Environment & Diversity Blog

Welcome to Sustainability Network's Environment & Diversity Blog!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Saturday, Novemember 6: Toronto Public Library Hosts First Human Library

The Toronto Public Library is launching its first Human Library on November 6th. Visit one of five libraries across Toronto on Saturday, November 6th, 2010 from 10am – 2pm and you’ll have the opportunity to sign out a human “book” and find out what it’s like to walk in another person’s shoes.

Have a one-on-one conversation with a human “book” and learn about what it’s like to be homeless, or new to Canada, be in prison or start your own IT company (to name a few). If you’re interested, you can also volunteer to become one of the books at the participating libraries.

More about the Human Library

The first Human Library was held at Roskilde Festival in Denmark in 2000. The youth organization Stop the Violence was encouraged by the festival director at the time to create anti-violence activities for festival goers to encourage dialogue and help people build relations with each other - and that's how the Human Library came to be. In its original form, the "library" was set up in an outdoor space at the festival where people could come in and "borrow" human "books", ask questions and have a conversation to help break down stereotypes and prejudices.

With the help of the Human Library Organization, which provides a wealth of resources and information to support groups that want to organize their own event, Human Libraries are now held around the world.

In addition to the Toronto Public Library, other Canadian Human Library organizers include:

  • Douglas College, British Columbia
  • Coquitlam Library, British Columbia
  • Moscrop Secondary School, British Columbia
  • Calgary Public Library, Alberta
  • Augusta Campus, University of Alberta, Alberta
  • The University of Guelph, Ontario
  • King's University College, University of Western Ontario, Ontario

Monday, October 25, 2010

First Nations History, Terminology & Cultural Differences Webinar with Kathleen Padulo

Kathleen Padulo will join us on November 3, 2010 @10am EST for a one hour webinar to
provide a brief cultural and historical overview of the First Nations who reside within the
boundaries of Ontario.

She will outline the significance of key legislation and policy including; the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the Indian Act of 1876 highlighting the objectives behind this Act, and the Constitution Act of 1982.

This webinar will also look at the Residential Schools a chronology of “killing the Indian in the child”.

The goal of this educational webinar is for all of us to gain a better understanding of First
Nations Peoples so we can develop and build long-lasting relationships built upon respect and knowledge.

Kathleen Padulo has her Masters in Environmental Studies from York University. She is from the Oneida Nation of the Thames and has 15 years working experience planning, developing and coordinating programs with Aboriginal organizations and First Nations communities.

This webinar is the first in a series of three over the next several months.

Please register online.

Friday, October 15, 2010

BARC's 'Welcome to Canada' Series on our Environment

Should I trust the tap water? Where does the water in bottled water come from? Are their dangerous animals in the woods? How does Hamilton’s water treatment system work? Where do I bring those funny swirly lightbulbs anyway?

These were just a few of the questions that new Canadians posed at the Bay Area Restoration Council’s four-part ‘Welcome to Canada’ series on Hamilton’s Environment.

Each session, we met at the Red Hill Branch of the Public Library, thanks to the invitation of Shahira Nabab Jhan, of the Settlement and Integration Services Organization (SISO).

When some one comes to a new area, it’s not only the language and customs that they may need to learn, but all of the environmental information that many of take for granted.

During the sessions we were able to share important information about local waterfalls, conservation areas and hiking trails – as well as how to access them all, whether by foot, car, bike, bus or trolley. We talked about ways to keep chemicals out of our water, the ‘ins and outs’ of Hamilton’s water treatment system, as well as our waste and recycling programs.

People were encouraged to ask any and all questions about BARC, Hamilton Harbour and our shared environment. The event was such as success that we hope to bring it to more libraries in the Hamilton area.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sustainability Network Partner Clean Air Partnership Hosts Webinar on Building Better Relationships with First Nations

Sustainability Network is pleased to announce that Environment & Diversity Project collaborative partner Clean Air Partnership is hosting a one-hour webinar on Building Better Relationships with First Nations on Wednesday, October 6th @ 10 am EST.

The webinar will feature:

Ron Plain and Kathleen Padulo who will share their expertise and experience on what environmental NGOs and municipalities can do to improve relationship building with First Nations and how groups unwittingly undermine those relationships.

Ron is from
Aamjiwnaang First Nation, a small community located in Sarnia, Ontario. He co-founded the Aamjiwnaang Environmental Committee, has worked with Environmental Defence Canada and Kathleen is from the Oneida Nation of the Thames. She has 15 years working experience planning, developing and coordinating programs with Aboriginal organizations and First Nations communities.

Join the webinar to find out more about First Nation priorities and perspectives.

Register for the webinar.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bay Area Restoration Council and SISO Host Successful First Annual Multicultural Festival

Photo credit: L. Tessier

Sustainability Network's Environment & Diversity Project partner Bay Area Restoration Council (BARC) co-hosted a very successful First Annual Multicultural Festival with Hamilton's Settlement and Integration Services Organization (SISO) last weekend!

Generous donors covered the cost of an HSR shuttle to bring people from Hamilton's diverse East End out to the Bay Front. Said BARC's Rhoda deJonge, "New Canadians were invited to try out canoes, sail boats, kayaks and dinghies in a fun and safe environment. They loved it!"

Photo credit: T. Wiercioch

Over 300 people came to the boating event which also included activities such as
fishing lessons from FutureWatch, henna and face painting as well as door prizes from Mountain Equipment Co-op. BARC also partnered with local boating clubs, police, firemen, other local non-profits, the power squadron and even the navy to pull of a wonderfully fun-filled gathering!

Check out more pictures and
find out more about BARC's engaging and working with Hamilton's diverse communities on BARC's Facebook page.