Picture2050: Today's photos can show us our future City.

by Sarah Sackville-McLauchlan

Sarah Sackville-McLauchlan is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. Her work focuses on the intersections of climate justice and Disability justice. She also seeks to express these issues and struggles through music and (non-academic) writing, which she creates and performs as PhantomFemme.

To create something, you must first be able to picture it. And such visions, often sprout from something already existing which is their seed - something you would like to see grow and expand to reach its potential.


This is very much the idea behind the current #Picture2050 photography contest, presented by the Toronto Climate Action Network (TCAN), and sponsored by The Atmospheric Fund (TAF). Inspired by the TransformTO climate plan, which was recently passed unanimously by City Council, the #Picture2050 contest invites Torontonians to give concrete, visual expression to the kind of concepts that went into creating the plan - imagining a healthy, equitable and prosperous Toronto in the year 2050. By considering what seeds of that future city already exist now, Torontonians are invited to visualize what it would take to see their full potential fulfilled.


The idea is for citizen-photographers of all ages to seek out and share those seeds of the future city that have already been planted. Once gathered, they will form a visual story. The city we want is already here to a significant degree, but those seeds and saplings need to be “watered” for that potential future to flower! The variety and diversity of those seeds and saplings is often far greater than we know, encompassing things that we might not ordinarily think of as “environmental” - community gardens, trains, streetcars, and people installing solar panels, yes, but also neighbourhood block parties, community poetry nights, and low-carbon, yet highly socially beneficial jobs like teaching, nursing, or being an artist. Low carbon initiatives encompass solar co-ops and other community green energy projects, but also pot-luck dinners, community theatre, neighbourhood food security projects, and all kinds of ways to live, work and care collectively. It is this diversity and ubiquity that the contest seeks to showcase.


The hope is that actually being able to see the extent to which that healthy, equitable and prosperous Toronto is already here in embryo, will inspire residents to take action to help bring about the full transformation of TO. This will encourage Torontonians to look at our city in new ways, and to fall in love with our vibrant, diverse and awesome Toronto anew! A sense of hope, connectedness and ownership is the way we’ll ensure that our city has the care and resourcing it needs to take part in a low-carbon, climate-change-ready future.


So help bring our future city to life by submitting your photo at http://picture2050.ca/ by January 12th. Join the movement to #TransformTO!