Here are three ways you can incorporate environmental action into your activities this beautiful spring weekend:
Take Part in Give Away Weekend
Clear your clutter, recycle household items that might be useful to others, and find free treasures. During Give Away Weekend, people are invited to set out unneeded but usable items at the curb, marked “Free,” for others to take. The City of Ottawa website has tips on what and how to share your stuff and how to dispose of items that aren’t picked up.
Enjoy Community Outdoor Events
This weekend brings a variety of community outdoor festivals, plant and art sales, which provide a great way to spend some time outdoors while supporting local. There’s Westfest, an amazing annual free festival of music, art and more. The juried New Art Festival is on in Central Park in the Glebe. A great place to buy heirloom organic plants for your garden is at Greta’s Organic Gardens’ sale on Sunday, Jun. 9. You can find fresh produce and local food items at one of Ottawa’s outdoor markets. There’s a plant swap at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Lansdowne on Sunday, Jun. 9. And check out the new pedestrian plaza on William Street in the ByWard Market!
Help Clean Up Flood Debris
The City of Ottawa is urgently seeking volunteers to help clean up sandbags and other materials from sites of flooding. The City’s website has details on how to get involved.
June is a great month for creative, city-building events in Ottawa. Here are two happening the first weekend in June:
Doors Open Ottawa 2019
Have you ever wanted to see what happens behind the scenes at a local museum or historic site, learn what goes on at a food centre or greenhouse, experience an innovation centre, get to know embassies or places of worship, or visit a wildlife sanctuary? More than 130 sites of architectural, historic, cultural, religious, scientific or social significance are opening their doors to visitors on Saturday June 1 and/or Sunday June 2, 2019 for Doors Open Ottawa. A free shuttle bus takes people between many of the buildings, and more than 50 are downtown within walking distance of each other. Find details, including a list of participating buildings and an interactive map, on the City of Ottawa’s website.
Intergenerational Day 2019
For the first time, thanks to local organizers, Ottawa will be part of Intergenerational Day. On Saturday, June 1, 2019, groups around the city will host activities that bring together people of all ages, build relationships and celebrate the contributions of all generations. Everyone is invited to participate in events, and even contribute individual actions, large or small. Intergenerational Day events in Ottawa include community plant sales/swaps, art exhibits and fairs, neighbourhood garage sales and even an intergenerational picnic with a focus on climate action. Find out more (or contribute an activity!) on the iGenOttawa website.
It’s heartening to see more attention to climate action in Ottawa.
Here are some opportunities to call for, find and implement solutions to our climate emergency:
The next Student Global Strike for Climate happens on Friday, May 24, 2019 from 12-2:30 p.m. Young people and their supporters in Ottawa will join millions around the world to continue to press for climate action. Starts at Ottawa City Hall (Laurier Ave.), with a walk to Parliament Hill and then Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna’s office.
A coalition of organizations and individuals are hosting several Town Hall events to inform the creation of a Green New Deal in Canada. The Green New Deal is intended to address a range of crises–from climate to work to housing to Indigenous rights–through a new economic model and relationships. The next Town Hall in Ottawa is on Sunday, May 26, at 2 p.m. at Tom Brown Arena hall (141 Bayview Rd.)
Evidence for Democracy and Science First are hosting Carbon Pricing: Fair & Effective Climate Action on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 from 7-9 p.m. at Impact Hub Ottawa. This panel discussion with speakers from Pembina Institute, Clean Energy Canada, the Business Council of Canada and the media will focus on climate solutions.
Ecology Ottawa is hosting a meeting to exchange ideas for its Renewable City Campaignand next steps for climate action in Ottawa. It’s on Thursday, May 30, 2019 from 6-8 p.m.
Future Rising Ottawa is organizing The Future Is Rising, a gathering on Parliament Hill, on Friday, May 31, 2019 from 12-1 p.m.
Speakers from Free Transit Ottawa, Extinction Rebellion, Ecology Ottawa and Solidarity Ottawa will share ideas for addressing Ottawa’s climate emergency at Confronting Climate Emergency: Ottawa and Beyond. The panel takes place on Friday, May 31, 2019 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Sandy Hill Community Centre (250 Somerset St. E.).
Climate Justice Ottawa is hosting several events on climate action for volunteers and the public, including a Climate Quiz social on Tuesday, Jun. 4, 2019 as a fun way to share knowledge about climate change and learn about Our Time Ottawa and the Green New Deal. Check the Facebook page for details.
Parents for the Planet is hosting a Picnic & Protest on Friday, Jun. 7, 2019 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
David Suzuki, Avi Lewis, Maude Barlow and other speakers will be at A Green New Deal for Ottawa to talk about the climate crisis and the Green New Deal, on Friday, Jun. 14, 2019 from 6:30-9 p.m. at Glebe-St. James United Church. Register in advance.
Check the links for details and registration for the events. Let us know of others!
Update: A Rolling for Justice Bike Ride and Gathering will take place on Wednesday, May 22 at 7:45 a.m. to show respect for the person who lost their life and to press for safe cycling in Ottawa. Everyone is welcome to cycle, roll or walk together, starting at the southwest corner of Nicholas and Laurier at 7:45 a.m. and ending at City Hall. Organizers encourage people to wear black and to ride silently. Further details on the Facebook event page, and/or follow #ottbike and #ottbikeaction on Twitter.
Sorrow—for the person who was killed, his family and friends and their loss.
Anger—that infrastructure- and driver-caused injuries and deaths are normalized in our city and that prevention of those injuries and deaths is not treated as a priority.
Fear—that while I’m cycling to and from work or errands my life is at risk. My own routes often take me on the Laurier Bike Lane, or through the Parkdale-Ruskin intersection. While the city has made some welcome improvements in cycling infrastructure, cycling in Ottawa is still unacceptably dangerous.
Improving it requires collective action and investments in better infrastructure, including changes in the way we think about and value those who use non-vehicle modes of transportation. As a cyclist, I try to bike safely and defensively, but all the helmets, lights, reflectors and bright orange vests I personally invest in are not going to keep me safe.
What was heartening yesterday was the groundswell of people, including city councillors, who spoke up, gathered outside City Hall, and left tributes to the cyclist. Hopefully this will be a turning point in our tolerance for cyclist and pedestrian injuries and deaths.
This wonderful annual series of urban and neighbourhood walking tours is a celebration of the built and natural environments and how residents shape those environments through their daily lives.
This year Jane’s Walk seems particularly poignant, as communities in Ottawa-Gatineau pull together to address flooding, both shaping and being shaped by the rivers, urban and rural landscapes and infrastructure, and weather.
If you can, check out some of the impressive walks this weekend—the Jane’s Walk Ottawa schedule includes more than 50. Walks are led by knowledgeable local residents, are held in English and/or French, and are free.