February is Winter Walk to School Month

Courtesy Ontario Active School Travel

Whether we were born in Canada or came here later in life, it seems many of us don’t like Canadian winters. Did you know there is a scientific reason why winters make us feel so lethargic and unhappy?

It turns out the lack of light affects our brain’s ability to generate serotonin and melatonin, two chemicals that help regulate our sleep cycles, energy, and mood. It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Lack of exposure to full-spectrum natural light also reduces the body’s production of vitamin D, a chemical necessary for calcium absorption. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to many diseases including, breast, colon, and prostate cancers, heart disease, depression and weight gain.

Low levels of vitamin D in children are related to rickets which causes soft, poorly formed bones. Children can also experience SAD and the affects can be similar to clinical depression. This includes negative thinking, changes in sleeping or eating, and lower overall energy. Loss of concentration is another symptom, which may affect the child’s school results.

For many children and teenagers, an effective antidote to SAD and low vitamin D levels is to get outside and absorb the natural light. Even 30 minutes of winter light exposure per day on the face can generate sufficient levels of vitamin D, serotonin, and melatonin.

The World Health Organization recommends children and adolescents aged 6 through 17 get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily to maintain healthy bones and muscles. But, according to the Region of Peel, fewer than half of Peel’s kids are getting the minimum amount of daily activity. And 27% are overweight or obese.

Walking or riding to school and back, at least some of the days of the week, may be the simplest and easiest solution to these related problems. It builds physical activity into the child’s daily routine which supports better mental health outcomes, higher concentration abilities and better academic performance.

February is Winter Walk Month and there is no time like the present to put your child on the “Road to Health”! Encourage them to walk or ride. Walk with them if you have the time or join with a group of parents to form a walking school bus or bike train. Who knows, you may find that winters become enjoyable for both you and your family!

Visit Ontario Active School Travel, or Walk + Roll Peel for more information about walking and riding programs in Peel.

What’s walking and riding to school have to do with the environment? Well, 20-25% of Peel’s morning and afternoon vehicle traffic is from children being driven to school. Increasing the amount of walking or riding will decrease vehicular traffic which is the single biggest producer of carbon emissions in Brampton.

City Accepting Grow Green Awards Nominations

The City of Brampton has created a new award program to recognize individuals, businesses, organizations and institutions in the city that have demonstrated environmental leadership and have significantly contributed to the “Grow Green” vision of conserving, enhancing, and balancing our natural and built environments to create a healthy, sustainable, and resilient Brampton. Nominations will be accepted until February 28th, 2022 and the awards will be handed out during an Earth Day Environmental Festival to be held at Norton Place Park on Saturday April 23rd.

The Climate Change Award will be given to an individual and a business/organization that has significantly contributed to advancing climate change mitigation, adaptation, awareness/knowledge, and or actions.

The Stewardship Award will be given to an individual and a business/organization that has significantly contributed to the advancement of environmental sustainability iniitiatives related to the conservation and/or stewardship of trees, natural heritage systems, water, and/or the reduction of waste.

The Environmental Youth Award will be given to an individual or youth group that has demonstrated exceptional achievement in the advancement of environmental protection, climate change actions, and/or sustainability.

The Environmental Legacy Award will be given to an individual who has provided outstanding personal service and ongoing contributions to advance the “Grow Green” vision of conserving, enhancing, and balancing our natural and built environments to crate a healthy, resilient and sustainable city.

Centre for Community Energy Transformation Board Member Application Deadline February 25th.

CCET logo

The City’s new Centre for Energy Transformation CCET is looking for members of the public to apply for volunteer transitional board positions.

The primary purpose of the transitional board will be to set up the CCET as a not-for-profit organization, hire an Executive Director and set the operational priorities for the first year.

Nine Board positions will be selected to work with five members of City staff to set up the CCET organization. The CCET will then act as a catalyst to help residents and businesses reduce energy consumption and move to lower carbon energy sources.

If you have experience in finance, governance or setting up a new organization, consider applying. The deadline to apply is February 25, 2022. Find full details and submit a board member application at www.brampton.ca/CCET.

Brampton Council to revisit support for the 413

Heritage Heights Boulevard (artist interpretation)

January 23, 2022

In an interesting move, two Brampton Councillors are asking that the City withdraw its support for highway 413. It was previously thought that the Provincial Government would support the City’s plan of a “Boulevard” option for the portion of the highway running through the Heritage Heights sub-division in the City’s northwest. More details about the Boulevard design can be found on the City’s website.

