Newsletter: July 2023
JULY 31, 2023 –
A Message From Our President
I still remember the first time I registered as a lobbyist – to advocate for Ontario’s Greenbelt. It was the beginning of many hours of lobbying, trying to influence decision-makers to do the right thing. I failed more often than I succeeded but that never stopped me.
That history served me well when we started the Public Voice Fund a few years ago. The Fund financially supports the lobbying efforts of environmental campaigns across the country. Having invested some $730,000 so far, the Public Voice Fund continues to grow and is fearless in supporting ambitious conservation and climate action.
Earlier this month, we received a substantial grant from the Definity Insurance Foundation to explore expanding the Fund to support lobbying for poverty reduction and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Our research will determine the potential role of a lobby fund in these areas, and how to structure such a fund to achieve substantial progress. I am excited to embark on this new learning journey, 20 years after my lobbying experience began.
All Tools in the Toolbelt
Sometimes, it takes more than one strategy to achieve the change you’re after. We have an ongoing campaign with the Natural Burial Association that has made significant progress in increasing awareness of natural burials in Ontario. But, in order to make natural burial a viable option, provincial policy has to change as well.
Through the Public Voice Fund, we are tackling the prohibitive 40% per grave perpetuity fee imposed by the province (compared to a national average of 13%). Not only is 40% unwarranted to maintain natural sites, but it also presents a barrier to the creation of natural burial grounds.
In the Land of Wild Horses
Our Communications and Project Manager, Abbie Branchflower, recently returned from a camping trip to the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range in Montana, USA. Abbie has followed this historically and genetically significant population of horses since 2001. In fact, she used to spend her summers camping 8,500 feet up the mountain and studying the herd.
“It truly felt like a homecoming. A part of me will always be on the mountain with the horses,” she said. “It was incredibly emotional to be back.” Abbie dedicates much of her spare time to advocating for the Pryor population and the protection of their range.
No Music on a Dead Planet
Along with our partners, Music Declares Emergency Canada (MDE), we are hard at work to mobilize music in the fight against the climate crisis. Earlier this month, MDE attended the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, ON with their iconic “No Music on a Dead Planet” t-shirts. Our President, Burkhard Mausberg, and MDE Canada Co-founder and Coordinator, Kim Fry, attended to enjoy some great tunes and show their support for using music as a catalyst for change.
Fun fact: Mariposa volunteers were posted at every recycling, compost and garbage station to ensure waste was sorted appropriately. Even better, all utensils at the festival were biodegradable!
Support Lil D’Bunk – donate towards hilarious commentary on climate from an unexpected voice: that of a young girl. Lil D’Bunk makes understanding the Canadian mis- and dis-information on the climate crisis child’s play.
August 16th: Ontario Place: A Better Idea (Virtual)
Join our partners from Ontario Place for All as they explore “A Better Idea.” This online conversation will discuss how to save and reimagine Ontario Place and the Ontario Science Centre as public resources.
August 18th: Anishnabe Moose Committee Benefit Concert
Join our partners at the Anishnabe Moose Committee Benefit Concert on August 18th for a night celebrating Indigenous artists and performers. Proceeds will help prevent moose poaching in La Verendrye Park. Unable to attend? You can still support Anishnabe-led research to protect moose populations on the unceded traditional territory of the Algonquin people.
August 29th: Caledon Mega-Quarry Beerfest
The next stop on the Reform Gravel Mining Rock Tour! Our partners on the DAMN campaign are travelling Ontario to highlight the permanent damage caused to the natural environment and surrounding communities from the construction of new and unnecessary gravel pits and quarries.
September 22-23rd: Edward Burtynsky – Protecting the Niagara Escarpment
Join our partners at the Escarpment Corridor Alliance as they host celebrated photographer and documentary filmmaker, Edward Burtynsky, to showcase the beauty of the Escarpment, as well as highlight its vulnerabilities. Learn more about this weekend-long event, hosted at The Historic Gayety Theatre in Collingwood, ON, and donate towards protecting the Escarpment Corridor here.
We hope everyone is having a great summer!
The Small Change Fund Team
P.S. Want to give to the project that helps all the projects? You can donate directly to Small Change Fund to keep us going and growing for the benefit of grassroots projects nation-wide. Thank you for your generosity!