How Do You Make a City Greener?
By Luce Engérant and Kristi Heiman
Actually, how do you make your city greener? Not just think about it, but act on it? How do you get together with volunteers and incite other people to make the city greener with you? These are all questions that our eclectic and welcoming team (always open to new volunteers and new ideas) at MtlGreen ponders and acts on! Let’s find out the answers by going through our theory of change and vision for the next two years.
MtlGreen is a community group, whose mission is to support local environmental and social initiatives in Montreal. Through action-oriented workshops, events and campaigns, MtlGreen creates sustainable skills and networks to empower changemakers and make the city greener. Our two core principles are interactiveness and opportunism, read on for how we put these to play!
Before explaining what we do, let’s start with where we came from. MtlGreen was born out of the 2015-2016 Montreal public consultation on “How to reduce the city’s dependence on fossil fuels”. As part of the public consultation process, many interactive activities were organized, to get Montrealers to engage & share their ideas. This brought together a small team of environmentally-passionate young people, and gave them a knack for organizing interactive activities around climate change... Can you tell where this is going? After the consultation report was submitted to the city, our core team wanted to keep going, which is where MtlGreen was born.
Now the team has grown and grown, and our interactive workshops have proliferated, yet we are still as open to new contributors and radical new ideas as ever. Everything we ever do is also all publically trackable here and here - much in the spirit of the Office de Consultation Publique de Montréal (OCPM) who are excellent librarians and record keepers of citizen ideas collected during public consultations. You can join us too. Our recruiting (and commitment) motto is: “You decide your level of involvement”. See below for a note on how we organize.
Out of the Public Consultation, we didn’t just get a team, but also got our priorities straight. The report identified the 3 biggest areas that contribute to Montreal’s GHG emissions: transportation, consumption habits, and energy efficiency in buildings! This is what we focus on.
At MtlGreen, as mentioned in our mission, we aim to help sustainability-centred initiatives in cities grow and thrive. The idea behind this statement is to recognize that there is already a lot happening in Montreal to make the city greener. From one person, deciding to shop for local fruits & vegetables, to one start-up opening to promote car-sharing, to a university student club that wants to reduce food waste on campus, to the city of Montreal’s planning for better public transportation & recycling. At different scales, many people are interested and already taking action for a more sustainable tomorrow, and greener cities.
At MtlGreen, we recognize this, and one of our key principles is to be opportunistic. As passionate young people with the drive, energy, and money to help… our modus operandi is to think: How we can help these already existing initiatives, this emerging citizen-interest in the environment, and foster more climate action at the municipal level, to empower sustainable change?
This has led us to organize many different interactive events (interactiveness is another one of our core-principles. We want to get people hands-on with climate action, not just being talked at). Here is a snapshot: