Laura Bonnici is the City of Toronto’s Neighbourhood Climate Action Champion for Ward 5: York-South Weston.
The Toronto Neighbourhood Climate Action Champion project is in its second year and exists in neighbourhoods throughout the city to support innovative local climate action. Neighbourhood Climate Action Champions are trained on local climate change science, communications and action, to help them identify local climate goals and create a plan to reach them . Each Climate Action Champion is a local leader who engages with community residents to motivate and inspire climate actions that support the City of Toronto’s TransformTO strategy and help reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
Laura has always felt a connection to the natural environment and sees the importance of respecting and protecting the Earth. It is this connection to the Earth that drew her to the Climate Action Champion opportunity.
Despite facing some barriers such as funding and engaging communities virtually throughout COVID-19, Laura has already connected with different groups and individuals who are doing important climate work, including Mission Green Toronto. She recognizes the importance of collaboration to achieve climate action goals and reduce barriers so that making green choices is easier, more cost effective and convenient.
Flooding, air pollution, a lack of cycling infrastructure and litter are just some of the climate-related issues that are impacting the York-South Weston area. These are the key issues that Laura hopes to help address through her climate action initiative.
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One of Laura’s ongoing projects with the Mount Dennis Community Association is creating a dedicated centre for climate action that will serve as a hub for climate and environment related initiatives in her community.
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To make climate action a success, the community needs local engagement and ideas. When we asked how someone can get involved with this work, Laura explained that the best way to get involved is to share your knowledge and ideas about climate action. You can also attend or volunteer your time at local community events. For more information visit https://www.mountdennis.ca/econeighborhood-initiative/ or join the York-South Weston Climate Action Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1928787727293471 to share your ideas and see what’s already happening!
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To end our interview, we asked Laura what a better world would look like to her. She described a world that has rich biodiversity and respect for the natural environment.
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To learn more about the project you can contact Laura at [email protected]
Music in the videos used with permission by aiti-maa "We are Lost" and "The Tide."