Evidently, the Ministry of Transportation has indicated they will not be incorporating the urban boulevard into their corridor planning, but rather will continue to plan on the basis of the entire corridor being a 400-series limited access highway.

Council is now realizing that, should the highway proceed as planned, it would split the Heritage Heights community in two and jeopardize Council’s vision for Heritage Heights as a complete community. Additionally the highway would “increase car dependence, contribute to low density suburban sprawl, increase greenhouse gas emissions, increase congestion, and prevent Council’s vision for northwest Brampton from being realized”.

While the revised Council resolution continues to support the urban boulevard concept, if it is passed, the City would now be strongly opposed to the current 400-series design currently being proposed by the Province.

The motion is set to be voted on at the January 26th, virtual meeting of Council. Residents wishing to speak to the issue can summit a delegation form to the cityclerksoffice@brampton.ca. Alternatively, letters in support of the motion to can be sent to MayorBrown@brampton.ca copying the City Clerk.

Nurturing Neighbourhoods Program Survey-Participate Today!

Nurturing Neighbourhoods
Nurturing Neighbourhoods logo

The Nurturing Neighbourhoods program provides residents the opportunity to play an active role in shaping the future of their neighbourhood! 

Complete the Nurturing Neighbourhoods survey and participate in the online mapping tool – this will allow us to capture comments from you; telling us what you love about your neighbourhood, what you wish was there, and where we could do better.

The survey is offered in multiple languages including Gujarati. Simply select your language at the top of the survey screen. Participants completing the survey by January 30, 2022, will be entered into a draw for a chance to win 1 of 10 prizes.

Learn more!

Future Ground Network Seminar for Environmental Organizations

We’re here to support you in building a strong and achievable strategy with your local group. Many of us have experience with strategies that feel too ambitious, under-resourced, unclear or just uninspiring. It’s time to switch things up!

Our strategy training is a 3-part series that will walk you through the steps to understanding your objectives, developing a concrete strategy to get you there, and planning a suite of tactics to help you strengthen your impact. Register here for Strategy Part 1: goals, strategy, and tactics on Wednesday, January 26 at 4pm Pacific / 7pm Eastern.

We’ve also got you covered on the digital side! Register here for our Action Network training on Tuesday, February 8 at 4:30pm PT / 7:30pm ET. You’ll be sending mass emails, launching online petitions, and tracking supporter engagement in no time.

One more thing — our 1-year anniversary is coming up! In March, we’ll be hosting a series of online events to bring our community together and learn from each other. We want to use this opportunity to spotlight your achievements. Help shape the series here (for an entry in our prize draw)!

Hope to see you soon,

Elizabeth Sarjeant
Future Ground Network Coordinator

The Globe and Mail invites you to a climate change seminar

Climate Change and the Private Sector: How can businesses and industries lead the response?

Free virtual event Thursday January 20, 2022 12:30-1:30pm EST

For more details and to register click here

Government policy has a clear role to play in Canada’s climate change response but equally compelling is the role of the private sector. Join The Globe’s Rita Trichur in conversation with environmental and business experts as they explore the opportunities and challenges facing Canadian businesses as they strive to make a greener future a reality

Sierra Club invites you to a seminar on Bison Conservation

Within a single human lifetime, tens of millions of bison were killed until less than a thousand individuals remained in all of North America. Despite over 120 years of hard work, many conservation challenges still face bison today. This is a story you don’t want to miss. It’s a story of twists and turns, from dramatic roundups by Blackfoot and Mexican cowboys, to epic train journeys, “lost” national parks, near-ruinous mistakes, and no small amount of luck.

When: January, 20, 2022 – 7 PM CT (5 PM PT / 6 PM MT / 8 PM ET / 9 PM ATL) 

Our presenter this month will be Lauren Markewicz, a member of our Prairie Chapter’s Executive Committee.

Lauren is a public historian who has come to specialize in the history of bison. She is the author of Through the Storm: Canada’s Bison Conservation Story, a book dealing with the twists and turns of the history of bison conservation in what is now Canada, in both images and text. 

She has worked at various historic sites and natural areas in Western Canada. She likes to spend time on the landscape, hiking and camping, and thinking a lot about the human relationships with and impacts on the land and the other creatures that live there.