The City of Mississauga is home to more than 800,000 people, and as Canada’s sixth largest city, its municipal leaders feel they have an important responsibility to leave a legacy of a clean and healthy natural environment.
Thanks to funding from the CPRA’s Green Jobs Initiative, which is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Summer Work Experience program, the City of Mississauga was able to hire a university student to help spread its green message across communities.
“This role makes me feel like I’m part of the solution to work towards addressing climate change, and other environmental issues, through greater awareness and action,” says Geena Richards, who was hired to work as the City’s Environmental Outreach Student.
Within the last five years, the city has experienced more intense weather events – such as heat waves, rain, flooding and winter storms. The trend is expected to continue in the future.
As a member of the City’s environmental outreach team, Geena worked on a climate change engagement and outreach campaign to educate residents about the effects of climate change, and helped spread awareness of the City’s first Climate Change Action Plan.
The Plan’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and prepare Mississauga for the impacts of a changing global climate.
“I provided resources that helped residents live more environmentally, such as shopping at local farmers’ markets" - Geena Richards, student
She attended community events, where she spoke to residents about the City’s environmental initiatives – and, how they can do their part to contribute to a greener Mississauga.
“I provided resources that helped residents live more environmentally, such as shopping at local farmers’ markets. I also encouraged them to participate in outdoor activities that the City of Mississauga has to offer such as cycling, or even gardening in their own backyard,” Geena says.
Diana Suzuki Bracewell, the City’s Supervisor of Environmental Outreach, says that Geena’s role made an impact on community residents and leaders.
The City of Mississauga supports a more responsible and sustainable approach to the environment, she says, and change must start with citizens.
“Geena helped people to see how their actions can collectively help in the city’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change,” says Diana. “Engagement in sustainability, and changing behaviour, are integral elements of minimizing our impact on the environment. This contributes to reversing climate change.”
She adds that Geena’s role has helped Mississauga continue to be a green leader.
“The City of Mississauga works to be a responsible steward of the land by conserving, enhancing and connecting natural environments,” Diana says. “We have really benefitted from the Green Jobs Initiative.”
“The experience of this job has been extremely beneficial and memorable to my learning as a student in the environmental field" - Geena Richards, student
As a Master’s in Environmental Studies student, Geena has a passion for the environment and says she gained great experience in her field of study.
She says she learned a lot about the City of Mississauga’s environmental initiatives, but also how cities operate and how plans come to fruition at the municipal level.
Geena adds that she enjoyed working with colleagues who want to create a healthier environment for future Mississauga residents.
“The experience of this job has been extremely beneficial and memorable to my learning as a student in the environmental field, and my work colleagues made the experience even more enjoyable,” Geena says.
The CPRA’s Green Jobs Initiative supports Goal 3 ‘Connecting People & Nature’ and Goal 5 ‘Recreation Capacity’ within the Framework for Recreation in Canada. The Framework serves as a foundation for the work of the parks and recreation sector.
To read all success stories go to: https://www.cpra.ca/stories