Grassroots Action

What makes the Sierra Club Canada Foundation so effective is our network of experts, partners and volunteers. Our chapters are engaged in many projects at the local level. Want to get involved? Contact our national office or your local chapter. If you have a dedicated group of members who want to lead their own projects within a region, you could start a Group. According to our organization's policy: Groups may be formed by any three or more members who wish to be active in their local community or within a larger geographic area, in relation to a particular conservation issue or issues, with the intention that the group exist on an ongoing basis. Otherwise, more time-limited local issues are to be managed within the auspices of the Chapter, or if none exists, then in co- operation with program staff working at the national level.

Key Issues for Environmental Justice in the Ontario 2022 Election

This is a key election for the environment and the future of Ontario. We can no longer afford to wait for the government to catch up on meaningful climate action. Sierra Club Canada Foundation is demanding stronger legislation that prioritizes people, the environment, and a liveable future. 

Below you will find the actions our members are calling for. You can reference this document for discussion when local candidates come to your door. Ask your local candidates what they plan to do to tackle the issues Ontarians are facing. 

Struggle Continues To Protect World's Purest Water In Simcoe Ontario

In Memory of Alicja Rozanska.

The Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Association (FoTTSA), a group of concerned citizens from Tiny Township, organized a protest to bring attention at Queen’s Park Legislation on United Nations World Water Day (March 22, 2022) about the quality of aquifers being threatened by aggregate mining in North Simcoe County. Around noon, the last speaker at their rally which had scientists, activisits, citizens, politicians and Native people speaking out for the protection of their aquifers, was Native elder Danny Beaton, a Turtle Clan Mohawk. 

Watch: Sierra Club Ontario member opposes plans to decimate key Niagara habitats

The Niagara region's new Official Plan threatens to promote urban sprawl, degrading key habitats for endangered species and impacting the region's thriving agricultural community. 

These plans have been made without any scientific due diligence to assess the impact of pushing development outside of urban areas. 

Dr. John Bacher recently spoke to the region's Planning and Economic Development Committee to stress three key points.

Webinar: Treaty 9 and Development of the Ring of Fire within NAN Territory

We invite you to learn about the historic context and current concerns related to the proposed Ring of Fire mining project in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Territory. 

Joseph Duncan, an Indigenous member from the NAN Territory and former chair of the Sierra Club's Ontario chapter, discusses the club’s work on a report for the government’s Regional Assessment of the Ring of Fire. Our report focuses on the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the proposed development including a survey of some local residents.

The $60 billion chromite mining proposal, referred to as the Ring of Fire, impacts 5,100 square kilometers of Northwestern Ontario. The area is rich in mineral deposits, peat moss, caribou, and many other species essential to Indigenous nations’ economy and culture. The region is home to the Indigenous people of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, with a population of 45,000. 

Treaty Nine was established in 1905, making the NAN Territory a sovereign nation. 

Repercussions of mining developments have significant impacts on the economy, environment, society and Indigenous nations' natural habitat, impacting their survival. Provincial and federal leaders hail the Ring of Fire proposal as a multigenerational opportunity that can economically and socially benefit communities. Unfavorable repercussions of surface and subsurface mining frequently include toxic waste material, long-term environmental devastations, and human rights violations. 

This presentation highlights parts of the research report Ring of Fire Assessment: An Assessment of Reflections From the Members of Nishnawbe Aski Nation Territory. We recommend you read the report in addition to watching the webinar.

Our speaker:

Joseph Duncan is an Indigenous member from Nishnawbe Aski Nation Territory, situated in Muskrat Dam First Nation. He is a former police officer who served with the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service for 14 years. After an injury ended his law enforcement career he has pursued higher education at Lakehead University completing degrees in Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism and an MA in Social Justice. Joseph is familiar with the political structure of the NAN Territory and ran in the 2021 election for Deputy Grand Chief of NAN. Today, Joseph teaches at Lakehead University instructing Advance Land Relations.

You can also watch all of our webinars at: www.sierraclub.ca/en/all-hands-on-deck-webinars

 

All Hands on Deck: A Telling Tale of Tailpipes

In Canada, roughly one-third of us live near a major road. We’re surrounded by traffic everyday. We pass by throngs of cars as we walk our kids to school; we sit in gridlock traffic driving to and from work; we hear cars whizzing by our homes that are located beside major roadways. Close proximity to major roads increases our exposure to air pollution, and the health risks that come with it. 

