Dedicated citizens have been working for over 15 years in Calgary to have a bylaw passed that will phase out pesticides. I knew about their efforts and was silently grateful to them. I didn’t think I would really do much except refrain from using pesticides myself.
I then experienced some health challenges and found that some part of me really reacted to pesticides. And I visited a friend who was part of the pesticide bylaw campaign. She invited me to a meeting of the campaign group. I went and suggested that they could make the bylaw a municipal election issue and re-invigorate the campaign.
Before I knew it, my skills as a facilitator of strategic planning were put to use as we mapped out the campaign for the next year. One of our group members put forward $10,000 to develop a website and kick-start a new initiative. I worked on the website and one of the most wonderful things was communicating with people across North America working on similar campaigns. Communicating by Internet and phone, we were able to get so far ahead of what we could have done alone. We copied much of the Coalition for a Healthy Ottawa’s website, used information from Saskatchewan groups, were cheered on by Colorado activists, and share our work with people in Kelowna working on a bylaw campaign.
Being the largest City in Canada without a pesticide bylaw, we have our work cut out for us in Calgary. The media is positive, though, and the public discourse is beginning to be about how dandelions aren’t so bad after all.
With the election in mid-October 2007, we need 8 Aldermen on-side to have a majority to pass a bylaw after the election. We now have 5 declared on-side.
Visit our website: www.healthycalgary.ca for lots of info on how to use natural landscaping practices on your yard and how Cities can use naturalization and natural practices to go pesticide-free. And feel free to copy the website or parts of it. It’s licensed under a creative commons agreement – just click on the icon on the bottom of each page to see the guidelines for that. We want others to be able to benefit from our labour of love!
Coalition for a Healthy Calgary