Our Horizon

Our Horizon

by Rob Shirkey


Our Horizon is a federally-incorporated not-for-profit organization that empowers people and communities across Canada to change the world. We think globally and act municipally. Our Horizon was launched by Toronto-based lawyer Rob Shirkey in 2013. 


Our Horizon was created as a platform to launch several unique climate change campaigns. Our first campaign is a simple, yet globally-unprecedented approach to climate change: we’re lobbying municipalities to pass by-laws that would require gasoline retailers to place warning labels on their gas pump nozzles. You can go to Our Horizon to learn more about the proposal. Our second campaign will be launched in July.


In early 2013, we designed professional panel boards that exhibited our idea and the research behind it. The exhibit was accompanied by real gas nozzles with mock warning labels on display. Public interest in our campaign and emails sent through our database to councillors got us access to municipal politicians. We plan on updating these panel boards as part of a travelling exhibition in 2014.


We met with many city councillors in Toronto during the spring of 2013. Many plan on voting in support of our proposal. We were working to bring the item forward here when we learned of a citizen who brought our idea to his council in British Columbia where it lost in a close 4-3 vote. We knew then that we needed to do more outreach to share the theory and research behind our idea. We also wanted to engage young people to pack city and town halls to speak in support of our idea.

Cross-Canada Tour: 

We started doing outreach by speaking at schools and various events in Toronto. In the summer, we raised $15,000 through a crowdfunded campaign to take our efforts across Canada. In the fall, we left to give presentations to elementary schools, high schools, universities, and community groups from coast-to-coast. We also met with municipal representatives across Canada to share our idea and answer questions. At the end of the tour, Rob gave a TED talk.

Next Steps:

We will be releasing a comprehensive report for municipal representatives this January. The report will contain research on the concept and a legal analysis in support of the proposed by-law. After the release of this report, we plan on spending the bulk of our time meeting with councillors and doing public presentations to build support for the idea.
The objective is to secure support from councillors in advance of actual votes and to get enough supporters to fill council chambers with people signing up to speak in favour of the idea. We plan on recording these deputations and posting them online so that youth in one community will inspire youth in other communities to do the same. We’re aiming for votes to take place in communities that we have identified as possible successes during the spring. After we get a few positive precedents, we will push for votes in more communities this summer.
How to Help: 
There are several ways to help:
  • Book Rob for a presentation. We can provide materials to help you advertise the event. Here is a sample poster advertising the talk   
  • Take part in a training session so you can do workshops at schools and to community groups too. During these workshops, contact info is gathered so that people can be notified when the item is being debated in their community. It’s important not to bring these votes prematurely. We need to grow our list of supporters first (dates TBD).
  • Book our exhibition panels in your community for 1 to 2 weeks. Here is our old version that will be updated soon: http://bit.ly/1iIX6Iu – each page is a 3 ft by 4 ft foam core panel.
  • Donations if you are able or kind emails giving us digital high-fives if you are not. 
  • Contact Rob at robert@ourhorizon.org
  • Share Rob's TEDX talk about Our Horizon: 

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