Why I Joined Climate Justice Niagara

By Emily Pfau 

When I joined in on a Zoom meeting last Fall for Niagara in Action, I had no idea how much it would impact me. I had been involved in Niagara Anglican Youth Ministry through my parish, St. Michael’s in Hamilton, and through that I learned of this other opportunity. 

The presenters that day were both speaking about “Purging Plastic,” one from a personal viewpoint and one from a national perspective. The first was Canon Dawn Davis and her daughter, Yohanna, who taught us how they tried to use less plastic in their home and in their lives. They talked about “shopping naked,” meaning you would only use reusable bags, limit the number of products you buy that have plastic packaging, and so on. Some tips included baking or making things at home, like making hamburger buns and freezing them or even making ice cream at home. When buying meat, bring your own steel containers. Yohanna even stopped eating one her favourite foods, yogurt, because of the plastic containers.  

The second presentation was by Ashley Wallis, from an organization called Environmental Defence. They have been doing work in Canada for over 30 years. Ashley shared many facts most people are not aware of about plastics. For example, almost half the plastic waste in Canada is single use, and 86% of all Canadian plastic waste is sent to a landfill. 

One area we need more awareness about is microplastics. Ashley wasn’t trying to scare us, but it is important to know that plastic isn’t just in the landfills, but it is everywhere, and the tiniest pieces of plastic when broken down are called microplastics. They can make their way into our food and our water and into us. Imagine we are eating plastic in our food!  

It was a very informative morning and opened my eyes to new things. I knew I wanted to learn more and get involved so I joined Climate Justice Niagara. 

Then on March 10 of this year, Climate Justice Niagara put on an event called, “A Coffee House About Water.” This came to life because I had an idea about putting on an event to get the message out to people. Deirdre Pike helped me plan this as well as the rest of the committee members. I presented on what had inspired me. It was a wonderful night and I would love to have something like it again.  

I am honoured to be on the Climate Justice Niagara committee and encourage other youth to join me in get involved in fighting the climate crisis.