Winter Solstice Sunrise, Oak Ridges Moraine, Ontario
Dear Friends,

Growing up in the 50s in Montreal I remember my mother making delicious Chinese honey garlic spareribs & a dish she called Javanese Pleasure. She & my aunt learned how to whip up homemade pizza from an Italian neighbour & in turn showed her how to make cabbage rolls. When I first moved to Oak Ridges in the mid 70s a visibly diverse demographic was absent. I had to venture far afield to Chinatown, Little India & St Lawrence Market for specific ingredients to cook the international foods I so enjoyed. What has this to do with the environment you may ask? I was not happy about the 87km round trips I had to make on a regular basis. Then slowly, something wonderful happened - our demographic changed to become so diverse that we now can source ingredients locally for any type of ethnic cooking. Just as nature benefits through biodivesity, our communities are richer when we broaden our views to learn & share from all cultures. I am happy to report that I have reduced my travel footprint drastically. Now if only I could source organic gai lan, methi & okra locally, I would be even happier. 

Organic IS the definitive word here if we want to reduce our ecological footprint as mentioned in YREA’s autumn e-news. Our Pesticides & GMOs -a Review of the Science has been updated since we first launched it, so take a look and learn why making the switch is such a positive action.

We all can do our part. YREA’s directors, besides serving on our board also serve the broader community - Abdullah & his community garden sharing, Corey & his wetland ecology work, Liz & her Joyfully Organic farming, Donna & her feral feline rescue, Susan & her home energy audits, Sylvia & her mind-body coaching are all contributing for the benefit of society & the environment.

While some of our politicians bemoan their inability to pave over their fiefdoms, I remember driving up unpaved Woodbine Ave north of 16th in Markham in the late 70s to be surprised by a male pheasant sweeping across the road in front of me in all its magnificent plumage. In the 80s, walking south on the TRCA trail towards Stouffville Rd in the Jefferson Forest, I flushed a Golden Eagle that was sussing out its lunch options. They are now gone, along with so many other species and their habitats. American Bittern, Jefferson Salamanders, Barred & Great Horned Owls are still around but for how long? The enlightened leadership needed in these times - to say enough is enough, to overcome self interest, obsession with constant growth & development, the profits of a few at the expense of the health of people & ecosystems, - is often absent, therefore we must continue to advocate & inform on issues of concern until there is change for the better. 

Finally, we are looking to Indigenous knowledge to help solve some of the problems we have created.  We wouldn’t be in this mess if we had heeded the wise words of Chief Seattle who said ‘Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the children of the earth'. Nevertheless, as the Winter Solstice approaches, we must remain optimistic that brighter days are ahead. All of us at YREA send our very best wishes to you. EVERYONE can contribute to a greener planet.

Keep the faith!
Gloria Marsh, Executive Director
HOLIDAY GIFTING IDEAS
Our annual green giving tips: Provide someone with a local job by giving a service like home improvements, accupunture or virtual yoga & exercise classes; support a local farmer by gifting an organic farm share veggie box; memberships in naturalists & hiking clubs; if you know of someone living alone who might appreciate a pet, consider a cat or a dog adoption (check first to make sure gift would be well received); books, as people read more; organic seeds for the garden; consumables that won't be shoved away & forgotten - locally roasted organic fair trade coffee, organic nuts, Canadian cheese, wine & honey, organic spices & homemade baked goods prepared with love.
Try and think outside the big box by supporting small local businesses.
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YREA really misses the fun of hosting our donor appreciation social. Hopefully we will be able to see you all again soon. Thank you!
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