This resource is also available in French. Click here to access the French version.
This blog post is part of a series written by participants in the Tamarack Institute’s 2022 Community Climate Transitions Cohort, a 10-month learning journey in which multisector teams from 19 communities across Canada explored a collective impact approach to climate transition. See the full list of posts here.
London has a number of groups that are doing climate work and have a history of working together. ReForest London was established in 2005 with support from the London Community Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, TD Friends of the Environment and the Wetland Habitat Fund. Ten years later, in 2015, ReForest London, together with Thames Talbot Land Trust and another grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, launched the London Environmental Network (LEN) to support local environmental organizations to improve their internal capacity and ability to deliver on their missions.
After the City of London declared a climate emergency in 2019, Climate Action London (CAL) was launched to increase engagement of Londoners in the City’s Climate Emergency Action Plan which was approved by City Council in April 2022.
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Environmental groups in London also have a history of working together, in both formal and informal ways. This Cohort project has required us to come together intentionally to do collective action: to define goals that each of the environmental groups find meaningful and would work together to accomplish. It has deepened our relationships and given us a vision of what we can work on collectively.
Knowing that awareness is often the first step to taking action, our primary goal is for 10,000 London residents to know that the City of London has created a Climate Emergency Action Plan, by means of signing a pledge. Our secondary goal is to identify and engage 100 influencers in London with this outreach to advance climate conversations and action further into the community.
Currently, we are working with students from Western University’s Ivey Business School, who are helping us to develop a marketing plan to reach out to London residents. This is expected to be available in November.
Other work includes expanding existing and/or developing four projects, one per participating community group, with funding from the City of London. This further demonstrates our collective commitment to work together and find solutions and approaches to assist Londoners and businesses to take action on climate change.
In the meantime, we continue to strengthen our partnerships by participating in events together, such as at a recent Probus event where City staff gave a climate presentation, and the LEN and CAL were invited to participate and engage with attendees. CAL used the opportunity to test out a new engagement idea – testing people’s knowledge of emissions from lawnmowers and gauging their interest level associated with this emissions source. During and after this event, we had time to informally discuss strategies on outreach and impact.
We are also part of a larger circle of environmental groups in the city that are currently planning the second annual “EarthFest”, a celebration that happens on Earth Day, with a much larger vision than last year. Having spent the past 9 months working as a team, deepening our relationships, the bar has been raised on expectations of what can be accomplished through collaboration.
We are all in agreement that we are stronger together. The City of London needs the support and community reach from the environmental groups; and the environmental groups are strengthened by the support the City of London can provide for events and climate actions.
The current cohort representatives are from – Climate Action London, City of London, London Environmental Network; SDG Cities and ReForest London. And we look forward to having more London representatives for the 2023 Tamarack Climate Transitions Cohort.