By Sophika Kostyniuk

The Blue Dot movement is a volunteer effort made up of thousands of ordinary people, working together toward a single goal: municipal declarations in support of the right to a healthy environment. As I write this, 26 communities have passed declarations, with organizing underway in more than 100 others. The response to this idea has been incredible!

We’ve had to work hard to support this rising tide of energetic volunteers. We started in the spring of 2014 with a general sense of how we wanted to approach community organizing. Since then, we’ve learned from each subsequent Blue Dot community, testing our ideas and materials as we go.

Now, I’m happy to let everyone know we’ve developed a tool kit for organizers, available to anyone online. It’s a simple four-page document, with links to templates, information, webinars and more. And don’t forget to sign the Blue Dot petition so you’re included in updates and news.)

If you’re thinking of launching a Blue Dot group, or are already well into organizing, the new tool kit will help you:

  • learn what the right to healthy environment means, with facts and key messages about what we’re trying to accomplish and why;
  • develop a phased approach to building out your network: building your team first; then identifying key stakeholders who can help strengthen your efforts; and together amplifying the message and putting a public face on your campaign;
  • promote Blue Dot in your community with templates for posters, graphics for use on Facebook and other social media, and more;
  • deepen your organizing skills in areas such as storytelling and canvassing, to collect signatures in support of your local efforts and to help strengthen this movement Canada-wide;
  • prepare for a presentation to your local municipal council, including a simple PowerPoint presentation you can customize with pictures and issues specific to your community.

Although everyone will make use of the resources in the tool kit in the way that makes sense to them and their community, it’s been interesting to see how the process of achieving a municipal declaration replicates itself consistently no matter where people are across the country, and no matter what their special strengths, challenges or opportunities are. It’s a basic model; its strength is that it’s replicable.

Perhaps the most important thing is that we have real people behind this tool kit to help you achieve your goals! The David Suzuki Foundation is fully invested in this project. We have a team of people working on this every day, helping volunteers succeed in their communities. We’re here as a resource to help you move this forward, and to connect you with others who’ve had success in their communities.

I hope this tool kit will help even more volunteers launch the Blue Dot movement in their communities, because people power is where the magic lies. Again and again, this movement has proven that the core values and hopes of a community are the same all over Canada. It’s about caring for the people and places we love, and securing access to fresh air, clean water and healthy food. I can’t wait to hear how our new tool kit helps you and your neighbours work toward a Blue Dot declaration in your community!