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Grant Linney holds up a Blue Dot banner and stands with his successful team, Hamilton, Ontario

By Grant Linney, Lead Blue Dot Community Volunteer, Hamilton, Ontario

Thanks to Grant Linney's leadership, his hometown of Hamilton became the first Ontario municipality — and the 23rd in Canada — to sign a declaration recognizing environmental rights for its citizens. Here are Grant's inspiring insights:

1. It's personal. I had a free-range boyhood, exploring local woodlots, creeks and meadows, and working at summer camps. I still go on wilderness canoe trips. My connection to nature leaves me in a permanent state of awe. I feel compelled to protect what I deeply love.

2. It's community. We have a core group of 12 to 18 like-minded volunteers, with others pitching in, as needed. We share the Blue Dot mission, but we bring diverse talents to our common cause.

3. It's leadership — someone who calls the first meeting and sets an agenda; who readily seeks advice and asks questions; who regularly listens, offers support and encouragement; and who does initial legwork. Someone like you.

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4. It's strategic. You find the right people to talk to, key folks who are enthusiastic about your cause as well as knowledgeable and influential in the workings of your local municipality.

5. It's engaging youth. It's their future, and their voices add a powerful and memorable dimension, particularly if you're presenting to your municipal council.

6. It's collecting petition signatures — in-person with family, friends and colleagues; on petition clipboards at places where people like to pause (e.g., a coffee bar); on tables at community gatherings (e.g., farmers markets and film festivals); and on social media.

7. It's communication. Publish a community Blue Dot newsletter every two to three weeks to maintain interest. Have a website, a Twitter and Facebook account, and user-friendly souls to keep them up-to-date and interesting. Communication educates and activates.

8. It's an unexpected setback — e.g., you meet with a group that you see as allies, but they are too timid to act. You're disappointed, but you pick yourself up and move on.

9. It's support from the David Suzuki Foundation. They have full- time folks dedicated to this campaign and knowledgeable about the trials and successes of the now 23 communities who have already issued the Blue Dot declaration — advice, support and encouragement in abundance.

10. It's celebration... of doing the right thing, of marking your progress along the way, of galvanizing your community to join in acknowledging and affirming this landmark achievement.

The David Suzuki Foundation wants to thank our incredible community of monthly donors who allow us to support volunteers like Grant. Over 13,000 people support us with monthly donations — even $5 or $10 per month makes a meaningful impact. Help us continue to support this growing movement.

YES — I want to become a monthly donor!

If you want to start or join the Blue Dot movement where you live, sign up at http://bluedot.ca/volunteer

February 26, 2015

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