2019 was an incredible year. Together, we changed the local climate conversation, engaged thousands in work to protect trees and green up neighbourhoods, and worked to make our city a safer place for pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users.
As we head into 2020, we drew up a list of New Year's resolutions that will shape our work together in the coming months. All of Ecology Ottawa's work is grassroots and volunteer-driven. Thank you for making this possible with your volunteer time and financial support. We look forward to the exciting year ahead!
Our New Year's resolutions:
1. Accelerate Ottawa's climate ambition. Just a few weeks ago, the City of Ottawa drew up more ambitious climate targets that reflect the requirements of the international scientific consensus. Ottawa needs to ramp up its climate efforts like never before, and this will make the next decade the most transformative in our city's history. The good news is, powerful local solutions are becoming increasingly clear. The urgent need is to organize the Ottawa community around them. In January, we will survey supporters to determine the next major rallying cry for our climate advocacy work.
2. Hold the line on urban boundary expansion. One of the most important climate decisions council will make in 2020 involves the urban boundary. The choice is clear: we can either continue business-as-usual development patterns and worsen urban sprawl, or we can hold the line on urban boundary expansion while protecting greenspace and enhancing transit affordability. We can only succeed if we organize. Sign our petition, join us as a volunteer, and be there for our Hold the Line rally at city hall in March.
3. Engage 15,000 Ottawans in tree planting, protection and promotion. In 2020, we will scale our tree promotion work to its largest size ever. We are giving away 15,000 trees at community events, festivals and at the door. Beyond their many environmental benefits, each tree provides an entry point to meaningful conversations about protecting Ottawa's environment and taking action at the local level. Get in touch to organize a tree event near you.
4. Push forward an urban biodiversity strategy for our city. Cities around the world are racing to tackle the biodiversity crisis with action at home. We know that urban areas - with their bright lights, road networks, tall buildings and pollution - can have serious impacts on a wide range of species. We also know that many biodiversity solutions are within cities' grasp. To protect our living city, we need a real plan with resources attached. In 2020, we will organize to accelerate the City of Ottawa's level of ambition on urban biodiversity protection. Join us!
5. Launch a local air quality monitoring initiative. We are pleased to announce a groundbreaking local air quality monitoring initiative in 2020. With teams of volunteers, we will collect and map air quality data - especially in areas close to day care centres and seniors' residences, where vulnerable populations are concentrated. This project is the beginning of a city-wide conversation on the links between transportation, climate change and public health. Let us know if you'd like to get involved.
6. Continue to push for Vision Zero. 2019 proved that the City of Ottawa still has a long way to go to make its streets safe and accessible for all users, especially pedestrians and cyclists. While Ottawa is making progress, it is unacceptably slow and incremental. There is a better way. Beyond more ambitious investments, the City can take bold policy steps to achieve Vision Zero - that is, to eliminate severe injury and death on our streets. In the process, we can build a more livable and climate-friendly city.
Wishing you a happy and green 2020,
Robb, Velta, Emilie, Clara, Jaclyn, Erik, Ginette and the entire Ecology Ottawa team