Tree Planters Podcast


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Show Notes

This week (really last week, but there's been a lot happening and we've had our hands full!) we talk with Jennifer Van Gennip about affordable housing and the advent of modern homelessness.

Jennifer works with a number of groups that address these issues, including the Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness (SCATEH), the Simcoe County Poverty Reduction Task Group (PRTG), Redwood Park Communities, the Down Syndrome Association of Ontario... and this Isi just to name a few, believe it or not!

Episode Links:

Shooting The Hippo: Death By Deficit And Other Canadian Myths by Linda McQuaig

A Better World Ahead Means Shaping Emerging Narratives Now, by Kristen Grimm

Push, the Film

Revisionist History

This week we talk with Shak Edwards about her work mentoring youth, particularly Black youth, and the values of humility and kindness that she works from.

We also talk about the Black Lives Matter movement, about the efforts Shak, as well as others, have undertaken locally to support Black youth, and whether the Raptors will repeat as NBA champions this year.

Episode Links:

Just Recovery Simcoe

Shak's World

Uplift Black Youth

Making Change

Revolution Ramblings (podcast)

More news on local street closures to help with the recovery from COVID-19, an update on Simcoe County's request for a Ministerial Zoning Order which would allow for more sprawl, and a chat with Franz Hartmann, former Executive Director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance, who is currently engaged with the Small Change Fund and the Green Future Fund.

Episode Links:

Pembina Institute: Principles and recommendations for a 2020 economic stimulus package

COVID-19: Status of Cases in Toronto (map of neighbourhoods included)

County endorses fast-tracking plan to turn Oro-Medonte farmland into seniors housing

Small Change Fund

The Green Future Fund

The main portion of the show this week is an interview with Heather Keam, of the Tamarack Institute. Heather is manager of Cities, Cities Deepening Community, Vibrant Communities at Tamarack and she spoke with us about what Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is and how can help strengthen communities and build resilience.

In the chat before the interview Margaret and Adam discuss concerns regarding the Ontario government's seemingly singular focus on business interests in their planning for a recovery from COVID-19, why that could pose problems for future resilience to crises, and why we need a Just Recovery based on an inclusive dialogue with all, rather than a recovery that focuses simply on business.

Episode Links (updated May 25):

Just Recovery Initiatives

Toronto Environmental Alliance: Recommendations to the Mayor’s Economic Support and Recovery Task Force

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment - Letter / Petition 

David Suzuki Foundation - Petition

Corporate Knights - Building Back Better Hub

Task Force for a Resilient Recovery

Canada Green Building Council - Press Release

C40 - Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force

Resilient Recovery 

Just Recovery

Letter to the Prime Minister, urging a recovery with investment in natural/green infrastructure 

Public Letter urging a green recovery from global health leaders

Just Recovery Resources

World Economic Forum - Here’s why the world’s recovery from COVID-19 could be doughnut shaped

World Health Leaders Urge Green Recovery

Asset Based Community Development Resources

Tamarack Institute

Stony Plain, Alberta - Connecting to Your Community

Edmonton - Community Development in Neighbourhoods / Abundant Edmonton

This week we are joined by Mary Wagner of Friends of Simcoe Forests. We talk about their work to protect the Freele Tract forest on Horseshoe Valley Road and the County seeking a Ministerial Zoning Order to override due process.

We also talk about the first openings of streets in our area to allow for safer physical distancing, London's (UK) announcement that it will greatly expand areas dedicated to pedestrian use, the risk-averse stance of many governments and how this can be a problem when it comes to the changes we need to counter climate change and many other environmental and social issues, and we poke around a little on the topic of a just recovery. (We'll have much more to announce about a just recovery in the coming weeks.)

Stay safe, and think about your risk/reward ratio if you are thinking about changing your behaviour as lock-down starts to lift! (Want to hang with some friends? Are the risks presented by COVID-19 less than the reward of their close physically proximity?)

Episode Links:

City creating temporary space for pedestrians and cyclists on Lakeshore Drive

Large areas of London to be made car-free as lockdown eased

Ontario's Job Market during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ottawa seeks ‘shovel-ready’ projects for post shutdown stimulus plan

City of Barrie looking to convert parking spaces into outdoor patios to help restaurant sector

Planning Act, Delegation of Minister's Powers (Ministerial Zoning Order)

Friends of Simcoe Forests (Facebook)

Friends of Simcoe Forests (website)

This week we talk about the impacts of COVID-19 on our communities, specifically regarding some of the lessons that we can learn from COVID-19 that will help build resilience for the future.   A lot of what we spend our time thinking about in this regard has to do with the impacts of climate change, and a couple of the areas we talk about have to do with food security and providing people with more options for how they access basic amenities (rather than relying only on a car).

Episode links:

Talking Headways Podcast (Episode) How Oakland Got It So Right

Jeff Wood

Warren Logan

The War On Cars Podcast

Barrie Urban Gardeners

Parachute Webinar

Brent Toderian

Bartek Komorowski

Linda Rothman

Video recording on Youtube



We visit residents near Waverley who are battling to protect water from aggregate mining.

We did this one as a photo essay, so check out the episode page, where you can find the episode player along with a whole bunch of resources, here.


About the Tree Planters Podcast

We live in a world running out of space, resources, and time.

There are solutions.

We can build a better world - a world that is fair, healthy, and prosperous.

But this requires transformative change.

Why Tree Planters Podcast you ask?

Well, there's a great proverb that goes as follows: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

We feel there's a scarcity of tree planters in positions of power these days.

Each month we look at problems and solutions relating to how we live in modern society, including those of sprawl and associated consumption patterns and behaviour, climate change, habitat degradation and species loss, community development and empowerment, knowledge of and connection to place, leadership and accountable governance, among others.

We welcome you to join us on our journey. Please don't hesitate to connect with us if you have suggestions or questions.

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.