I started DADA. A children's health and environmental charity and nonprofit.
We are dad's ( and mom's, teachers, grandparents and such), who care about the climate and the health and safety of children.
We had one simple ask.
When parked, turn off our engines to reduce emissions. We asked school bus drivers if they can help protect our children, by agreeing to shut engines off when parked.
We asked citizens, business owners and of course cities to do this simple act of green.
It is estimated that almost $100 million of taxpayers money goes up in smoke annually from city fleets, buses, contractors and other taxpayer-funded fleets who leave engines running, polluting in-spite of local policies and idling bylaws the city bylaw department enforces. This makes them the single biggest idling bylaw repeat offender in the community.
So, our children see this and their climate anxiety is the result, after seeing how our government is clearly not engaged on climate as they say they are.
It is for this reason, we ask all cities to double-down on their climate action plans to reduce emissions by doing it themselves.
Engines off when parked. Follow the 1 minute idling bylaw. No excuses.
Do it for the kids!
Put the health and safety and well-being of the people and planet first.
I ask all councilors and the Mayor to support this simple act of green at their first council meetings.
A 100% idle-free city fleets declaration and pledge.
"Whenever possible, all city fleets and buses, fire, police and ambulance as well as contractors paid by the tax-payers, are asked to turn engines off when vehicle is parked or unoccupied for extended periods of time. Follow the 1 minute idling bylaw at a minimum."
My campaign story....
My campaign story:
Why I ran.
Some have asked. Here is the story.
My strategic nomination, 'accidental candidacy' and non-campaigning was unique.
My running for Mayor was to promote what most of us feel, is a need for paradigm shift in how local government is run. Streamlined, efficient, empowered staff and leaders who are focusing on a vision of what is possible if we all come together. We also need to be much more proactive and preventative on climate issues, with cities needing to be a primary cheerleader for change at the community level.
IN short: Cities, like Burlington, need to take climate more seriously and show that they are doing what is needed.
So, I put my name on the ballot, inspired by those who are demanding action on climate and children who are just plain 'sad' as they see adults acting with disregard for their well-being. They are the future. We need to make decisions based on the newcomers in the maternity wards as well as the seniors who want to enjoy our parks and social events.
My campaign was based on Just 1 idea.
To be a voice for those who don't have a voice.
Just 1 motto and mission: "Put People and Planet first. Together!"
Just 1 message to all politicians. "Do the Right Thing!"
The truth is, I gave up on climate. After 20 years of dealing with 100's of cities, politicians and public servants, it was clear, what we are doing now is not working.
We all know it. GHG emissions are at the highest levels ever. Inspite of our need to reduce 7% of emissions per year, just to meet our 2030 targets, we are still talking about things, that we were talking about, 10 years ago.
So, inspired, 1 day in July, during one long 20 km jog, by 1 song and 1 group of people and 1 message... I Had A Crazy Idea To Run For Mayor To Change The World. One last try! Run for Mayor & don't try. No stress. Speak the truth. Get city hall to at least 'listen'. Whatever happens, happens.
We all say 'we need someone who cares to run' and we need new ideas and something different. So I did.
The good news is that I got more done in 10 weeks than I got done in 10 years with city hall. Not much mind you, but progress at least (thanks to City Manager for being open to ideas. BTW).
So, this was making this worthwhile on it's own, win or lose. For example, I met with managers to get them to try to do things on climate and engage staff on climate. I also met with staff to learn perspectives and to gauge their motivation and readiness to do the right thing. Some really are good people who want to make a difference and just need to be empowered and 'unshakled'. Others... 'not as much motivation'.
I presented climate as a priority and elevated the issue with some. Some agree the city needs to do more. Others are protective of their image and defensive when we show them as greenwashing.
I shared an open letter to councilors, after the election to try to engage their support and to show them the 'opportunity' they have. All I can do is share ideas and hope they will agree with part of the message and show initiative. If not, that is ok. I can just try! In spirit of transparency, email me and I will send others a copy to read as well. (it's long)
I brought public awareness to showcase how the city is part of the climate crisis. My story resonated with many citizens who learned about my idling message to the city over the years and lack of response.( yup I get it, it's tiring to hear it, but it's one of 100's of things the city needs to do better and is visible example we see in the community each day. That fact we ignore it as citizens is part of the problem. etc)
I met with citizens and found they are tired in general. Many do not know what they can do on climate. It's overwhelming. We need leadership and to make solving climate a positive experience and simple to do. (As a result of this insight, that will be a project I will work on in the coming year!)
