Meet Jane: one of TEA's dedicated Canvassers. Jane explains why she loves working for TEA and gives us an inside scoop on canvassing in the City of Toronto.
Name: Jane Phan
Why are you canvassing for TEA?
I canvass for TEA because I feel strongly about the environment . I originally learned about TEA from volunteering for other environmental groups . What I like most about TEA is that it focuses on local issues that effect my day to day life in the city . What better reason to canvass than working for a group that has a strong voice, is actively doing something to improve our city and makes strides at City Council ? It’s the advocacy part that I wanted to be part of, but also the ability to reach out to people one-on-one to let them know that they can also be part of a strong voice to contribute to CHANGE!
What TEA campaign are you most passionate about at the door?
This is a tough one because I actually love all the campaigns that TEA works on . All are integral to improving our health and the environment. But if I had to choose, I am most passionate about the Toxics Campaign because it impacts our health everyday. Knowing what is in the air that we breathe and being able to identify which neighbourhood is most impacted by toxic chemicals makes me want to put a foot forward to accelerate that change process.
In addition, I like that TEA has put much effort into deriving simple tools (ChemTrac) to make our community more aware of how polluted their neighbourhood is. I think that being more aware of what's around us makes us want to actively participate in the campaign and be supportive of that change.
How did canvassing differ from what you expected?
Canvassing is definitely not an easy task! In fact, going around door-to-door speaking to strangers about environmental issues that they may not understand or care about can be a daunting task. It takes a lot of patience, energy, passion and a strong will for change!
What motivates you to canvass on those cold and rainy days?
On the most challenging days I would always ask myself, “ D oes anyone care about what we are doing ? W ill they even open the door? It’s freezing, humid, snowing, or hailing outside, so why would anyone care about what we do ?" Then I think about what I need to share with them about their community and what issue is mo st important for them to know . That's what gets me through the night.
On the difficult nights I become more determined to find that ONE person who truly believes in what we do. And when I do find that ONE person who is willing to listen, understand that they can add their support and takes action right away, I feel that all my efforts are well worth it!
What item can you not canvass without?
A good pen and rain pants on a rainy day!