For Our Grandchildren are hometown climate change heroes

By G. Hanchet

For Our Grandchildren (4RG) is a climate change activist group founded in 2006 in Toronto by a group of grandparents who were deeply concerned that the effects of climate change would have serious consequences for their grandchildren. One of the original founders was Walter Pitman, the late MPP for Peterborough.

CLIFFORD SKARSTEDT PETERBOROUGH EXAMINER FILE PHOTO About 50 people attend a climate change rally in Peterborough hosted by For Our Grandchildren and Peterborough Alliance for Climate Action in June 2022.

In 2010, 4RG was incorporated as a non-profit Canadian corporation with the mission: “To inform, motivate, and mobilize grandparents in Canada about climate change.”

In 2013 4RG held its first public meeting in Peterborough and then met at the Silver Bean Café to form the Peterborough chapter. Since then 4RG has held many public events, written letters to the editor, lobbied public officials and received municipal awards for its efforts. In 2018, 4RG’s head office moved to Peterborough and climate change events are now mostly focused here.

The group’s board members noted that public awareness has increased so much since 2013 that 4RG no longer needs to inform the public about climate change. So they’ve changed their focus to a more direct, personal, local approach to inform people of what actions they can take to prevent the worst effects of climate change. 4RG is in the process of changing its bylaws to reflect these changes.

4RG currently has 11 board members including 4RG president, Guy Hanchet.

“4RG was a major player in getting the City of Peterborough to declare a climate emergency in 2019 and increase its emission target reductions to be consistent with Canada’s 40-45 per cent reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050,” said Hanchet. “We all work together in various capacities, such as organizing public rallies to draw attention to climate change.”

On Monday, April 1, (Fossil Fools Day), 4RG protested outside the RBC bank on Chemong Road against RBC’s huge investment in fossil fuels along with thousands of protesters across Canada.

“Since then, RBC has increased its commitment to reducing its fossilfuel investments, but only time will see what effect this has,” said Hanchet.

“Last fall 100 people attended a Home Energy Expo in Selwyn to better understand the benefits of heat pumps. We will collaborate with others and organize a similar event on a bigger scale this fall in Peterborough.” he said.

On Tuesday, April 9, Hanchet was in Toronto making a deposition to the Standing Committee on the Interior against Bill 165. Bill 165 was the subject of the main editorial in the April 11 edition of The Examiner.

“My presentation was in support of the OEB ruling that would save Ontarians money by cancelling the subsidy now paid to Enbridge. The OEB ruling saves existing gas customers money, saves new homeowners money, is better for their health because it doesn’t introduce methane into their homes, and it’s better for the climate. There’s going to be lots of news about this over the next couple of weeks,” said Hanchet.

A 4RG member monitors city council agendas so 4RG can speak to as council as motions arise on climate-related issues.

“Some people say that the city shouldn’t put money into combating climate change because of their concern about the cost of living. What they don’t realize is that a large part of the current inflation rate is already due directly to climate change. This includes the eight per cent increase in home insurance rates this year and rising food costs, because of extreme weather damage. Climate change also increases health costs substantially due to extreme heat, smoke from wildfires and pollution from burning fossil fuels. Forest fires have cost Canadians more than $1 billion for six of the last 10 years,” said Hanchet.

4RG currently has about 110 members, 1,200 subscribers to the monthly newsletter, and is always looking for new members. It hosts the 4RGMeets webinar every other month with speakers on topical issues such as electric vehicles and air-source heat pumps (see

“There are lots of ways to help. Just go to and click on Get involved/Become a member. Our Membership team will get back to you to explore your interests and where you would fit in best,” said Hanchet.

If concerned citizens don’t want to join 4RG, Hanchet recommends they communicate regularly with elected representatives at all levels, municipal, provincial, and federal. Insist that they act immediately to reduce carbon emissions.

“They want you to vote for them! Help the politicians who are closest to your values get elected and reelected. Then hold them to their promises. Canada has the secondhighest GHG emissions per capita in the world, with over 15 tonnes/ year per person on average, so we can do a lot personally. Replace car usage with walking, cycling and public transit as much as possible. Convert house heating to airsource heat pumps which also saves money over their lifetime. Reduce red meat consumption — producing one pound of beef causes 60 pounds of GHGs,” said Hanchet.

In 2024, grandparents aren’t the only ones concerned about the climate emergency. But if we all do something, collectively we can reduce emissions for all of us.

This story by Tricia Clarkson first appeared here in the Peterborough Examiner. It is reproduced here with her permission.

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