Ottawa needs environmental leadership. Will you join me? Read what Ecology Ottawa's new Executive Director, Josh Snider has to say about his experience with the environmental non-profit community in Ottawa and how he will help drive our goal of becoming the green capital of Canada.
To say that I’m thrilled to be writing to you today is an understatement.
Last week, I joined Ecology Ottawa as our new Executive Director... without a doubt my dream job. As a long-time volunteer and monthly donor, I feel honored and privileged to serve you, our team, and the local environment. Ottawa needs us all to step up and take leadership on the issues we care about most.
And so today, as we launch our critical year-end fundraising campaign, I’m appealing to you to help power the vital work ahead to help make Ottawa an environmental leader. All donations made before December 31 will be matched up to $5,000.
But my story with Ecology Ottawa didn’t start last week.
I moved to Ottawa in 2005, and was immediately struck by the incredible greenspace, proximity to nature, and how clean the city seemed. I was hooked by the welcoming, small-town feeling I got exploring different neighborhoods, and by the strong sense of community I discovered among residents. I quickly came to the realization that this was home and began to sink roots into the soil of this city that have only deepened since.
Not long after my arrival, some of Ottawa’s green sheen started to tarnish. The 2006 municipal election and its aftermath demonstrated that much work needed to be done to protect and advance the city’s environmental performance. The new mayor and council cancelled plans at the time to expand our light rail transit (LRT) system—a costly decision that set us years back, the impacts of which we are still dealing with amidst our current LRT challenges. It was clear that Ottawa residents couldn’t sit back and assume our leaders would prioritize the health and wellness of its people and the natural environment.
I knew I wanted to take action and help the city move in a more sustainable direction but didn’t know where to start. I felt voiceless, powerless, and alone.
And then I found Ecology Ottawa.
When my dear friend Sabrina started working for Ecology Ottawa around this time, I was grateful to learn about this new grassroots effort to galvanize leadership on the issues that mattered so deeply to me and many others in the community. I immediately signed up as a volunteer, rolled up my sleeves, and jumped in with both feet. I haven’t turned back since.
I began by lending a hand at Ecology Ottawa’s many community events, engaging with residents, learning about their hopes and concerns, and helping them channel their ideas and energy into campaigns to affect meaningful change. Over the years, my amazement at the impact Ecology Ottawa has on our community has inspired me to get more deeply involved.
I started the Great Glebe GREEN Garage sale to help reduce waste entering Ottawa’s landfills, served on the organization’s Steering Committee for a number of years, catalyzed the Depave Paradise initiative to help residents turn parking lots into gardens, and joined Ecology Ottawa’s Protector’s Circle as a monthly donor.
Joining Ecology Ottawa’s amazing staff team now feels like a homecoming. I’m super excited, but also know that I have much to learn.
For nearly 15 years, Ecology Ottawa has been at the forefront of environmental leadership and action in this city, helping to bridge the gap between community engagement and policy engagement. The organization’s extensive grassroots efforts have connected over 100,000 residents that share many common values, hopes, and concerns. We have helped inform residents about crucial environmental issues facing our city and helped amplify your voices among decision-makers. With your support, we have built a movement that has shaped and shifted policies that matter. Together, we have protected greenspace and waterways, stopped fossil fuel pipelines from running through the region, planted thousands of trees in every ward, ensured the city developed an ambitious climate plan, and much more.
There is much to celebrate, and it’s important that we take the time to reflect on the amazing accomplishments and progress we’ve made together. And yet—as we face a cascade of crises, from climate change to COVID, and look ahead to pivotal provincial and municipal elections in the coming year—it’s clear there’s so much more work to be done.
And we can’t do it alone.
As I step into this new role, it strikes me that Ecology Ottawa’s resources and capacity pale in comparison to the challenges we’re trying to address. Let there be no mistake, this is a small (but mighty) organization with insufficient funds to fully achieve our mandate. Our talented team needs further resources to engage more residents, develop deeper relationships with policymakers, and bring the two together to help ensure Ottawa reaches its full potential as the green capital of Canada.
Please consider investing in the future we all want by making a donation to our year-end fundraising campaign, helping us maintain a critical voice in environmental developments ahead. Again, all donations will be matched up to $5,000.
If you’re not yet supporting us as a monthly donor, we would benefit greatly, as a grassroots movement, to have your predictable support. If you’re already giving monthly, thank you for your generosity, and we hope you’ll consider making an additional gift to galvanize our important work ahead.
I look forward to working closely with all of you and earning your trust. I welcome your ideas, guidance, and participation in this exciting next chapter for Ecology Ottawa and our community.
Thank you. Wishing you a peaceful, loving, and restful season ahead!