Council Watch - Holiday - December 2009

Green Tips for the Holidays, Green Gift Ideas, Year in Review: Greening the City and the Local Economy!

(1) Green Tips for the Holidays

The Holidays are a great time for friends and family and should be a good time for the environment as well! Check out our 10 Tips to Green Your Holiday and find out what you can do to make this a more environmentally friendly season.

(2) Green Gift Ideas

Give a gift this year that also helps your city, your planet and yourself. Donate to the Toronto Environmental Alliance on behalf of a friend or loved one.

As you know, TEA is Toronto's preeminent environmental group, recognized with numerous awards and by Dr. David Suzuki who says “Every Torontonian who cares about a green Toronto should be supporting TEA.”

Every dollar donated gives us the resources we need to win vital, sometimes controversial campaigns, on a variety of issues, from pesticide use to better transit and so many in between.

Last year, our donors helped us achieve an unprecedented number of successes that have helped turn Toronto into the epicentre of environmental progress in Canada (see "Year in Review" below). But tough times and a significant reduction in foundation funding means we really need the help of our supporters to see us through the New Year.

We need your help right now to ensure we have the resources we need to build on our environmental successes and to ensure that environmental issues are front and center in the Fall municipal election.

Any amount helps. But of course, the greater the amount, the more we can do on your behalf.

(3) Year in Review: Greening the City and the Local Economy 
It's been a busy year at TEA. We worked hard to implement many ground-breaking initiatives that have made Toronto the epicentre of environmental progress in Toronto. One key focus has been to make sure our green initiatives are designed to help create local, good green jobs and green manufacturing. Another key focus has been to work with communities and organizations across the City to make sure our collective voices are heard loud and clear. None of this work would have happened without the generous support of our donors. Here is a partial list of our successes:


  • Helped launch, a new effort to organize transit users and give them a voice on important transit issues in Toronto, especially transit funding
  • Convinced the TTC Commissioners to limit fare hikes on adult Metropasses and to work with the Province to develop a multi-year funding proposal where the Province once again shares 50% of TTC operating costs


  • Convinced City Council to pass the country's first-ever Community Right to Know Bylaw that requires polluters to make public what they pollute
  • Launched a Good Neighbour Campaign in Toronto and Hamilton which uses the power of community organizing to commit major polluters to decrease the pollution at their facilities. The goal is to make the community healthier and safer by building a working relationship between neighbours and the polluting company.
Local Food and Preserving the Greenbelt
  • Convinced City Council to adopt a local food procurement strategy that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help local farmers
  • Launched 4 ethnic food guides that tell Torontonians where they can buy fresh, locally grown food for African/Caribbean, Chinese, Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisines
  • Released "Dig Conservation, Not Holes" a report on what GTA municipalities can do to reduce the use of virgin gravel and reduce the harm being done to the agricultural and ecological lands surrounding Toronto. 

Smog and Climate Change

  • Convinced City Council on Tuesday December 1st to adopt a new Sustainable Energy Strategy that will lead to a major energy retrofit program for all city buildings, a huge increase in renewable power in Toronto, and creating a smart energy grid
  • Worked with over 1,000 tenants in Toronto and Ottawa to help design and deliver an energy conservation program that saves money and reduces greenhouse gas emissions

Green Jobs

  • Convinced City Council on Tuesday December 1st to insure the City's new Sustainable Energy Strategy gives a priority to local procurement and manufacturing.
  • This Sustainable Energy Strategy will likely lead to over $1 billion in economic activity and should now be a huge driver for local green jobs and manufacturing;
  • Helped convince the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (Canada's largest landlord) to make local jobs and local procurement a priority in the energy retrofit work they are doing for the Mayor's Tower Renewal Project
  • Worked on the organizing committee with community, environmental and labour groups to organize the Good Green Jobs for All Conference with over 600 participants eager to work together to support Good Green Jobs for All

Council Watch-Dog

  • Released a Mid Term Environmental Report Card evaluating the Mayor, City Councillors and the City on a host of green actions
  • One of our key recommendation was to ensure city green initiatives also helped create local green jobs and manufacturing. This recommendation was realized when the City adopted the Sustainable Energy Strategy on Tuesday (see above)

Thanks again for your help and Happy Holidays!