International Strike for the Climate, every Friday back in Orangeville

September 30, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Climate Change Action/Dufferin-Caledon (CCA/D-C), local activists meet every Friday to march for Climate Change.

Friday is the day of the week when people everywhere make the same march in their own locales, following the example set in 2018, when a Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg made her first solitary protest against global warming, in front of the Swedish Parliament, skipping school on a Friday. She was soon joined by other students in the country and subsequently by students and adults in weekly marches, around the world.

“We went to Sylvia’s [Jones, MPP for Dufferin–Caledon] office and talked to her receptionist,” said Nancy Urekar, chair of the CCA/D-C doing the march. “Sylvia wasn’t there. We had a young woman who is seven years old. She wanted to talk to Sylvia but the secretary spoke to her. She said she was scared of her future and all the animals dying – pretty scary stuff.”

She reported that Ms. Jones’ receptionist answered, “I’ll pass the message on.” And took her mother’s telephone number.

The seven-year-old girl’s name is Zelda Lagzdins. Other members of the group who came up to the MPP’s office also talked to the secretary but apparently Zelda was the only person from whom the secretary wrote down information.

The weekly march has a strong message and is clear about to whom the message is being delivered: “The goal is to bring pressure on leaders,” Ms. Urekar said, “It’s a worldwide crisis and we have to try to influence people to be forceful about limiting global warming.”

Stating the facts accurately, she continued, “We need strong policy on climate change and Ford’s been pulling down those policies with development in green spaces; he’s decimated Conservation Authorities.”

Conservation Authorities were created after Hurricane Hazel. They were established to oversee and prevent infringement on Green Spaces and environmentally sensitive areas and protect Conservation Areas. Their job was to oversee the Premiers’ environmental policies and those of other leaders of the Provincial government, specifically at this time: Doug Ford. The Ford government passed a bill in June of this year stripping the Conservation Authorities of most of their powers.

“This is a climate emergency and yet public policy is trying to make Highway 413: 7.4 million extra tonnes of emission of greenhouse gas from vehicles will be created by 2050 and this corridor will only save up to 60 seconds of commuters’ travel time,” Ms. Urekar said. “People are not saying it enough: that there have to be policies developed to protect their children’s future.”

What can anyone do about the proposed Highway 413, a 56 kilometre route slated to cross through Caledon, cutting through precious wetlands and dividing communities? Environmentalist are pressuring for a halt to the proposal which has, indeed, seen the withdrawal of most of the municipalities and counties involved, including Peel.

Ms. Urekar invited, “If enough people show they care about emissions – writing letters is effective. Join us at 229 Broadway; join Greta and let’s do something about the future.”

An individual’s power is always more than it seems: “The most effective thing you can do at all is to write letters,” she confirmed. “We’re going to start petitions. We want to get enough signatures so that Sylvia has to read the petitions at Queen’s Park.”

She admitted, “I found I didn’t do much during Covid. If you do nothing you feel worse, so, you do what you can.”

What she could do is re-invigorate the march now that it is safe for people to meet (outdoors), encourage people to join them on Fridays at noon in front of MP Kyle Seeback’s office, 229 Broadway; encourage people to write to their MPPs, pressing for progressive and essential environmental policies and action.

Begin by updating the Province’s Building Codes, forcing developers to build sustainable housing:

“Houses could be all built facing south so that they could have solar panels in the near future. It’s time for our building code to change. It is very hard to build community housing. Eighty percent of people in Toronto live alone. For community living, there needs improved zoning. Our house is single family dwelling with 14 suites but with only two stoves: it is the number of stoves in a house that designates the status of the building.”

People like their privacy but living with others is better for a person’s health.

“A lot of people would like to live in small houses within a neighbourhood,” she commented, “but developers don’t want to do that because they can’t make enough money and zoning doesn’t grant community living. [As an Estate Agent], I would like to be selling more community living properties. Right now, I’m working with people wanting to move to Toronto, so they can stop driving. They don’t want to keep putting harmful emissions into the air.”

Back to bringing pressure to bear, “You gotta phone and write your MPP and overwhelm them. Talk to people – write letters to the editors.

“We stay at Kyle Seeback’s office for a while to meet people coming a bit late and it feels good to be together with like-minded people.”

Ms. Urekar introduced the Citizen readers to The Climate Fresk, a game created in Europe, using 42 cards to create “a rigorous and unbiased educational tool that raises climate change awareness without laying any blame. It is a three -hour collective intelligence workshop for five to 20 participants, led by an expert facilitator. People leave the workshop feeling motivated and empowered to create solutions.” (

Said Nancy Urekar, “I’m going to be facilitator of The Climate Fresk. People can play together in person or you can play it online with people. One of the people living in our community living is already a Facilitator. If anyone would like to host a Climate Fresk party, we will offer it in person.”

For anyone interested, they can contact Nancy Urekar at

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.