Bullfrog Power customer and Environmental Advocate
Anthony Ketchum is a Bullfrog Power customer, environmental advocate—and grandfather. When it comes to the environment, he is serious about the need to proactively do all we can to combat climate change. His current environmental work includes chairing Toronto’s The Living City Foundation—which helps to finance the activities of the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority—and founding a new group focused on climate change: For Our Grandchildren.
Bullfrog recently had the opportunity speak with Anthony about his environmental work, his sustainable building projects and why he thinks that grandparents can be leaders when it comes to influencing attitudes on environmental action.
Anthony’s appreciation of the environment was developed at an
early age. “I first realized the importance of the environment when my family went up north in the summer. We had a very simple cabin and led a life that was close to the land. I became attached to the northern part of our country.”
Years later, Anthony was able to revisit this life apart from the city when he and his wife, Mary, purchased some land east of Orangeville, Ontario. Built into a very steep slope, their summer home provided an opportunity to build sustainably, from the ground up.
“We hired a design engineer who showed us that we could build an off the grid house backing into the hillside. It uses the underground sides to both insulate the house in the winter and cool it in the summer.”
“In building that house we became very conscious of the environment. For us, the house demonstrates that you can live off the grid comfortably. To get that message out, we give tours of the house for members of the public each year during Earth week.” This year, the house tours will be held on the afternoon of Saturday, April 28.
“Preventing climate change is the most important gift we can give our grandchildren”
The Ketchums’ second opportunity to put the ideas behind green living into practice came when they chose to downsize their downtown Toronto home by building a new, smaller and more efficient building. Known as the “Ketchums’ Retirement Project,” the home won the Green Home Award at the 2011 City of Toronto Green Living Awards.
One of the things that helped Anthony and Mary embark on these impressive green living projects was that they were already connected to a strong network of resources through his work with a number of environmental organizations, including the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority (TRCA).
“I’m with The Living City, which raises funds for TRCA projects. These include tree planting, maintaining waterways and Black Creek Pioneer Village. Every spring—on May 1—we have an event where we paddle the Don River, from Eglinton Avenue right down to the lake (with a couple of portages along the way). These events happen right on our doorstep in our city and we would love it if more people could get out and use the green spaces that we have.”
For Our Grandchildren
“For Our Grandchildren is a new organization that I helped found in 2006 with a friend and colleague. We are both grandparents who are concerned by the lack of action being taken on climate change. In thirty years’ time, our grandchildren will want to know that we did something to fight climate change.”
“For me, preventing climate change is the most important gift we can give our grandchildren. Grandparents are different because we have the opportunity, time and knowledge. We can do things that busy young parents may find it difficult to do.”
“We are hosting a forum titled: Sleepwalking to catastrophe. It is a call to action that is drawing speakers Alanna Mitchell, author of the book Sea Sick; Stephen Scharper, Professor at the University of Toronto’s Department of the Environment; Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities; Glenn McGillivray, Managing Director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction; and Dianne Saxe, Environmental Lawyer.”
This event will be held on May 6, at 2:00 p.m. at York Minster Park Baptist Church at Yonge and St. Clair in Toronto. For more information on how you can attend this forum, check outforourgrandchildren.ca.