As part of our Southern Ontario Campaigns, Earthroots has begun a series of classroom presentations discussing the importance of Ontario's Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine in the context of ongoing growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Educating youth and involving them in discussions about how Southern Ontario should continue to grow and develop must be a part of our long-term strategy to ensure adequate consideration and protection of our environment and natural resource base.
Our current presentations focus on the importance of the Oak Ridges Moraine as a natural feature that sustains communities in Southern Ontario. We discuss the issue of ongoing urban sprawl in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, and how this led to the need for protection for the Moraine. In order to set the context for discussing the importance of the implementation of Smart Growth principles and the importance of Ontario's Greenbelt, we aim to draw the connections between how the shape of our communities, current growth practices, and our everyday activities affect the state of the environment and our own health in turn.
To focus on solutions we discuss the ideas and goals of Smart Growth, as they attempt to improve sprawling development models. We discuss how Smart Growth aims to form healthier, more complete, people-friendly communities in order to concentrate growth in already developed areas, protecting key green space, wildlife habitat, and near-urban agricultural land outside of existing communities.
Discussions about urban sprawl and Smart Growth set the stage for discussing the protection created for Ontario's Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine as an important measure to shape and improve development practices, and to protect integral environmental features in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. We focus on the Greenbelt's ability to provide clean air, water, and opportunities for recreation for Southern Ontarians; on the importance of fostering a healthy local food supply, protecting agricultural land, and rebuilding key connections between rural and urban economies; and on the role the Greenbelt plays in protecting biodiversity and wildlife habitat in Southern Ontario.
We aim to empower youth, and give them the tools to take meaningful action to push policy and practice regarding these issues in the right direction. Whether it be campaigning for a percentage of the food in their cafeteria to be supplied by local farmers, ways to reduce their own ecological footprint, or writing a letter to an elected official about one of the issues we discuss, our goal is to inspire youth and provide them with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to feel that there own actions do make a difference. We also hope to build and maintain long-term relationships with the schools and students we work with to facilitate ongoing knowledge sharing and partnerships between educators, students, and the not-for-profit environmental community.
We are currently looking for more opportunities to present in classrooms within the Greater Golden Horseshoe. If you are an educator and have an interest in having Earthroots visit your school or classroom, please contact us! We are also looking for the help and input of professional educators and designers to improve our presentation and tailor it to different age groups. Finally, we would like to turn these presentations into a weekly or bi-weekly practice that would span the school year; if you know of or work for a foundation that would be interested in funding such a project, please let us know.