‘We Can Become a Very Resilient Community’

Transition Town Peterborough unveils 3-part plan to sustainability amidst climate change

In neighbourhoods, people have meaningful interaction with their fellow citizens. They are conscientious about energy use and practise conservation. They eat produce grown in local gardens and meat raised by area farmers. They make purchases using the community’s very-own currency.

It’s a pretty picture, an ideal way to live on a planet fragile amidst the turmoil of climate change. It’s also a vision for Peterborough — and more than a pretty picture — that’s quite achievable in the eyes of the community’s “Transitioners.”

Transitioners, also known as Transition Town Peterborough (TTP) participants, are acting now to make progress around three key pillars they consider necessary for resiliency. TTP is unveiling a plan called Resilient Peterborough 2030 and hopes others will be moved to join them on the journey towards a healthier, more sustainable community.

“We need to really look at our assets collectively as a community and bring it together.”

Resilient Peterborough 2030 is an initiative led by citizens to secure the health and economic welfare of the community as a whole, encompassing those who reside in the city, Peterborough County and in First Nations communities. The goal is to create a resilient local world in the face of climate change through a focused energy descent program, a thriving local economy and an abundant local food system.

“It’s about bringing the three key issues into one place, says Transitioner Andrea Connell about the Resilient Peterborough 2030 initiative.

“We want to create this understanding that if we have a strong local currency and we have a strong local food component and we have a strong energy descent program then we can become a very resilient community.

“We are trying to increase the awareness that we are all in this together. We need to really look at our assets collectively as a community and bring it together — to ensure these three key areas are being supported — through each of our own efforts but without duplication and without splintering resources further.”

Because of the advancing and very observable effects from the climate crisis, emphasis is on adaptation and the building of both personal and community resilience.

The three-year plan encompasses implementing three lead initiatives under the Resilient Peterborough 2030 banner. The initiatives are the Transition Neigbourhoods Project, the Digital Kawartha Loon and 50 % Local Food 2030.

  • Transition Neighbourhoods Project: This program creates neighbour-to-neighbour relationships and builds networks of working groups throughout the region. It empowers people to create long-term environmental and social change and helps residents realize significant savings on their household bills.
  • Digital Kawartha Loon or the eKL: The eKL is in the planning phase. Built on a smart phone pay system platform, the eKL, complementing the paper print version, will allow the Kawartha Loon to become a more broadly-acceptable loyalty program for locally-owned businesses and farming enterprises in their fight against the big box and on-line retailers. The eKL is the first piece of economic infrastructure designed to help the broader community become more resilient through economic localization.
  • 50 % Local Food 2030: Currently 95 per cent of the community’s food is imported. The intent and plan for 50% Local Food 2030 is to start with an economic impact analysis of shifting 50 per cent of food purchases to local sources and then working out what economic and physical infrastructure is required to support local food as an economic driver, jobs generator and resiliency-builder for the community.

Community conversations on these lead resiliency initiatives are starting now and include planning the physical and economic infrastructure required to support Resilient Peterborough 2030 and suggestions on how to share the financing with local investors.

It’s an exciting time and the future is promising, Andrea says, given TTP is an exceptionally-thriving example of a Transition Town. “We do really great work here.”

And for now, and as always, “we’re looking to nature as our key informer.”

For more information, click here.

Related Story:

‘It All Just Stemmed From Having My Feet in the Dirt’


Photo by Yvonne Hollandy

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