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What is "ecoCommunities"?

ecoCommunities is a joint project of the Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition and ecoPerth, funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Environment Canada. Between 8 and 12 Ontario communities will be selected to participate in the ecoCommunities project, between April 2004 and November 2005

The project was developed based on the following premises:

  • That reducing the extent of climate change is a national priority
  • That community members, working together, can have a significant impact on climate change
  • That the successful community action projects developed by ecoPerth, in the Town of Perth, Ontario could be used as models for projects in other communities, with appropriate customization for local implementation
  • That many small to mid-size communities do not have adequate resources to develop and manage projects
  • That OHCC and ecoPerth could provide assistance to 8-12 communities to implement effective community actions

The ecoCommunities Approach

Action First: While education and awareness programs are helpful, for real change to occur a broad range of people need to take constructive action. We believe that by engaging people in action projects, they will also increase their awareness of climate change issues and their commitment to change.

Start Small: We ask people to make small changes first. This builds commitment and momentum, leading to subsequent bigger actions. Some of the projects described in the Resource Kit can be completed by one or two people in a few hours.

Getting to Yes: We encourage municipalities to take small steps or provide small amounts of in-kind support. Once they get used to saying “YES” it is more likely they will say “yes” to future requests.

How to become an ecoCommunity

The best opportunities for success will come when an existing community organization or group takes a lead role in the project, and encourage others to join. No prior involvement in climate change or environmental issues is required. If your group or organization is interested in participating in the ecoCommunities project, let us know (click on “contact us”) and an OHCC Community Animator (CA) will contact you for further information.

The CA will help you to assess your eligibility for the project. If the eligibility criteria has been met, you will complete an application form that is then forwarded to the project steering committee. Once approved by the steering committee, you will be asked to sign a simple agreement outlining the expectations of your participation and the services that will be provided to you through the project.

The next step will be to work with the CA to organize a community workshop, led by ecoPerth staff, in which members of your community will learn more about the project, potential projects and prepare and action plan.

The following criteria will be used to assist in the selection of participating communities:

  • Identification of a lead organization that is a not-for-profit community-based organization working in a community of under 100,000 people (or, in exceptions, working in a smaller part of a larger community)
  • Capacity of the lead organization is sufficient to deliver projects (in terms of experience, volunteers and community connections) with the type of support we can provide
  • Broad membership, active volunteers and links with local government (or a desire to build their capacity in these areas)
  • Willingness to take on projects that will stimulate action on climate change issues throughout an entire community (or a large identifiable part of a community)

The Lead Organization Should Not:

  • be a municipality, university, school or hospital (although they could be instrumental in initiating a community-based steering committee for local projects; lead organizations will be encouraged to link with these organizations)

    Click here to download an application form

    What Can Participating Groups Expect?

    Participating Groups Will Be Expected To:

    • form a team to lead the project over the next 12-24 months years
    • organize a preliminary community workshop (to identify projects and resources)
    • commit to implementing at least one activity over the next year, and another one or two projects before November, 2005
    • provide staff or mobilize volunteers to deliver projects
    • form a link with local government (formal or informal)
    • complete a simple report on their project to assist us to evaluate progress
    • share their results with other communities; all communities engaged in the project will complete a simple report which will be compiled with other ecoCommunities’ reports.

    Participating Groups/Communities Will Get:

    • a full-day community workshop to provide background information on climate change and the need for action, and to help their community decide what projects they would like to undertake (led by ecoPerth staff, supported by OHCC Community Animators)
    • a resource kit containing:
      • a step-by-step guide to implementing each of 15 climate change Actions
      • sample graphics and camera-ready art to promote each of 15 climate change Actions (and assistance to customize these to fit their situation)
      • sample press releases
      • “lessons learned” and other implementation tips
    • help from OHCC to mobilize volunteers, involve local government, get media coverage and raise funds
    • advice from ecoPerth on technical aspects of project implementation and customization of project promotional materials
    • we will share the results and learnings from the project through conferences, articles, websites (OHCC and ecoPerth) and the networks of other provincial organizations and associations

Dec 14, 2017
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