Meet Ben: one of TEA's dedicated canvassers. Ben explains why he loves working for TEA and gives us an inside scoop on canvassing in the City of Toronto.
Hometown: Barton, Vermont
Why are you canvassing for TEA? Before moving to Toronto, I spent a few summers guiding tours of Alaska and the Yukon. I was hiking in Kenai Fjords National Park, where the rangers laid down signs to show how quickly the glacier that the trail follows is receding. I found the experience really jarring, and at that point, I knew I wanted to be part of the environmental movement. However, I decided that the best way to have an impact was at the community level. I came to Toronto, because I believe this is a diverse and open-minded city that can serve as a fantastic model of sustainability. TEA is special, because we create very tangible change at the local level and work hard to engage Torontonians in every corner of the city. I believe that the best thing I can do for the planet is encouraging people to make a difference one conversation at a time.
What TEA campaign are you most passionate about at the door? I love talking about climate change. Sometimes people are hesitant to talk about such a big topic at the door, but it’s quite possible to unpack the issue and leave a person feeling empowered to take action. Things like quality transit and waste reduction can have a massive impact on our greenhouse gas emissions and we really should feel like our work in the city can create change on a much bigger scale.
How did canvassing differ from what you expected? I have been pleasantly surprised with how team-oriented this job is. Even though we have our own streets to canvass, we travel to each neighbourhood, do paperwork, and hang out on breaks, as a team. There is a lot more camaraderie to canvassing than I ever expected.
What motivates you to canvass on those cold and rainy days? I very much like the outdoors, so poor weather doesn’t bother me much. I just think about how lucky I am to have a job where I get to be active and explore new corners of the city while a lot of folks are stuck in the office.
What item can you not canvass without? I have a really cool water bottle. Staying hydrated is important.