The First Three Climate Picnics are the books — but we hope to do more, and maybe you will too! Here’s a how-to guide if you want to plan your own.
The basic plan is this — we are going to gather in the Southeast corner of Christie Pits Park, bring our signs and songs and musical instruments, and then sit down on the grass and eat while we talk about what we can do about climate change. While protests have their place, this event will be joyful and friendly — we hope people walking past will be curious enough to ask what’s going on — and maybe even join us. Bring guitars or drums or games or vegan cupcakes to share. Or just bring your questions and ideas!
The first picnic will be May 5 at 11am — but we are hoping to make it monthly, or maybe even weekly. This would also allow us to move around the city!
Most people now understand that we have to do something about climate change and we have to do it soon — but what do we do? Individual changes don’t seem sufficient and organizing collective change can be frustrating in the face of so much misinformation. Our climate crisis intertwines issues of equity, gender, food, environmental racism, indigenous sovereignty and daily life. There is no single-solution: it will take different people building different solutions at different scales. We need to make changes in our individual lives — eating less meat and dairy, driving less, flying less — but we also need to organize collective action to support those changes — bike lanes, better transit, renewable energy, new (or older) agricultural practices, macro-economic policies, regulations, divestment and new relationships with each other and our planet. CLIMATE PICNIC is an open invitation to anyone working on climate from any angle — or anyone who simply wants to learn more — to come out and meet like-minded people, build new networks and enjoy low-carbon luxuries like food, music and good weather.
If you are part of an organization — anything from a school eco-club to an international environmental organization — we encourage you to come out, bring a sign, flyers or just a short pitch about your group. We organized something similar for the Fridays for Future protest in March and it was a ton of fun. With warmer weather, we’ll be able to learn more and hang out for longer.
Climate Picnic is vegan-friendly. We recommend that you try to bring vegan food, even if you aren’t vegan. A chickpea salad for example is super easy to make and makes great picnic food. I’m not vegan myself, but I have given up red meat and am gradually reducing the amount of meat and dairy I consume. If you end up bringing some leftover sausages or your kid only eats ham sandwiches — that is, of course, totally fine. APIECALYPSE NOW — Toronto’s best Vegan Pizza Joint is right across the street.
Can I start a Climate Picnic near my house? Yes please! The wider we spread the better. Email us if you want advice or just do it on your own!
Is Climate Picnic only in Toronto? It is for now, but this event is super-easy to replicate. All it takes is one sign or banner, a few picnic blankets and some outreach to people who are already working on climate in your city. If it starts small, that’s okay — Greta Thunberg started by herself and she has completely changed the climate policy discussion in six months. Email us at contact [at] climatepledgecollective.org if you have any questions — but feel free to use the name, concept, anything you like. We’re a no-ego organization, if you can spread our ideas farther than we can, do it!
Climate Picnic, The Christie Pits and all of Toronto stand on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit. The territory was also the subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and Confederacy of the Ojibwe and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. It is also important to recognize that indigenous history is dynamic and changing — both before and after the arrival of settlers. The Haudenosaunee Confederacy was formed from the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca nation by the Great Law of Peace (Kayanerenkó:wa) which preceded and influenced the U.S. Constitution — although “some Haudenosaunee say that, in imitating the Great Law, the United States did so poorly, for their constitution neglects some of the most important aspects: peace, the Good Mind, obligations to the natural world, the importance of families, obligations to future generations, spirituality, respect for women.”(Williams, 2018). We also encourage Climate Picnic visitors to visit Nish Dish, just down the block from Christie Pits, before or after the picnic in order to get a taste of contemporary indigenous traditions.
Williams, K. P. (2018). Kayanerenkó: wa: The Great Law of Peace. Univ. of Manitoba Press.