On April 22, 1970, change leaders John McConnell and Gaylord Nelson brought people together to demand, in response to the growing global environmental crisis, that we do more to take care of and preserve our planet. 

This date is marked in our calendars as ‘Earth Day’, a day to take action in support and celebration of environmental conservation. Past Earth Days focused on large gatherings to promote feelings of community and unity - such as students coming together to pick up litter in their local communities or activists gathering to mass march at Queen’s Park, Toronto. 

Although we were not able to be together physically this year, there are still numerous ways in which we can contribute to protecting our environment, while actively trying to find ways in rebuilding our sense of community.

Since its founding, ICL has partnered with environmental groups and activists taking action to protect the environment and ensure that future generations get to enjoy a healthy and thriving planet. Here’s an overview of some of the work we’ve done:

 

ECOLOGY CANADA 

The work that Ecology Ottawa does is based on the understanding that mobilization relies upon the ripple effect that can be created from one positive conversation which then extends out through family friends neighborhoods and communities in order to produce widespread solidarity and support. ICL provided training to new and experienced canvassers in order to build outreach capacity and learn how to start those important conversations that can eventually lead to change at both local and national levels. 

HEALTHY TRANSPORTATION COALITION NOV TRAINING OTTAWA 2019

We partnered with the Healthy Transport Coalition, a group that focuses on community organizing, research, the need for effective policy and infrastructure, with the goal to build more livable communities. ICL trained their activists on the fundamentals of community organizing. Their strategic goal: secure $12 million in the 2019 Ottawa City Budget for affordable housing near rapid transit – housing that would allow more people to rely less on driving to get around the city. ICL worked with them to hone their story, teach recruiting and canvassing skills, and map out a strong theory of change with an action plan. By February 2019 their work had paid off: the city proposed $30-million to build 250 new units, many of which would be built near transit.

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE 

In the area of environmental justice, ICL has partnered with organizations such as Environmental Defence, where their entire communications team learned how to take a complex environmental message and turn it into a public narrative that is relevant to everyday people, touching, and moves them to action.

SUSTAINABILITY NETWORK 

ICL taught a webinar with the Sustainability Network on how to make Parliament work for environmentalists, in support of their mission to strengthen environmental nonprofit leadership.

The Institute for Change Leaders is brought to you by the Faculty of Community Services at Ryerson University.

Ryerson University