Motivational Interviewing can Help the Environment

Collision Conference

Enviromentum wants to change the discussion around the climate crisis to be more positive. They do this through the practice of motivational interviewing which engages the interviewee in a meaningful way to them. The idea is to maintain a conversation that’s positive while also getting people to realize how they can improve the world. If everyone makes a tiny a change to their lifestyle we can collectively see massive positive change.

Motivational Interviewing is the most evidence based way to help people change. The approach is so simple, and humble it attracts next to no attention, yet this doesn’t change its effectiveness. 

People change for their own intrinsic reasons. Motivational Interviewing is the process for helping people to explore those intrinsic motivations with us. As Motivational Interviewers we help people resolve feelings of ambivalence and our collaborative spirit helps people get more deeply in touch with their reasons – in a way that enhances their self-worth.

Motivational Interviewing enhances the autonomy of individuals to decide for themselves what is best for them based on their own reasons. By realizing that others have the right to choose for themselves, we change the spirit in which we communicate with others, and this ripples through every statement we make.  We become less pushy, and less focused on our own reasons for others to change, making space for their reasons, their plan of action, and ultimately their choice to change or not change.

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A Tale of Protestors Dressed as Handmaids

Ontarios’s very unpopular Conservative party is trying its best to not conserve women’s rights and this is obviously causing issues. The majority of people in the province don’t want women to lose legal protections – particularly when it come to health care. The anti-women political drive is being led by Sam Oosterhoff who has made news before when elderly people showed up to his office and read books (yes it’s as ridiculous as it sounds).

So what’s so good about this?

Women have started to show up to Oosterhoff’s media appearances dressed as Handmaids from Handmaids Tale as a quick symbol to show the intentions of the Conservative party. What’s more is that the protests are working and their movement is growing.

Saturday’s protesters weren’t just from Niagara, with many coming from across the GTHA and were mobilized quickly. It was just Wednesday (May 15) that Burlington’s Jennifer Botari invited three friends to join a private Facebook group called “Handmaid’s Local 905.” By the end of the week, the group had 3,000 members, and nearly a dozen other chapters sprang up across the country.

“In less than three days, we have a movement of thousands that have come out,” she said. “As fast as I can find people to run the locals, we’re bringing them online.”

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Birch Bark Coffee Provides Drinkable Water

Coffee production takes a lot of water and produces a wonderful bean filtered drink at the end. In Canada many aboriginal communities are suffering from a lack of potable water let alone good coffee. The plight of these communities enrages Canadians since one of the wealthiest nations in the world can’t even provide drinkable water for its citizens. Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow saw the hardships faced in these communities and decide to do something: make coffee that will fund sustainable healthy potable water.

In March, Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, a member of the Whitefish River First Nation, launched the Birch Bark Coffee Company, an Ottawa-based coffee roastery that produces fair trade, certified-organic coffee.

More than just a coffee company, Birch Bark is a social enterprise: $2.50 from the sale of every pound of coffee will go into a trust to purchase water purifiers for every home in an Indigenous community in Ontario that’s experiencing water issues.

“I really can’t fix the bigger problem of the water plant, but I can definitely bring clean water into a home instantly,” Marsolais-Nahwegahbow said. “And when I’m done Ontario, I’m moving my way across Canada to work on every province.”

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Intensify the Suburbs to Save Ontario

the suburbs

The government of Ontario hates the environment so much that they are removing simple environmental protections and firing people who care about the environment. Thankfully some of those who are losing their jobs just published a fantastic report before they are forced out. The report points out we know the solutions to our overuse of fossil fuels and high carbon output. It also highlights that change needs to come from cities since there is only so much individuals can do. A key aspect of saving the planet that Ontario can do is revisit its land use policy.

Automobile-dependent suburban landscapes must be our focus for change. The vast majority of Ontarians who live in metropolitan areas live in such landscapes: 7.7 million of 11.3 million people.

Cars alone produce 20% of the province’s greenhouse gas emissions. Transit is 10 to 50 times more energy efficient. In other words, if we all took transit instead of driving, we could make all the same trips we do now (i.e. no change in lifestyle) for a fraction of the fossil fuel use.

The report makes an excellent case for the steps that municipal governments can take, even in the absence of provincial leadership. Municipalities have great influence in land use – changes in zoning and development approval processes, for example, would make a difference in facilitating more “missing middle” housing. Don’t provide free parking for staff. Build cycling lanes and strong, accessible public spaces. We don’t have to accept the low bar set in the Growth Plan.

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Congestion Pricing Gaining Popularity

Nobody likes sitting idle in traffic yet we keep building roads and supporting the automobile as a transit solution. To alleviate pressure from commuters driving into the city (who are likely not carpooling) cities turn to congestion charging on autos. It’s a simple concept to at least match the cost of using public transit with the cost of driving into a city. Difficulties arise in North America where public transit isn’t well funded and historically policy favoured cars instead of people. The unique challenges in North America are being put to the test this year and it’s looking promising that drivers will actually have to pay for the roads they use.

What happens in New York could set a precedent for the rest of the country, which is undergoing several, simultaneous debates about sweeping reforms amid the progressive “blue wave” that characterizes the left in 2019, from the Green New Deal to Medicare for All. If implemented correctly, congestion pricing, which has already reached cities like London and Stockholm could upend traffic flow and curb carbon emissions while funding the crumbling subway infrastructure. 

But congestion pricing also means we risk hurting the working class when we try to mitigate climate change by addressing transportation. Think of the Yellow Vest protests in France: the protests were instigated by a fuel tax law intended to combat climate change. However, working class people argued that the tax was regressive. The scope of the protests gradually expanded to more general societal frustrations—specifically, the fact that lawmakers only try to improve society by taxing the poor.

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