Imagining the world we want and working to create it needs more than top-down policy change. We need collective action by many people in many communities.
Future Ground Network/Réseau Demain le Québec are online organizing hubs (one English, one French) that convene and mentor the environmental community. They amplify and accelerate the meaningful work of local grassroots groups in their communities and connect them to each other.
The networks provide:
- Monthly training webinars for community organizers, on topics including decolonization, anti-racism, transitioning beyond COVID-19, organizer burnout, how to have difficult conversations, government relations, campaign strategizing and more.
- Resource guidance, from how to recruit members and run effective meetings to ideas for action, fundraising and social media best practices.
- Recruitment and training of volunteer specialists to help with digital tool support, design, communications and grant-writing for community-led initiatives throughout the country.
- Access to digital organizing tools that help you organize and manage your supporter lists, launch petitions and letter campaigns, create events, host online meetings and more!
The project was piloted in Ontario and Quebec and launched nationally on February 10, 2021. Groups gather on the digital platforms to promote their work, start local initiatives, host events and push for policy change. At the time of writing, more than 150 groups were registered. That’s more than 3,000 people connecting with tens of thousands in their communities.
There’s truth to the saying, ‘Think globally, act locally.’ To resolve a planetary crisis like climate disruption, we need change from the top, but without localized support, that’s difficult to achieve.
Tasfia Ahsan, Echo Canada
“Invaluable tools and resources, thought-provoking webinars, and connections with other environmental initiatives throughout the country … a lot of potential for both individual and collective action.”
TASFIA AHSAN, ECHO Canada (Vancouver, B.C.)
Kathryn Aitken, Transition Notre-Dame-de-Grace
“Just being able to share our experiences — our successes and frustrations — is so valuable. Maybe we won’t all have to invent the wheel every time we undertake a project, knowing how others have done it.”
KATHRYN AITKEN, Transition Notre-Dame-de-Grace (Montreal, Quebec)
Maria Nestorovska, Peel Environmental Youth Alliance
“After hearing about how a lot of the other groups are meeting with politicians, we feel like larger-scale actions are possible! Your ‘difficult conversations’ webinar was the inspiration behind the climate dialogue we held with our community!”
MARIA NESTOROVSKA, Peel Environmental Youth Alliance (Mississauga, Ontario)
Niall O’Brien, Youth program participant
“The network has taught me so much about climate organizing — how to act, where to start and that we cannot just solve this problem by ourselves. We need to work together.”
NIALL O’BRIEN, Youth program participant (Toronto, Ontario)
Recognizing local excellence
Collective action starts with the few and builds to the many. But sometimes smaller initiatives need a boost to get the attention they deserve.
Our Montreal office launched its annual Prix Demain le Québec in 2014. The contest recognizes communities coming together to create innovative projects that protect the planet and build a healthy future.
On April 6, 2021 a pilot of the English version — the Future Ground Prize — kicked off in Ontario. In 2022, the contest expanded to include British Columbia.
Six prizes were awarded (three in Quebec and three in Ontario). Winners of the two Jury Prizes received $5,000 each and an online visit from David Suzuki. The two People’s Choice Prize winners received $2,500 each. Youth Awards recognize projects led by future green leaders — applicants from daycares, preschools and primary and secondary schools.
This project builds a narrative, with hundreds of community-led stories to inspire people to act. Because votes for the People’s Choice Prizes and Youth Awards were collected online, thousands of people reviewed the candidate projects.
It’s critical that people champion climate action in their communities and get others to take steps every day. Those little actions add up to a big difference.
During COVID lockdown, our organizers launched a youth-focused activism school offering online interactive multi-week programs on topics ranging from mobilizing a community to promoting self-care.
Those successes spurred another school for people of all ages from all over. Participants received training in strategizing, decolonization, recruitment, team building and leadership. In between sessions, they organized meetings with people in their neighbourhoods and/or municipalities interested in getting involved to make a difference.
As school was in session, students started their own projects and were able to get guidance during those first critical weeks. After “graduation,” many joined Future Ground Network/Réseau Demain le Québec.
Empowering people to get involved in their communities provides a path to positive local change and builds networks to help resolve major national and global crises.
Finding Solutions features stories of caring people like you who make everything here possible. You can read, share, discuss, take action, join, donate. Whatever you choose, you’re helping protect Earth’s life-support systems. Thank you.