If you already have experience running events, this page will explain how to make sure your event is integrated into overall plan for YTP Weekend. If you want general advice on event planning, we’ve also put together a guide to running a local environmental event which you can download here.
Before you start your planning make sure your event is in alignment with the YTP Weekend Vision Statement. While the Yours to Protect movement supports most environmental organizing, we are careful not to support ‘solutions’ that do more harm than good.
1. Choose a Theme, Location and Date
Any grassroots event with an environmental focus in Ontario on April 22, 23, or 24th can be registered as part of Yours to Protect Weekend. From climate change to loss of farmland to biodiversity, there are many interrelated issues threatening Ontario’s environment in 2022. You can choose to highlight a specific natural place worth fighting for or a specific environmental threat or you can run a more general event informing the public about environmental issues in Ontario or the Yours to Protect movement.
- A Rally to protect a specific creek or wetland or save a specific endangered species in your area.
- A Rally at an MPPs office to remind them Ontarians will be voting with the environment in mind on June 2nd.
- A Rally about a specific development, aggregate mine or infrastructure project.
- Highlighting a specific environmental solution – e.g. a walking tour of a vibrant walkable neighbourhood.
- Visiting the Greenbelt – or another beloved natural area.
- A webinar or enviro-picnic where people can learn about several issues and sign up to volunteer with local grassroots organizations.
2. Register your Event
If you haven’t done so already, you can register your event here: https://yourstoprotect.ca/ytp-weekend/
After you register, we’ll contact you and put your event on our map. Once your event is on the map, anyone from your area who hears about YTP WKND will be able to find your action and attend. The more events we register, the more compelling the media narrative will be.
3. Choose a Visual
Creating striking photos for social media and journalists is an important part of getting your message across. You can ask participants to dress in the same colour or bring a common item which connects with your message. Consider puppets, costumes, street murals or other visuals. If you make signs or banners – consider whether they will be visible, not just to people at the event, but in photographs of the event. Your location can also be chosen with photographs in mind.
4. Connect with your MPP and Local Candidates
We also encourage you to connect with your local MPP and local candidates before, during or after your event to see where they stand on environmental issues. You can use the Ontario Environmental Priorities Working Group’s policy questionnaire as a starting point for engagement with MPPs and candidates.
For more than a decade, the Ontario Environmental Priorities Working Group – which includes several YTP member groups – has developed detailed policy requests for the provincial government. This year’s questionnaire will be sent to all major parties, but we encourage you to send it to your MPP and local candidates directly so that you can compare their responses. The questionnaire includes detailed questions on many environmental issues including: protected places, greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, plastics and recycling, sprawl, endangered species, conservation authorities, UNDRIP, environmental racism, aggregate mining and highways. You are also welcome to add local issues to your version of the questionnaire.
5. Alert Local Journalists
Environmental Defence will send out a press release to province-wide journalists, but you should issue a media advisory to local journalists a week before your event. Check out our detailed event planning guide for more info on issuing a media advisory.
6. Send us your Best Photos
After the event, we’ll send around a shared folder where registered groups can upload their best photos. We’ll be doing blogposts, social media and hopefully media follow-ups on the event, so having photos from different locations will help us tell the Yours to Protect story.