Waking up this spring morning, we can’t stop staring at the lush greens and feeling the warm breeze on our faces. What a grateful feeling! We live and thrive in the city of Toronto and are absolutely grateful for the fresh air, trees, clean water and so much more. In so many parts of the world, this may not be the case.
Toronto is home and every change, big or small, begins at home. We are sure that the two sisters, Lin and Toni, will vouch for it too. They started Plastic Free Toronto as a hub for sharing tips on low-waste living, but soon saw it turn into a movement of conscious Torontonians who want to live in a more wholesome and sustainable world, where climate change awareness and social justice are commonplace. These young ladies have set an example that we swear by.
Let’s join the plastic free revolution and get to know these two change-makers.
1. Tell us about your journey with Plastic Free Toronto and how it all began.
Our journey with Plastic Free Toronto began when Lin watched the film, A Plastic Ocean. We decided to start a #plasticfree30 challenge, wherein we tried not to acquire any new plastics at that time. Once we became aware of all of the plastic we had been unknowingly accumulating, we developed new habits and the 30 days turned into a new lifestyle.
2. What are the top three things that keep you both motivated to continue on your journey?
“Death, Destruction and Privilege” were the first three things that came to Toni’s mind. For Lin, it’s the work that's never done. Climate justice is not just about protecting the planet, it’s about re-valuing the world and making sure that people are treated fairly. As long as injustice exists, there will always be more work to do.
3. If you both were to invite 2 celebrities for your Sweet Potato Politics chat sessions, who would they be and why?
Naomi Klein - because she’s bomb! She has a wealth of knowledge about world politics and globalization and we want to pick her brain. Beyonce - because she’s badass and she clearly knows how to take over the world!
4. What has been your most favourite moment as a team in your journey so far?
Toni: Any time we do Sweet Potato Politics!
Lin: Any time we give lectures!
It’s always very gratifying to see people engage with one another in deep conversations and have fun while trying to tackle the biggest crisis of our time. We love to build a community!
5. If you both were given the chance to live a day of your dreams, what would it look like?
Toni: Cars would be gone, there would be green spaces everywhere, there would be no homelessness, no Donald Trump, no Justin Trudeau. Indigenous People would be governing the land. People would be supporting one another and sharing things. Everyone would have a living wage and strong social security. Public transit and education would be free. Carbon emissions would be falling, the polar ice caps would somehow be re-freezing. Forests would be regrown, and the Earth would be recovering.
Lin: And we’d be living in tiny houses on a small farm, growing our own food, doing yoga, with lots of bunnies :)
6. What small steps can Torontonians start with to accompany on your mission to make the city plastic free?
We all need to start pushing for systemic change. Individual actions to go zero waste or decrease your carbon footprint are great but ultimately aren’t going to fix the problem. Our activism must be a collective activity; We need to work with community groups, school groups, professors, food services, and local politicians. Talk to your neighbours and build resiliency in your community. Follow what is happening politically and fight back against the things that do not serve you. Be more than a consumer, be a citizen. Fight for the things that will build a better world - women’s rights, Indigenous rights, food sovereignty, workers’ rights, and environmental justice.
7. Tell us one quote each that Lin and Toni swear by.
Lin: Be the change you want to see in the world.
Toni: Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now. Love mercy now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.
8. What are the new events you’re planning and when? Any online events?
We have been hosting a YouTube Live series called We-solation, along with our friends Sophi Robertson, Erika Reyes, and Adrianna Couto. It is a series of hands-on workshops focused on learning new skills that will help us to live more sustainably. For example, turning old t-shirts into macrame plant holders, making condiments from scratch, starting an urban garden, or making homemade beauty and hair-care products.
Are you taking steps towards a sustainable future as well? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.