Newsletter: October 2023
OCTOBER 31, 2023 –
A Message from our President
Like many kids, my German high school class performed plays, typically versions of Hollywood ones – think Rocky Horror, Blues Brothers and so on. Our grade 8 teacher, Herr Ungelenk, had a different idea. He created a play about citizens fighting a highway going through their community. We built a set with homes, gardens and playgrounds, we played politicians and citizen activists and we made the case that the highway was unwanted. And we won, defeating the highway in a glorious finale.
Well, we won again, this time in the real world. The Ontario government has reversed the Greenbelt land grabs and introduced new legislation to increase the size of the Greenbelt and make its boundaries more secure. And just like in my school play, it was citizen power that caused it.
This victory was all about community engagement against strong odds: supporting 84 rallies and distributing more than 9,000 lawn signs and 50,000 leaflets. Your every call, email and visit to an MPP worked.
I’m in awe of our grassroots advocates who are willing to stand up to people with more means, more money and more power. That’s who won the Greenbelt fight.
What’s Going on in the Greenbelt
On September 21, Premier Ford reversed his decision to remove lands from the Greenbelt. The reversal followed the resignation of Mississauga MPP Kaleed Rasheed, who publicly resigned after the announcement of an investigation by the RCMP into allegations associated with the Greenbelt cuts.
One month later, the Ontario government announced it will also reverse controversial expansions made to the urban boundaries forced onto many municipalities. This cascade of reversals, resignations and investigations is the product of ten months of relentless organizing by grassroots groups.
These are major environmental victories but the work is not done yet. Proposals for new highways, the elimination of regulations to protect species, the gutting of Conservation Authorities, a rush of applications for new gravel mining – and much more – require us to redouble our efforts. Now is the time to press for a restoration and expansion of environmental protections within and outside of the Greenbelt.
We are pleased to introduce Campaign Coordinator, Jen Teixeira. Through her work with Showing Up for Racial Justice Toronto and other social justice organizations across the GTA, Jen has had the opportunity to learn from others with different lived experiences and to examine her own privilege and oppression. Jen’s aim is to help educate folks on social issues and inspire positive change in communities. When not hard at work to make the world a better place, Jen enjoys spending time in nature, dancing and playing board games.
Helping the Project that Helps All the Projects
With fall comes the beautiful season of giving. You may already be considering your end-of-year donations, and we hope Small Change Fund and our partners continue to be on your list!
If you are considering giving through publicly traded securities, remember that the law changes on January 1, 2024, and it will become less beneficial for certain donors to make significant gifts this way. In this case, you may prefer to make a gift this calendar year to receive the greater benefit. This June 2023 Globe and Mail article explains the nature of the change. Note that gifts of securities remain a wise donation strategy for many.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or ideas about donations past, present or future. Thank you for your generosity!
Community Action at Work
Earlier this month, our partners at No Clearcuts Kingston hosted a successful event to raise money and awareness for the January Ontario Land Tribunal hearing to save an urban forest and wetland in Kingston, Ontario. Local musicians and artists shared their time and talent in an elegant courtyard decorated with photographs of the various wildlife at risk from the proposed development.
The “No Music on a Dead Planet” pedal powered, electricity producing bike is on the move in Nova Scotia! So far, it has featured at a ribbon cutting for a new net zero building in Halifax, a community event in River John with celebrated children’s author Sheree Fitch, at Kidical Mass and at the Agricola Street Fair.
On October 11th, we hosted a full house of enthusiastic advocates to celebrate the recent Greenbelt victory and share stories of the successes and the challenges we’ve faced this past year.
Connecting Canadians to Nature is a communications and marketing campaign to re-establish a connection to Nature and prime audiences to take action in related campaigns. In partnership with Nature Agency.
Save Mary Lake on the Moraine aims to stop the development of a long term care facility on the fragile lands near Mary Lake and provincially significant wetlands. In partnership with Kingscross Ratepayers Association.
Halloween isn’t just for kids – our pets are getting into the spirit as well! Featuring: Kim’s pup Ceilidh as a butterfly, Abbie’s black cat Roxy and her horse Keeper as a unicorn, and Apollo and Nakita, Sarah’s kitties.
Small News Bites
Dr. Britt Wray, our partner on Protecting and Promoting Youth Mental Health in the Climate Crisis, was recently featured in the CBC documentary The Climate Baby Dilemma. The film explores the impact of the climate crisis on how, and if, we parent. Learn more here.
Our partners at the Grand River Environmental Network are encouraging concerned citizens to endorse a collective public letter. This letter is in response to the one sent by Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Paul Calandra, to Heads of Council seeking feedback on the recommendations of the Housing Affordability Task Force.
At Small Change Fund we are thankful for many things, but especially all of our supporters, funders and partners for their roles in creating Change. A sincere thank you, not just in this season of gratitude, but all year round!
The Small Change Fund Team
P.S. Happy Halloween!