The Greenbelt Youth Charter | BY: Erica Woods, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
In 2015, 18 students between the ages of 13 and 17 visited all corners of the Greenbelt. They were taken by our grantee EcoSpark as part of their work to engage and educate youth about local food and environmental protection. The participants gained a deeper appreciation for our natural spaces and countryside, and for some this was their first experience in the Greenbelt!
“The Greenbelt is important to me because it’s part of my childhood, and is great for my mental and physical well-being,” said Greenbelt Youth Ambassador Andrew Fryer from Dunbarton High School, who went on a tour of the Greenbelt in September. “On the tour, I learned there is more to the Greenbelt than most people see. Considering that most Ontarians no longer grow food for themselves, it doesn’t make sense to build houses on some of the best soil in Canada.”
With the Greenbelt under review, the students wanted to make sure that the Premier and the Minister of Municipal Affairs knew that youth across the province are concerned about the Greenbelt and its future. They wanted to make sure that as current and future members of communities in the Greenbelt, that their voices were being heard.
Students at Dunbarton High School learn about land use planning and conservation efforts.
Working collaboratively, these Greenbelt Youth Ambassadors provided their unique perspectives on how to preserve and protect our Greenbelt – they created the first ever Ontario Greenbelt Youth Charter!
The charter outlines:
“The Greenbelt is an oasis away from the city where people can connect with each other and nature and engage in learning and adventure. The greenbelt is more than lines on a map; it is a vast part of Ontario’s environment, chock-full of special memories. Everyone needs to know about the importance of the Greenbelt and the role it plays in our livelihood.
Our legacy will be a Greenbelt that we are connected to emotionally and physically, a Greenbelt that fosters our Canadian identify, and a Greenbelt that is preserved, protected and expanded for future generation to enjoy.”
View the full charter here.
To build support for the charter, in late 2015 the 18 Ambassadors presented their charter at Dunbarton High School to 400 students, media and the Mayors of Ajax and Pickering.
To date, over 1,000 high school students have signed on to the Youth Greenbelt Charter. Now they need your help to make sure the Premier and Minister Mauro know that growing the Greenbelt is important.
Take action to #GrowOurGB! Emailing the Premier and Minister Bill Mauro to let them know that you want to protect more Ontario water by growing the Greenbelt:
Join us to send a Thunderclap on social media at 10:00 am on October 19! Thousands of people across Ontario will direct a strong, simultaneous message to the government: protect more of Ontario's water supply. Sign up now to send this automatic, onetime message from your Facebook or Twitter account:
Click the tweets below to share your support online:
I'm taking action to #GrowOurGB because I believe in protecting vital water sources. Join me! | growourgreenbelt.ca/actionTweet
Proposal to #GrowOurGB would protect our essential water sources from threat of urban sprawl. | growourgreenbelt.caTweet
Let's #GrowOurGB to include vital water sources left out of current #LandUseON Plan! @BillMauroMPP | growourgreenbelt.caTweet