On October 10th, 2010, the world organized to send a message about climate change to politicians and leaders everywhere. Thanks to Awesome Ottawa and our great group of volunteers, our city was able to join the chorus.
The Global Work Party was spearheaded by 350.org which is run by Professor Bill McKibben and a group of dedicated activists. 350.org works year-round to promote climate change awareness and sustainable change, and this year, 10/10/10 was their big event. We were just one of 7,347 events in 188 countries.
Our group of volunteers found each other through 350.org’s website. Everyone brought a different set of skills and a lot of energy and dedication to the table.
The goal of our event was to create a space where people could learn, and be heard, about the topic of climate change. We hosted a pledge table, where attendees could make a pledge stating how they’ll reduce their carbon footprint. In exchange, we’re giving away 350 black walnut saplings to those who’ve made pledges by the end of Spring 2011. We’re also compiling those pledges to create a visual mosaic that shows Ottawa’s commitment to sustainability.
We also created a “Visions of Ottawa” tableau, where volunteers and kids worked together to cover a map of Ottawa with landmarks of sustainability. The entire exhibit was made using recycled materials.
The event drew a crowd of just over 50 at its height. We featured Daniel T’seleie, a speaker from Climate Action Network Canada, who shared his personal experiences with climate change, as a former resident of Canada’s North. Nearly all of Ottawa’s Mayoral candidates were invited to participate, and candidates Clive Doucet and Charlie Taylor answered the call, sharing their ideas for a sustainable Ottawa leading up to the October 25th municipal election.
In addition to Daniel T’seleie of Climate Action Network Canada, several other environmental groups joined us to help provide information about climate change, and what individuals can do to reduce their carbon impact. Climate Justice (Climatique) Ottawa, a student group from the University of Ottawa, were in attendance to host an information table and organize a fun event for kids to learn about climate change and their carbon footprint. Greenpeace Ottawa and OneChange also hosted information tables.
The event was held in Westboro, at the First United Church on Richmond Road. Location was one the biggest hurdles to overcome for the volunteer team. Due to the event being scheduled on Thanksgiving Sunday, many potential locations were not able to accommodate our needs. In the end, with help from Judi Varga-Toth (who runs a healthy, green eatery in Hintonburg called Credible Edibles), we were able to secure the Westboro First United Church hall at no charge. Ms. Varga-Toth and Credible Edibles also provided us with delicious snacks for the event, including some very popular pumpkin muffins.
Special Events Ottawa was kind enough to help us meet our audio-visual needs on a budget, and were present throughout the event to help ensure success. We owe them quite a big “thank you” for all their help.
Luc Lafontaine, manager of the Starbucks at the intersection Carling and Woodroffe Avenue provided free, delicious coffee for the event.
Volunteers for this event included:
Kara Stonehouse, Dave Evans, Wes Bartlett, Mohan Kumar, Erin Broome, Blair Charbonneau, and Deirdre Leowinata
We are still collecting pledges to reach our goal of 350 promises from Ottawa residents, stating how they’ll reduce their carbon footprint. The first 350 to pledge will receive a black walnut tree sapling in Spring 2011.
Pledges can be emailed to email@example.com, or made at a follow-up event (TBA).
Check out our online presence to see more media from the event.