Earth day has been extended into the weekend with events organized across central Ontario. In Bradford, dozens of people from York Region and Simcoe County came together to voice their concerns about local projects.

“People are coming together. We care about climate, and something needs to be done,” said Claire Malcomson, who helped organize the protest.

Many people in attendance held signs that opposed the Bradford Bypass, others with boards that read “Protect Lake Simcoe” and “Save Farmland.”

“I try to be optimistic, but I’m extremely, extremely concerned,” said Bradford resident Helene Van Houten.

“It’s such a global issue, but there are obvious things that we do right here in our communities,” another resident, Jason Gingrich, said.

Not far away from the protest, 50 locals came together to plant hundreds of trees along a creek in Henderson Memorial Park.

Silvia Pedrazzi, who is the environment liaison for South Simcoe Streams Network, says each tree will not only bring foliage to the park but help keep the creek healthy.

“Corridors like this are important to filter out any pollutants,” said Pedrazzi. “Once you get in the Holland River, where does the water go? The biggest body of water is Lake Simcoe. It’s all connected.”

In Barrie, City Council approved the Community Energy & Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan that includes a target to achieve net-zero emission by 2050.

City councilor Keenan Aylwin says this is one step in the right direction.

“We have a lot more work to do; we need to make sure that plan is adequately funded, and we’re not quite there yet,” said Aylwin.

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The city says that without further climate action, Barrie’s community energy use is estimated to increase by 36 per cent by 2050, and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are expected to increase by 40 per cent by 2050, compared to 2018 levels.

Through its plan, the city aims to reduce overall GHG emissions 45 per cent below 2018 levels by 2030 and to become net-zero by 2050.

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