sustain them. You can add the following to your letter to your branch:
“As one of your customers and as a parent, I’m deeply concerned about your bank’s massive lending to fossil fuels at a time when we need to be rapidly phasing them out. I’m also concerned that your bank funds projects for which free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples has not been obtained, violating the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

C. Read this powerful and detailed statement by Indigenous activists from across Turtle Island:

D. Forward this letter to your branch and identify a piece from the letter that spoke to you.
For more about our January action of the month to hold banks accountable visit

Letters to Banks

Are you ready to take your knowledge of Fossil Fuel Investments/Lending by Big Banks to the next level?

1) Send a letter to your bank
Our friends at Climate Pledge Collective have written these sample letters to the five biggest polluting banks.

BMO. CIBC RBC ,  Scotiabank TD

2) Talk to your branch manager.

Here are some talking points. 

2) Open a bank account for you children at a credit union.  Tell your bank that the next generation will not be supporting their dirty ways.  One example is Alterna Savings, which is a full-service institution.

3) Deliver a message to your physical bank.
- As COVID restrictions allow, hold up a sign and stand outside your bank. Take a photo. Wave (The bank tellers aren't the enemy!)
- Use snowbanks to prop up a poster beside your bank.  We like using Silhouettes of our kids. "Invest in Us not Fossil Fuels".
- If there isn't snow on the ground, use sidewalk chalk to send your message.

4) Act in Solidarity with Indigenous Women
The big banks aren’t just violating our planet, their violating indigenous sovereignty by investing in projects that trample on indigenous land.  This moving and well-researched letter has been signed by dozens of Indigenous activists.  Amplifying their voices by sending an additional copy is an important act of solidarity.  We explain the connection a bit more here.

5) Email your friends. Tell them why you are contacting your bank.  They may not be interested in the environmental aspect yet, but they should be interested in the financial one..fossil fuel stocks have been decreasing rapidly.. staying in fossil fuel investments is bad for the pocketbook.

Learn more: Watch this video by Climate Pledge Collective explaining the action and the larger campaign on January 24th.

Read more here: 




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Signez la pétition

Cher maire Watson

Chers conseillers municipaux,

For Our Kids Ottawa / Gatineau représente un groupe d'environ 400 parents de la région capitale, et nous sommes très préoccupés par le fait qu'Ottawa n'a toujours pas commencé à agir après avoir déclaré une urgence climatique il y a déjà 18 mois. Pour l'avenir de nos enfants et de nos petits-enfants, nous voulons vous voir prendre des décisions audacieuses immédiatement.

Aujourd'hui, Ottawa fait face à trois urgences: 1) une urgence climatique, 2) une urgence en matière de logement et d'itinérance et 3) un état d'urgence pour gérer la pandémie de COVID-19, une pandémie qui a clairement révélé les profondes inégalités entre les sexes et les minorités raciales dans notre ville. Ces urgences sont liées, et nous ne pouvons plus mettre une crise de côté pendant que nous travaillons sur une autre; l'itinérance ne va pas se mettre en pause pendant la pandémie, et le changement climatique encore moins. La Ville ne peut plus faire face au changement climatique en silos, car il est évident que le changement climatique a un impact sur la santé, l'itinérance, et ses effets sont inégalement répartis entre les races et les statuts socio-économiques.

Nous avons besoin que le conseil de la Ville d'Ottawa prenne des décisions, tant budgétaires que politiques, sous l'angle de la santé, du climat et du logement. Vos décisions aideront-elles à inverser la crise climatique ou nous enfermeront-elles dans un avenir d'émissions de carbone à outrance ? Vos décisions soutiendront-elles tous les groupes  de populations, racialisés ou non, minoritaires ou non, ou vont-elles ne servir que certaines parties de la population ?

