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May 2019

Welcome to the GNN newsletter! GNN is a grassroots network of people and groups working to make Toronto greener, healthier, and more sustainable. Find out more, join us, or volunteer on our website and visit our calendar for upcoming green events.

May is bringing you more than just flowers! In this issue we have:

GNN News Update

GNN Joins GreenPAC 100 Debates Project – you can join in too!
The Federal election this fall will be a pivotal one for Canada’s policies on climate change and other important environmental issues. Now more than ever, it is critical that these issues get the attention and thoughtful discussion they deserve. That’s why GNN has joined the 100 Debates Project, organized by GreenPAC, a nonpartisan NGO working to promote Canadian environmental leadership. Very simply, the idea is to hold environmentally focused all-candidates debates in 100 ridings across Canada on a single day (October 7, 2019) shortly before the fall’s Federal election.
We hope you will be as excited about this initiative as we are. GNN’s role is to help GreenPAC find local organizers for pre-election debates in each riding across the city of Toronto. That’s where you come in.
  • Would you like to see an environmentally-focused pre-election debate in your riding? Can you spare some time to help set it up? Please let us know and we will link you up with other interested folks in your riding. Our partners in Green PAC will provide guidelines, tips and other resources so no experience is necessary.  
  • Is your group already planning to host a debate in your riding? Please let us know about that as well.
  • Finally, GNN’s 100 Debates Coordinating Team also needs volunteers. Are you interested? Want to find out more? Let us know. We’d love to have you on our team!
GreenPAC’s 100 Debates Project is a new and exciting opportunity to ensure all parties have clear environmental policies and to give those policies the importance they deserve in the upcoming Federal Election. Volunteer now to join in and help make it happen!
Trinity-St. Paul’s Fund Supports GNN’s Work
We are delighted to report that the Public Witness Circle of Trinity St. Paul’s United Church has chosen GNN to receive one of its annual operating grants of $2000, renewable for up to three years. The Circle awards the grants to groups advancing its charitable goals, in this case for GNN’s ongoing efforts to build a city-wide network of green groups. As a volunteer group accustomed to doing more with less, we are honoured and humbled by this award, and excited by the new opportunities for action it will bring. 
GNN Welcomes Two New Partner Members

This month we’re excited to welcome two respected organizations, Park People and EcoSpark, as new Partner Members of our Network.
Park People is widely known for its success in building community support for parks and local green spaces across Toronto and other Canadian Cities. Its approach to incubating local community park groups has been a  major inspiration for GNN.
The second group, EcoSpark, works to empower communities to take an active role in protecting and sustaining their local environment. They are known especially for their creative citizen-science programs that offer students and youth hands-on-encounters with local and global environmental issues.
We look forward to collaborating with both these groups on projects that will help to grow our Network and enrich our connections to local communities.

Zero Waste Team News

For those interested in attending the next GNN Zero Waste Team meeting, please contact Colin at
Secondhand Sunday
Thank you to all of you who participated in the last Secondhand Sunday event on April 28th! Please consider taking this brief survey to help us make the event better and expand it across the city.

Please also consider joining the Secondhand Sunday newsletter so that we can stay in touch with you about upcoming events.
Right to Repair Bill Update
The Right to Repair bill proposed last week in the Ontario House of Commons was not passed. Big tech companies like Apple are reported to have had a hand in the result through their lobbying efforts. Over 20 US States have brought similar bills forward and nothing has yet passed. However, this is just the first step. The automotive repair industry (car mechanics) fought for almost 8 years before automakers agreed to provide repair solutions for on-board electronics. Without years of advocacy, you would still need to take your vehicle to a dealer instead of your local repair shop every time a sensor malfunctioned. Lawmakers supporting Ontario's Right to Repair bill indicate that the effort can be taken to the federal level following the upcoming election.
Zero Waste Fair
Join in Toronto's 2nd annual Zero Waste Fair this Saturday, May 11 from 11am - 6pm. This is part of the 7th annual Spring into Parkdale Sidewalk Festival & Night Market that takes place along Queen St W from Roncesvalles to Dufferin! Visit the Zero Waste Fair itself in the outdoor Parkdale Amphitheatre at 1258 Queen St W (in the first block betwn Dufferin & Noble).

We will have a number of great activities and events taking place, including:
  • A package free pop-up by Bare Market, Toronto Tool Library and The Upcyclery, with reusable cloth gift wrapping demos by Sophi of Toronto Tool Library and Your Eco Friend (just in time for Mothers Day)
  • DIY rugmaking interactive activity for all ages by Creative Reuse Toronto showing how to upcycle textiles
  • Hand mending of your items that need minor repair (like buttons or patches) by Parkdale Sewing Repair Hub
  • Interactive mini workshops on baby wearing, cloth diapering and more by Doulas on Bikes
  • Electronics donation drop off with local social enterprise Free Geek Toronto
  • Tiny toy pieces collection drop off to be upcycled by Tiny Toy Co.
  • New unused travel size toiletries donation drop off for Sistering
  • New unused, non-perishable food items donation drop off for Parkdale Community Food Bank
You will also have a chance to learn more about:
  • Food waste and how to reduce yours, by Second Harvest
  • Plastics law changes coming and opportunities to take action, with Toronto Environmental Alliance
  • Initiatives to promote reusables and reduce unnecessary single use plastics with Roncy Reduces, StopPlastics, and StrawlessTO
  • Compost, local edible gardens and more with Greenest City
  • Rain Gardens and more with Toronto Green Community
  • The Waste Wizard, TO Waste app, 3R's Ambassador program, Free PollinateTO native plant kits, Home Energy Loan Program, and more with Live Green Toronto
  • How you can get involved with local residents in green activities in your neighbourhood, with GNN member Green Parkdale & Roncesvalles!

