December 28th, 2023

In 2023, the City of Peterborough added another safe cycleway - the Bethune Street Bike Boulevard - to help advance active transportation for all ages and abilities. Green Communities Canada's recent Collective Impact Report for 2022-2023 found that participants in member communities' active travel programs walked or biked the equivalent of 115 trips from the coasts of BC to Newfoundland, resulting in 216.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions reductions for the calendar year. (Photo: Lili Paradi / GreenUP)

In 2023, the City of Peterborough added another safe cycleway – the Bethune Street Bike Boulevard – to help advance active transportation for all ages and abilities. Green Communities Canada’s recent Collective Impact Report for 2022-2023 found that participants in member communities’ active travel programs walked or biked the equivalent of 115 trips from the coasts of BC to Newfoundland, resulting in 216.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions reductions for the calendar year. (Photo: Lili Paradi / GreenUP)

By: Lili Paradi, Communications Manager

Peterborough is part of a broad local, national, and international movement to limit the impact of climate change and protect our environment for the future. In 2023, amidst challenging changing weather conditions, including days filled with hazardous fire smoke, local action contributed to national climate goals.

At the 28th United Nations Climate Change conference, held from November 30 to December 12th at Expo City, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, nearly 200 countries meeting to discuss a swift, just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels.

In the spirit of COP28, we wanted to highlight how non-profits, specifically those doing work in Peterborough, are tackling this transition in measurable ways. Much of the work that GreenUP does, with the support of our national partners, is an important step in helping Peterborough Region reach our climate targets and bolster adaptation efforts.

Green Communities Canada (GCC) is one such national partner that certainly takes meaningful action on climate change, and champions a greener future on a national scale. Part of their national support is to provide resources and funding to local organizations like GreenUP to plan, execute and reflect on climate action initiatives in cities like Peterborough.

GCC recently released their Collective Impact Report for 2022-2023, highlighting the 22 member organizations that are “enabling grassroots action to increase resilience, address vulnerabilities, and protect human and ecosystem health”.

As a member organization, GreenUP is one small, but impactful part of this collective, and contributes to quantifiable national climate action metrics in three distinct program areas.

Green Communities Canada’s first Collective Impact Report for 2022-2023 outlines how the association and its 22 member organizations are enabling grassroots action across the country to increase resilience, address vulnerabilities, and protect human and ecosystem health. (Graphic: Green Communities Canada)

Green Communities Canada’s first Collective Impact Report for 2022-2023 outlines how the association and its 22 member organizations are enabling grassroots action across the country to increase resilience, address vulnerabilities, and protect human and ecosystem health. (Graphic: Green Communities Canada)

The first example of GreenUP’s impact is the driven work of GreenUP’s Registered Energy Advisors. This Peterborough-based team is trained to support homeowners to make emissions reductions through pre-retrofit energy assessments and post-retrofit assessments.

Green Communities Canada noted that nationally, they had supported home energy retrofits that resulted in reductions of 2,175,000 kgs (2,175 tonnes) of CO2e per year between 2022 and 2023.

Between January and August of 2023 alone, GreenUP had performed 272 pre-retrofit energy assessment visits in the Peterborough region. By August, 80 of the homeowners out of 272 had completed home retrofits and were ready to access the financial incentives available to them by completing a post-retrofit assessment.

The total reductions resulting from the retrofits that those 80 GreenUP clients completed resulted in 212,900 kilograms (212.9 tonnes) of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions reductions.

Many of Green Communities Canada’s member organizations also work to improve active transportation efforts in cities.

Between 2022 and 2023, across Canada, participants in the 22 GCC hubs’ active travel programs walked or biked the equivalent of 115 trips from the coasts of BC to Newfoundland, resulting in 216.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions reductions for the calendar year.

In Peterborough, the Shifting Gears programs (delivered by GreenUP) in 2022 resulted in participants using active travel for the equivalent of 8 of those cross-Canada trips, for a total of 45,266 kilometers. In 2023, 57,103 more kilometers were travelled using active transportation modes by Peterborough residents.

In Canada, household energy use and transportation are significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Green Communities Canada’s programs target these emissions and offer supports that enable measurable carbon reductions. Registered Energy Advisors with Green Communities Canada member GreenUP performed 272 pre-retrofit energy assessment visits in the Peterborough region between January and August of 2023 alone. (Photo: Lili Paradi / GreenUP)

In Canada, household energy use and transportation are significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Green Communities Canada’s programs target these emissions and offer supports that enable measurable carbon reductions. Registered Energy Advisors with Green Communities Canada member GreenUP performed 272 pre-retrofit energy assessment visits in the Peterborough region between January and August of 2023 alone. (Photo: Lili Paradi / GreenUP)

Finally, adapting green infrastructure was a highlight for urban city centres, including Peterborough.

In 2022 and 2023, members of GCC’s collective restored 15,825m2 of urban land. Restoration projects included tree planting, depaving unused concrete areas, installing rain gardens, and restoring riparian zones. The total area is more than 40 basketball courts in size that can now sequester carbon, return filtered rain to the water table, and promote biodiversity.

This work includes 13 mini-orchards being grown and cared for in the City of Peterborough. The Peterborough Community Orchard Stewards continue to support these local Food Forests each season.

In the fall of 2023, GreenUP continued building on this success, through the planting of our first three mini-forests, made up of 371 trees, and this good work continues.

The COP28 global climate conference concluded with statements supporting that global greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut 43% by 2030, compared to 2019 levels, to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Green infrastructure programs address key risks, reduce local vulnerabilities, and help cities adapt to climate change. Part of green infrastructure is enhancing and protecting greenspaces and providing safe routes for active travel. (Photo: Lili Paradi / GreenUP)

Green infrastructure programs address key risks, reduce local vulnerabilities, and help cities adapt to climate change. Part of green infrastructure is enhancing and protecting greenspaces and providing safe routes for active travel. (Photo: Lili Paradi / GreenUP)

As Green Communities Canada’s Executive Director Brianna Salmon describes in the Collective Impact report, “We know that communities are at the heart of climate justice solutions.”

Grassroots action led by Green Communities Canada and its member organizations, the local champions of this work, will be essential to reaching ambitious climate targets like those set at COP28.

As a GCC member, GreenUP is proud that Peterborough is part of a national movement. As we move towards more ambitious, and very necessary, climate targets, GreenUP looks forward to continuing this work to ensure our community meets our climate goals.

On behalf of GreenUP, we wish our community a safe and happy New Year. We look forward to working alongside you to advance the local, national, and international climate movement in the critical years ahead.