Sometimes, when a few citizens get together to try and improve the world, it creates something bigger, with more lasting value, than any of them imagined. That’s certainly been the case with Environmental Action Barrie (EAB), now known as Living Green.
This home-grown charity started in 1990 is about to celebrate a full quarter-century of good work with a 25th anniversary gala on, appropriately, Earth Day (Wednesday, April 22, 7 pm). Thanks to our generous sponsors, especially Organics Live, tickets are only $25 each and will admit you to meet special guests including keynote speaker marine ecologist Peter Sale, author of “Our Dying Planet”. As he will relate, our planet does not have to die, but action is needed, and soon!
25 years has given us a lot to celebrate. EAB ran a volunteer recycling depot before household blue box collection, then took the plastics the blue box didn’t, until eventually blue box collection expanded to all plastics. EAB, partnered with the City as Be Green Barrie, also ran a retrofit program to install low-flow faucets and toilets across the city, giving Barrie one of the lowest per-capita water consumption rates in Canada.
EAB helped connect the lead sponsors of the Spring Into Clean event, now a huge annual cleanup run by the City of Barrie. Alongside other initiatives too numerous to list here, we’ve helped educate on and reduce pesticide use, supported groups like Transition Barrie, founded FruitShare Barrie and run the Barrie Free Clothing Centre – Off the Rack.
So help us celebrate 25 years of protecting our ecological health – tickets are available online at https://tr.im/organicslive.
Another coming event is hosted by Simcoe County KAIROS, a group fairly new to our local community. At the national level, KAIROS has been uniting social justice work of 11 different churches and Christian organizations for 40 years. You may have first heard of KAIROS in 2009, when they lost their federal funding because Canada’s government decided to tie aid to poor nations to Canadian mining interests. Undeterred, KAIROS drew strength from its grassroots donations, and continues to work for good at the national and international level, but also right here in our community.
Since forming in 2012, Simcoe County KAIROS has supported Aboriginal rights, protection of drinking water, social justice, peacemaking in Palestine, and related initiatives. In keeping with that theme, they will be hosting Gimme Shelter: The Right to Housing on Saturday, April 18th at Grace United Church.
Access to housing is a major concern in our region; according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Barrie is second only to Toronto for core housing need. That not only means some people are homeless, but that many more are precariously housed, unable to find suitable or affordable housing for their families.
So join us for a morning of information and discussion with keynote speaker Michael Shapcott of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and panelists Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, United Way’s Carla Dermott, and David Busby Street Centre executive director Sara Peddle. The event runs from 9 am until noon and will feature refreshments. Attendance is free, but pre-registration is appreciated by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 705-252-3459.
Yeah, a storm is threatening my very life today; If I don’t get some shelter, LORD, I’m gonna fade away – Rolling Stones, Gimme Shelter.
Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner as "Home-grown charity celebrates 25 years"
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.
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