More zero waste related exhibitors will be sprinkled throughout the festival too!

For more information, visit, Facebook or Twitter, or the Parkdale Village website.

Political Engagement Update

ClimateFast Action in May

Citizen deputations organized by Greenpeace and ClimateFast spoke at the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on April 25th in support of Mike Layton's motion to study climate costs and consider action against fossil fuel companies for costs. You can find information about this here.
Many cities across Canada, including Vancouver, Halifax, Hamilton, London and Ottawa, have already declared a climate emergency. If you are in support of Toronto doing the same, be sure to sign this petition.

ClimateFast is also continuing to work on a real Peoples Climate Plan for Ontario. For more information, or to support the climate plan, visit To volunteer for ClimateFast, please email Any help is welcome!

Outreach & Member News

Updates on The Meadoway
Please visit for updates related to a recent public meeting that was hosted about this exciting project in Scarborough. To join The Meadoway newsletter, please contact

Volunteer Opportunities

Green Group Members Current Volunteer Opportunities
Tabling Assistant Volunteers
Green 11 and GNN Zero Waste Team are looking for volunteers to help with tabling at Councillor Mike Layton's Bike with Mike event on Sunday, May 26th from 12pm - 5pm at Christie Pits Park. You can find out more about Bike with Mike here.
The Zero Waste Team will be facilitating awareness about zero waste through displays and workshops, and Green 11 will be engaging people in community visioning and Dotmocracy activities. We will be incorporating some of these engagement elements at the May 12th Environment Day as well. If you have an hour or two to spare on either May 12th or May 26th and would like to volunteer at these fun events, please contact:
Welcome to the Team!

We would like to welcome Aarthi and Michelle, our two newest volunteers at Green Neighbours Network. Aarthi is our GNN Technology Team Lead and will be helping us leverage different technology tools and resources that will enable us to work more efficiently. Michelle is our GNN Event Planning Team Lead and will be helping us organize and plan the different activities related to upcoming GNN events. We are excited to have both of them on board!
Michelle Young is originally from New Zealand and has been living in Toronto for two years with her husband and two dogs. She has over five years of event planning experience and is looking forward to putting her expertise to work helping to promote GNN and educate the public on how we can make Toronto and the world greener. In her free time, Michelle enjoys reading, taking her dogs to the park, and listening to music.
Aarthi is originally from India and has over 6 years of experience building technology products that bring efficiency. She is passionate about applying technology for social good and it gives her great satisfaction to put together tools that will allow smart work. She is inspired to see people coming together for a larger purpose of preserving their immediate environment and she is excited to be a part of GNN.

GNN Member Events

Carbon Conversations - Scarborough
May 11
1:30pm - 4:30pm
Scarborough Village Community Centre
3600 Kingston Road

This is your opportunity to engage with local residents and Scarborough neighbours about climate change and how we can all work to address the issue. Learn more
Community Mapping Workshop - Etobicoke
May 12
2pm - 4:30pm
Richview Library
1806 Islington Ave.

This pilot initiative led by GNN, Toronto Green Community and ClimateFast, will give Etobicoke residents the skills needed to map assets, resources, and areas of interest in their region. If you are looking to carry out community activities, this will allow you to consistently have a chart to refer to!
Project Drawdown: Solutions to Reverse Global Warming  
May 15
7pm - 9:30pm
Swansea Town Hall
Rousseau Room, 95 Lavinia Ave.
Come out to this free, interactive Green 13 event and find out what you can do to help reverse global warming! The evening will present an inspiring an empowering approach to the issue, based on the latest research from over 200 scientists and researchers from around the world. Find out more
Wychwood Barns Park Tree Tour and Stewarship Event
May 28
6pm - 8pm
Wychwood Barns Park
76 Wychwood Avenue
Attend this free LEAF event where you will develop tree identification skills, participate in hands-on tree care activities and learn how you can care for trees in your own community. You will even receive a free native shrub to take home! Register and learn more
Are there any other green events taking place around the city? Let us know by sending event details to:

Green Events

Visit our calendar anytime to see upcoming green events!
Take Steps to #TransformTO Walking Challenge 
May 6 - 20
Across Toronto

On May 6, the City of Toronto kicked off a city-wide walking challenge to encourage residents to commute more actively and support a greener, healthier city. The Take Steps to #TransformTO walking challenge encourages Toronto residents to walk more often and keep track of their progress. Participants from the winning ward will win a street party hosted by Live Green Toronto!
Bike with Mike
May 26
12pm - 5pm
Christie Pits Park

Join Councillor Mike Layton for the 9th annual Bike with Mike kickoff to Bike Month for a day of family-friendly fun in Christie Pits Park. This free community cycling celebration will give you an opportunity to get your bike tuned-up, purchase native plants, learn about zero waste and enjoy a free BBQ lunch!

Action Alerts

Innovate MY Future
Calling all youth! If you are 16-24 years old and live in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, this is your chance to become a Climate Action Catalyst and make a real difference in your community. The Innovate MY Future program can give youth the skills to plan and execute climate action projects, collaborate with local community groups and learn valuable skills to jump-start their careers. Applications are now open at The deadline to apply is May 31st.

Green Links

TEA's Tips for Community Clean Up
Participating in community cleanups? Toronto Environmental Alliance published a new article with tips that people can use to help communities #BreakFreeFromPlastic by showing support for decision makers to take action.
Air Pollution Could be Changing our Behaviour
According to emerging studies, air pollution has been linked to impaired judgement, mental health problems, poorer performance in school, and higher levels of crime.
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Green Neighbours Network · 218 Winona Drive · Toronto, ON M6C 3S2 · Canada

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