What do we know about traffic-related air pollution and what can we do about it?

Our webinar featured prominent researcher and University of Toronto professor Dr. Greg Evans. Dr. Evans’ research focuses on air pollution, and understanding its impacts on human health and the environment.

The webinar also featured emerging findings from a community-based air quality campaign, Breathe Easy. The campaign’s goal is to use citizen science to monitor local air quality and use the findings to inspire community action on air pollution.

Understanding traffic-related air pollution is a big first step to improving it - and protecting our health. Check it out below!

Sierra Club Ontario members oppose proposed urban expansions in Niagara

Proposals have been put forward to urbanize vast swaths of land via the Niagara Region’s new Official Plan. Planned urban expansions threaten Canada’s most biologically diverse Carolinian zone.  These expansions would impinge on land currently restricted for rural purposes, including habitats for many endangered and declining species.

Two members of Sierra Club Ontario (Dr. John Bacher and Danny Beaton) recently spoke to oppose planned urban expansions to the Niagara region. Click to see their full presentations. 

The holiday tradition we’d be better off without

Whether or not we actually celebrate Christmas, we’re often surrounded by images of a traditionally decorated living room during the holiday season. These scenes often include a lavishly decorated tree, neatly wrapped presents, stockings hung from a mantel, festoons of miscellaneous greenery, and of course… the log fire in the fireplace. There are many “inconvenient truths” about wood burning. Let’s start with one of them: no matter how dry and well-seasoned the fuel, wood smoke is a dangerous air pollutant. Sadly, wood burning is often unrecognized as a problem. It’s often socially acceptable to light a fireplace, even if it means blanketing a neighbourhood with harmful smoke.

Field Notes from a Citizen Scientist

I live a few hundred metres from the Queensway in Ottawa, and have long wondered about the air quality in the neighbourhood. Is my proximity to the highway and a major feeder road bad for my health? Ottawa is quite green, but is the air quality okay? After reading about the Breathe Easy campaign in an Ottawa Citizen article, I put my hand up to get involved. After a quick tutorial by the friendly local coordinator, Jake Cole, I set out to take some readings, and made a few observations along the way:

Decade of Change 2020 - 2030

It was in 2013, eight years ago when the carbon monitoring station in Mauna Loa measured levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at levels above 400 parts per million for the first time in human history. Since then, investigations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ascertain that we cannot let the atmosphere reach 430 parts per million of carbon dioxide to avoid global warming beyond 1.5 degrees, at which point there will be far reaching consequences for life on earth.

Open Letter: Stop Gull Island

October 13, 2021

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, Premiers of Atlantic Canada, and Elected Leaders, 

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals are calling on you as elected leaders to oppose the construction of the Gull Island mega-hydro project (Phase 2 of Nalcor’s Lower Churchill Project) and to protect the Grand River/Mistashipu (colonially known as Churchill River) in Labrador and other endangered rivers across the country.

Top 5 Tips on How to Make the Environment Your Top Issue This Election

Election time is a unique time where your decision-makers want to hear from you about the issues that you care about.

We want to empower you to connect with your local candidates on local environmental issues that are important to you. Here are our top 5 tips on how to get started.

Plastic Free July 2021 Wrap Up

Another year of the Plastic Free July Challenge has come to an end. I first want to thank everyone across Canada and the Great Lakes who participated in the challenge, your support means the world to us. We had a great time hosting the challenge and hope that everyone who participated enjoyed it as much as we did.

Thirty-one days of refusing, reducing and reusing. Thirty-one days of activities and action against plastic pollution in Canada.

Canada's Prairie Pothole Region

The Canadian Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) encompasses 467,000km² of wetland and grassland area stretching from Alberta’s Rocky Mountain foothills to Manitoba’s Red River Valley. The appearance of these ‘pothole’ structured wetlands, were formed by the movement of glaciers across North America, where the ice melted into the pools that are now the potholes wetlands we have today. The formation of the pothole region took tens of thousands of years during the Wisconsin glaciation period.