London Environmental Network's Podcast
London, ON: One of Canada’s Greenest Cities?
When Canadians think about environmental sustainability, what city comes to mind? London, Ontario…maybe not. But it could be. This series looks at London’s environmental and ecological health, and asks just how green and resilient the “Forest City” is. In each episode, host Molly Miksa talks to local experts in a given area, asking a specific question to gauge London’s level of success in its pursuit of resiliency and a green future.
The Forest City
London, Ontario has long been calling itself the Forest City. In this episode we ask if the city is deserving of that name. Our guest speakers share their thoughts to help answer this question. They examine the history of London’s forests and how invasive plants, insect species, and climate change are impacting London’s trees. Molly also learns tips to help the City of London reach the goal of 34% tree canopy cover by 2065. More details.
Emma Young and Brandon Graham from the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation’s Treaty, Lands and Environment team; Brandon Williamson, Land Management Technician at the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority; and Jill-Anne Spence, Manager of Urban Forestry for the City of London.
The River - Part 1
In the first of two episodes on Deshkan Ziibi, or the Thames River (which runs
through the city of London) we look at the river’s health and the goal of being able to swim in, fish from
and drink from the river safely.
With our guests, we consider the names of the river, it’s geography and health over time, and the current and future challenge of climate change. We talk about the sewage system and the problem of combined sewers and overflow. And we ask whose responsibility it is to keep the water clean, and who bears the brunt when it’s not. More details.
Emma Young and Brandon Graham from the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation’s Treaty, Lands and Environment team, Pat Donnelly from the City of London, and Karen Maaskant from the Upper Thames Valley Conservation Authority.
The River - Part 2
In our second episode on Deshkan Ziibi, or the Thames River, we look at the river's health from a personal perspective. What effect can individuals have on water health? First we hear from Barry Orr, sewer outreach and control inspector for the City of London. Barry explains how London's sewer and water treatment systems work, and dishes the dirt on Londoners' good and bad flushing habits. Then we have a conversation with Indigenous educator Wahsayzee Deleary, in which Wahsayzee and Molly discuss the importance of building personal relationships with water and the river, through education, connection and prayer. More details.
Barry Orr, Sewer Outreach and Control Inspector for the City of London, and Wahsayzee Deleary (Anishinaabe), Oneida Nation, Indigenous Water Educator.
Local Food - Part 1
In this first of two episodes looking at local food, we consider the goal of London becoming food
self-sufficient. Mariam Waliji talks about Urban Roots London (the city’s urban farm), On The Move
Organics food box delivery program, and the Root Cellar restaurant, as well as food security and
the effects of climate change and the pandemic on local food systems.
Mike Bloxam of the London Food Bank outlines the many food rescue programs and on-site growing projects underway at the London Food Bank, that made it the first food bank in Canada to offer 50% fresh food to clients. More details.
Mariam Waliji, Director at Urban Roots London and Mike Bloxam, Fresh Food Co-ordinator at the London Food Bank.
Local Food - Part 2
In our second episode looking at local food growth in London, Ontario, Molly talks to Western University
professor and community activator Dr. Gabor Sass about the various urban agriculture initiatives he's been
involved with, and ways that individuals and community groups can support each other in growing more food in
We also look into the City of London's Urban Agriculture Strategy, the opportunities it has made possible, and the exclusion of urban hens from the strategy. And we get excited about gardening and the benefits it offers. More details.
Dr. Gabor Sass, Western University professor and community activator.
The 3Rs have become 5Rs: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot. Or 6 if you add
reimagine—and we are.
In this episode, Molly talks to Jay Stanford from the City of London, and delves into the City's waste collection programs—from landfill to recycling to composting—to find out what's happening to our waste. We then catch up with Heenal Rajani, co-founder of Reimagine Co and London's first zero waste grocery store, and consider links between community building and living a zero waste (or low waste) lifestyle. More details.
Jay Stanford, Director of Environment, Fleet and Solid Waste for the City of London and Heenal Rajani, Cofounder of Reimagine Co.
In the final episode of our series, we’re looking at cycling in London. Molly talks
with guests Ben Cowie (London Bicycle Café) and Luis Patricio (London Cycle Link)
about cycling infrastructure and the goal of a connected grid of bike lanes for all
ages and abilities.
We also discuss the surge in cycling during the pandemic; the City of London’s declaration of a climate emergency and the bicycle’s role in mitigating climate change; and cycling goals and visions beyond infrastructure. More details.
Ben Cowie, owner of the London Bicycle Cafe, and Luis Patricio, board chair for London Cycle Link.