Vous vous réunissez le 4 novembre pour décider de l'avenir de notre ville. Voici où nous voulons voir l'action:

Évolution énergétique (EE): Les études ont été réalisées et publiées, c'est maintenant le moment de la mise en œuvre de la stratégie recommandée. Nous vous demandons d'allouer et d'utiliser l'excédent de 2,6 millions de dollars d'HydroOne sur cette stratégie ; d'agmenter le budget EE au cours des prochaines années (à partir du budget de la ville, pas à partir d'un surplus qui n'est pas une certitude)

Action pour le climat: comme indiqué dans EE, l'un des plus grands émetteurs de dioxyde de carbone de notre ville sont les véhicules, et pas seulement les véhicules personnels. Investir dans l'infrastructure d'énergie propre pour notre ville - autobus électriques de transport en commun, camions à ordures, etc. Offrir des subventions et des rabais pour que les véhicules électriques soient accessibles à tous les citoyens (en partenariat avec le gouvernement provincial / fédéral et en maximisant toutes les subventions).

Investissement dans notre système de transport en commun. Les tarifs ne peuvent pas continuer à augmenter , surtout dans un système mal conçu et peu performant. Nous appuyons le plan de quartier de 15 minutes - nous voulons voir un financement dans le budget de ce plan. Limitez l'expansion inutile de nos limites urbaines et assurez-vous que l'intensification soit effectuée de manière à maintenir l'important couvert forestier.

Mettre pleinement en œuvre toutes les améliorations identifiées dans le plan de gestion de forêt urbaine et s'engager à atteindre un objectif de couverture de la canopée de 40% pour protéger et agrandir notre forêt urbaine. Les espaces extérieurs sont importants pour la santé mentale et physique, ce qui a été mis en évidence pendant la pandémie. Nous devons veiller à le protéger activement.

Investissements: Nous voulons que la Ville renonce à ses investissements dans les combustibles fossiles et transfère ces fonds dans des projets verts ou les utilise comme capital pour des infrastructures respectueuses du climat.

Mettre la conversation sur l’action climatique au premier plan des discussions et des communications de ses conseillers avec les résidents. Le changement climatique est une menace importante pour nos vies et nos dirigeants doivent en parler plus fréquemment.

La pandémie a montré que nous ne pouvons pas revenir à "la normale", car c'est notre normal qui nous a mené à la pandémie, à l'urgence clmatique et à la crise des sans-abris.

Vous êtes nos élus,  vous avez une opportunité historique de prendre des décisions audacieuses qui transformeront le futur de nos enfants pour les années à venir. Nous comptons sur vous pour apporter une nouvelle norme saine et sûre pour tous.

Pour nos enfants Ottawa / Gatineau

Our Children's Future Is Worth Investing In - Art Installation



A climate emergency was declared 18 months ago and we have been waiting to see the changes.

For the future of our children and grandchildren, we need to see bold and immediate action.

The 2021 Budget needs to reflect that we are in a state of emergency due to climate, COVID and homelessness. These emergencies are related, and we can no longer put one crisis aside while we work on another; homelessness will not “wait”, nor will climate change.

On Tuesday November 17th, coinciding with the City's Standing Committee on the Environment, parents installed a temporary art display and read our open letter to the city.

We need you to amplify the voices and concerns for our children. Here is how you can be involved:

📸 Take a photo of your cutout or the park display and send it to your councillor and Mayor Watson. "We need you to be our leaders. We need bold and immediate climate action for the future of all children." Tag us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter so we can amplify the message

🌱You can also “plant” your silhouette on your front lawn or get a group of parents to make your own pop-up art at your local park (save emissions and make our message more visible).

✍️ Sign and share our open letter to the city.  (Feeling inspired? Use our letter to draft your own personal email to your councillor and Mayor Watson to make a greater impact)

 The city budget will be voted/approved on December 9th, we need to make sure it is one that protects the future of our children.

Wants some tag lines?

Our children’s lives are worth investing in. Call on city council to fund bold and immediate climate action.

Our children need clean air and a cool planet not wider highways. Prioritize budget 2021 for our kids.

This pandemic has revealed the importance of green space. Protect our tree canopy. Protect our climate. Protect our kids future. Budget 2021

Urban sprawl is the oil sands of Ontario. We need walkable communities and a transit system that is affordable and assessable to everyone.

Divest from fossil fuel infrastructure and investments. The city has both a moral and financial responsibility.

Our children will inherit our poor decisions. Make better ones: invest in climate action and divest from fossil fuels. Be the leader in Ontario