Environment & Diversity Blog

Welcome to Sustainability Network's Environment & Diversity Blog!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Looking at Things from a New Perspective

In our Environmental Diversity Project, we talk a lot about looking at the environment from a different perspective - a more diverse perspective. When I began working as the Diversity Coordinator for the Bay Area Restoration Council, I quickly learned the benefits of looking at things differently.

Our four busy staff sit in the small and chilly basement known as the Bay Area Restoration Council’s head office. The location is a major advantage for our organization’s outreach. Why? This tiny office is located in the heart of Hamilton’s thriving, multicultural university, McMaster.

I soon learned how beneficial such a location can be when I tried to tackle one of my first assignments on the job. I had to find a way to reach out to non-Anglophones who enjoy our waterfront parks and beaches.

For the last few years, we’ve been handing out flyers that warn people of the issues associated with feeding geese and gulls near Hamilton Harbour. Besides the more obvious problem of possibly getting your fingers nipped, these fed birds will hang around the beaches and ‘expel’ more ‘feces’. Their feces have nasty bacteria in it that often causes our beaches to be closed. It’s gross, but true.

Unfortunately, these flyers were missing a big segment of the ‘geese feeders’. Many of whom are folks not fully literate in English.

I needed to figure out a way to easily and effectively translate our flyer and reach out to this multilingual group on a limited budget. One quick look at the campus life whirling around me, told me to look no further! I had an extremely well-educated, diverse, multi-lingual group of students surrounding the BARC offices, ready to lend a hand.

Within a few hours of e-mailing all the leaders of culturally-based student groups on campus, I had the text I needed eloquently translated into four new languages.

Please Don’t Feed the Birds!


Xin đừng cho chim ăn!

!Por favor no alimente a las aves!


Prosimy nie karmić ptaków!

(Many thanks to Omar and Kasim for helping translate this text into Urdu and Spanish as well.)

No comments:

Post a Comment