It was eye opening but not surprising to the public as they too, have given up on climate too. The city needs to know that their inaction on climate is the main reason we cannot engage citizens on action.
Cities like Victoria BC have 'climate-engaged citizens', who are much more likely to do their part for the planet. This is largely because of the city they live in, that is setting an example from the leadership down to fleets and staff. Community pride and engagement is the result. We can do that too.
In our case, I proved to the public, that the city ( and most cities in the GTA) are in fact, the single biggest and #1 repeat offender of their own local climate bylaws and policies - including their idling bylaws. IN some cities, staff have actually issued a directive to staff, bylaw and managers to ignore idling bylaws and climate-related policies. Their own statistics prove it.
I also showed the fact that our youth, children and citizens are suffering from mental distress as a result. In some cases, they feel lasting distress, after dealing with city hall, and even climate anxiety, as a result of governmental denial, delay tactics and political games being played.
Even while calls for climate urgency fill our TV news channels, we have social media tweets with pretend actions, plaque ceremonies and false prophetic statements to message calm to cover up the fact global emissions are at all-time highs. We need to set aside ego, image and politically motivated posturing and speak the truth and "Be the Pollution Solution!". Cities have an opportunity to lead this as they are the only ones who have a direct impact and influence on the communities they lead.
We need managers at city hall to be trained on climate as well. Staff too. Some do not believe climate is real or urgent. Others do but do not know what they can do. Some, are roadblocks and need to be held accountable. Staff need to focus on actions and not paperwork as the way to reduce emissions.
The paper-based climate action plans have clearly not worked. It is insanity that we continue to do reports and studies and then wonder why we are not reaching our targets. It's climate psychology 101 and motivations, combined with systemic failures that require paradigm-shifts in how local goverments act on climate.
IN short, use the low-hanging-fruit opportunities as climate gifts to reduce emissions. Turning off engines when parked is a no-brainer.
Then, challenge staff to do more with less. If staff cannot do it, hire community leaders who can do it. Outsource the climate action plan's action items if staff cannot do it! See "Future leaders now" program.
Staff, have to understand that 20 years of cut-and-pasted climate reports, action plans and presentations to buy time is not working! We have to wake-up city hall to do what is needed. From turning off lights and engines when not in use, to conserving energy, to hiring engaged leaders of the future, to building ultra-green developments of the future, we need to do the hard things and the simple things.
We need bold visions of what is needed and the willingness to do what is needed.
We need leaders willing to admit what we are doing is not working. We need leaders to be able to put a stop to climate negligence that is causing harm and environmental crimes against humanities need to reduce emissions. That is why the leadership gap is the #3 most pressing issue facing society. We simply do not have the political will or desire to solve the climate crisis and are too afraid to do what is really needed. I get it. Change is hard.
It's time to put on our big boy pants and do what is needed.
I urge leaders of the future to prepare for future elections. We need passion, purpose, meaning and integrity and a vision. I strongly urge young leaders to prepare now, for upcoming elections and to apply for jobs at cities. We need creative ideas and ambitious leaders of tomorrow in the next election. That is my biggest lesson learned! Old folks, including me, are not as well versed on technology as the young are. We need young, ambitious leaders, mentored by the best, to be the best, to run in the next Mayoral election.
I am a businessman and a holistic-innovations consultant who sees our climate, mental and health pandemic as an opportunity and 'challenge', not a crisis. We over-complicate things and the bureaucratic systems is the cause. Staff only understand their way as the only way and are blinded by opportunities to solve climate as a result. Climate psychology and government lens and perspective is a fascinating area to learn. I strongly urge a focus on this area to understand why we are not solving climate.
In short: we don't really want to. It is too comfy where we are. We are largely giving up on climate as a result. aka. Climate apathy.