Greenbelt Guardians Charter of Values & Code of Conduct

(nb. This document was based on the Future Ground Network Charter of Values)

Greenbelt Guardians is a coordinated network of groups (established or new) organizing to defend so-called Ontario’s Greenbelt, farmland, and natural spaces from unnecessary development. Together we commit to taking local action to preserve land for corridors of continuous natural habitat to preserve biodiversity, carbon storage, healthier lived environments, and sustainable communities. Greenbelt Guardians is committed to:

  • expanding the network of people who want to protect the Greenbelt, farmland, and natural spaces,
  • supporting members with training, tactics, and toolkits,
  • facilitating a broad network for knowledge-sharing. 

Our network is first and foremost a community, and communities thrive on diverse perspectives and shared values. This Charter is intended as a guide for fostering healthy and respectful relationships and to offer standards for ethical conduct amongst members.

Our Values

  1. Reconcili-ACTION First

We recognize that any and all work we undertake to defend land on Turtle Island is, first and foremost, an act of Reconcili-ACTION. Our actions are instructed by the Two Row Wampum Agreement, the Nanfan Treaty, and all subsequent treaties formerly recognized by the First Nations and Settler signatories, and we strive to achieve the applicable Calls to Action as instructed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of so-called Canada. We are Indigenous-led whenever possible.

  1. Ambition

We will not allow developers or politicians motivated by greed to rob the next seven generations of the benefits of the Greenbelt, farmland, and natural spaces. The Greenbelt Guardians network supports local grassroots initiatives that work to protect these resources, and our work is grounded in an ongoing search for solutions to save these lands from unnecessary destruction. This means organizing people to advocate for change, hosting community events to mobilize people, and recruiting for land scouts. Members will actively participate in the training opportunities available through the Greenbelt Guardians and communicate proactively with each other. We will evaluate the work that’s already happening, learn from the experience of other groups in the network, and share any assets that we have developed and found to be useful.

  1. Collaboration & Consensus

Building community is the first step to building collective power. We put relationships at the center of organizing, and work with collaboration and consensus, because when community bonds are strong, the power we build together is sustainable. Community brings inspiration, solidarity, and joy to our movement. Building a strong community requires open, honest, and compassionate communication with an emphasis on listening to one another. By working through conflict and holding each other responsible for our actions, we strive for a common understanding of the challenges we face and the vision we are moving toward. We agree to use consensus to make decisions, to foster collective decision-making processes, and to distribute power in a way that supports and uplifts people who share our values.

  1. Inclusivity & Safe Space

Everyone is welcome in our movement. Our strength comes from a diversity of perspectives and a range of lived experiences. We share a commitment to take care of each other and the planet. We show our commitment to inclusivity by practicing non-violence (physically and emotionally), prohibiting harassment and hate speech in our organizing spaces, and respecting each other’s boundaries and needs. We commit to using language and actions that are inclusive of all forms of difference and we actively work against racism, ableism, hetero-sexism, misogyny, and xenophobia. We do our best to create spaces that are anti-oppressive and accessible to everyone.

  1. Reciprocity

Each member of our community brings inherent value to the network through their unique perspectives and experiences. We will do our best to meet the needs of everyone who dedicates their time and energy contributing to solutions. We support each other by listening deeply, communicating proactively, and adapting our communication styles to maintain a healthy group culture. We invest in the wellbeing and growth of our group members by prioritizing accessibility, helping each other build skills, and offering compassionate and constructive feedback.

  1. Optimism

We believe there is hope, even amongst the most serious challenges we face, and we understand that for some of us, hope isn’t easy. It’s a feeling some of us have to work hard at to try and achieve. For this reason, we recognize that the challenges we face—and the work we do—might bring up complicated emotions. It’s normal to feel anger, sadness, fear, and grief. We will make space for these feelings, while also doing our best to motivate each other to act from a place of love and joy. Despite the immensity of the challenges at hand, we have deep conviction that our collective actions can be game-changers. We will endeavour to use a creative and innovative mind-set to build collective power in our communities and catalyze positive change.

  1. Autonomy

Our network enables local groups to retain autonomy and independence in choosing the strategic direction and initiatives that best suit their particular geographic area and circumstances. As network builder, Greenbelt Guardians is committed to growing grassroots movements by supporting local groups with training, tactics and toolkits, and by facilitating a broad network for knowledge-sharing.  

If your group or your actions are not part of the fight to save the Greenbelt, farmland, and natural spaces, or your (group’s) values do not align with those outlined above, then we ask that you refrain from membership in Greenbelt Guardians.

Code of Conduct

We strive to create a safe, inclusive space for all who want to stop the unnecessary destruction of the land. Every one of us must act with integrity, compassion, respect, and consideration for one another at all times, without exception.

We offer this code of conduct because articulating our values and accountabilities reinforces respect and provides clear avenues to correct our culture should we stray. We commit to enforce and evolve this code as the network grows. We ask that members agree to act in accordance with the values (above) and to respect the following rules:

  1. Reconcili-ACTION should be front of mind at all times; seek to consult and achieve consensus before you act.
  2. Provide a welcoming and inclusive environment.
  3. Foster a culture based on listening and sharing.
  4. Respect everyone’s right to speak and express themselves, with the exception of hate speech.
  5. Share information readily and promptly, communicating in a kind and respectful manner.
  6. Take on tasks and complete them in a timely manner as part of the commitment to protect the greenbelt and our natural spaces.
  7. Ensure the safety of individuals.
  8. Kindly accept external guests, members, citizens and/or children during meetings or activities.

Duty to intervene and/or report: 

Greenbelt Guardians will strive to foster a welcoming, safe environment for all, and it would be against our values to deny any individual’s participation. However, certain unacceptable behaviours need to be addressed in order to maintain a healthy and safe environment. As our Code of Conduct above indicates, gaslighting, bullying, demeaning, or racist behaviour will not be perpetrated or tolerated by Greenbelt Guardians.

  • We ask that if you witness behaviour that goes against the code above, you address it promptly and in a respectful manner with the people involved.
  • If this first intervention is not successful or possible, please report the behaviour to the Greenbelt Guardian Conflict-Resolution Team, so they can appropriately address the situation. The Conflict-Resolution Team will arrange for a mediation meeting with the appropriate individual(s) to help resolve the situation.
  • If the behaviour does not improve following these two interventions, the offending person’s membership status will be withdrawn and they will be asked to leave the group.
  • Greenbelt Guardians reserves the right to determine compliance with this Charter of Values and Code of Conduct, and will not tolerate behaviour that puts any members, allies or partners at risk.
  • Date last edited/revised: August 15, 2023
  • This code of conduct will be reviewed and edited as necessary.