Skip to content

Guelph Climate Action Network refocuses on community climate initiatives

GCAN is a rebrand of the Guelph Green New Deal
Two members of the Guelph Climate Action Network, John Steggles and David Douglas.

The Guelph Green New Deal has re-branded as the Guelph Climate Action Network (GCAN) for greater connectivity and getting climate initiatives in the community going.

The group works with about a dozen other community organizations in the city.

GCAN meets with the City of Guelph every six weeks with people in departments like energy management and climate, said David Douglas, one of six who make up the group.

The Guelph Green New Deal was a group in Guelph which included many local organizations, similar to others across Canada, to tackle issues around climate and sustainability, he said.

Douglas is putting climate at the forefront of GCAN because without taking care of the earth the economy, paying for a mortgage or groceries can’t happen along with it.

“So our intent is not to develop a grand master plan. Those things don't work. We don't have the answers ourselves. We're not going to turn the climate clock around. We know that. But we have to find ways for the community to start finding ways to adapt to the changing, the rapidly changing climate,” said Douglas.

In a GCAN press release it outlines climate initiatives from the City of Guelph like a net zero challenge, electrification of city vehicles, and the Guelph Greener Homes program.

GCAN is about joining neighbours, neighbourhoods, local organizations and businesses together, said Douglas.

What is the biggest climate initiative in Guelph right now? It’s hard to point to a big one, said Douglas.

In five years time he hopes to say the neighbourhood organizations have retrofitted houses for lower and middle income families and have clean electricity furnaces. And hopes the manufacturing sector in Guelph has put in green roofs and replaced its trucks with electric trucks, he said.

We need the group to be in Guelph and be fully about climate, Douglas said. 

“And we need action, and the only way we're going to get to action is by networking,” he said.

The key part is we have to act as a community since we’re all in this together, he said.

“Guelph now has to really set aside petty jealousies and any divisions that we sometimes see among ourselves, between city and community, between business and workers, between … new Canadians and old Canadians, whatever divisions are there. We really have to set these aside and address this together. So we have to draw upon the very best that makes Guelph a great community,” said Douglas. 

"There is no sugar coating the climate crisis “ this is not scare mongering. This is for real."