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Archive for the ‘Environmental’ Category

We’re Taking Over

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Organization: Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE)

Date: May 28, 2011 (Date of presentation)

Location: Ryerson University (245 Church St.,Toronto,Ontario)

Facilitator: Alexandra Nguyen, National Coordinator

About the Organization: SAGE is a network of high school students from all over the world that are all interested in entrepreneurship while making a difference in the world. It fosters creative and innovative projects “that impact schools and communities”. Students are given a chance to develop their network and skills in the business trade. Student groups that are a part of SAGE compete annually on national and international level showcasing initiatives and successes.

            As a part of SAGE Canada, our class was tasked to exhibit our projects from our leadership program while competing for national honors. So, we picked our two main projects for the semester – the community orchard and our Costa Rica mission.

Nicole, Nigel and Rapha practiced their speeches for days, Donita and I worked on the visual presentation aspect. Sofia worked on the annual report with the help of Sarah. Tom was jumping all over the place, helping out with every facet.

We stayed at Delta Chelsea the night before the presentation date, so we got some more polishing of our presentation.

The next day was presentation day, and all of us were very anxious but ready to go. So, we did and we just absolutely destroyed it. I think we did pretty well, considering we only won three national awards (overall champion, most socially responsible and best social enterprise). Boasting aside, we are very proud of our achievement, we worked so hard to get to where we are. Add to the fact that we have only been together for a semester and to win three awards, it is truly amazing. We have definitely showed everybody that a small group can make a difference by being really passionate for it, and it definitely showed. Our projects are very ambitious that it impacts society and the environment positively. To be quite honest, our aim was mostly to showcase, to let people know we exist and we are doing these awesome things locally and internationally. Winning was the cherry on top, and we gladly took that.

We do not stop here though; we are always continuing to make strides by continuing our volunteer initiatives and making progress in our main projects.

We are set to compete on the international level in Buffalo, NY, USA the coming month of July. We are excited and hope to take that international trophy home.


Written by Elvin Madamba

June 6, 2011 at 11:34 PM

MEC: Not just about outdoor equipment

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Organization: Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC)

Date: May 25, 2011

Location:400 King Street West,Toronto,Ontario

Facilitator: Dave Robinson, Sustainability and Community Coordinator

About the Organization: In the 1960’s and 1970’s a group of climbers from British Columbia wanted to make mountain gear available in Canada. So, they came together and became the founding members of MEC. Eventually, they grew and expanded to different provinces in Canada. Since then, MEC has made it a point to operate in a sustainable and ethical manner. Most, if not all of their items are sustainable and ethically source. They are very dedicated to helping the environment; they are affiliated with programs such as “1% for the Planet” (where they give 1% of their profits towards an environmental cause) and “The Big Wild” (it is a conservation movement started by MEC to protect forests and its wildlife inCanada).

            Dave Robinson showed us around the store, showcasing the company’s sustainable products and environmentally-friendly building. We went up to see the greenroof.

A greenroof is so practical to have, who knew? If you did not know, a greenroof is where you plant vegetation on the roof of a building (awesome concept, eh?). A greenroof is not only practical but also all-around environmentally awesome. Some of its benefits include cooling/warming the building (season depending) and absorb water from rain to prevent floods.

It was a cool sight to see and it makes me want to have my own greenroof in my house (unfortunately, our townhomes association is not permitting). We even learned that if every building in Toronto had a greenroof, there would be less flooding and the city could be significantly warmer or cooler depending on the season. Think about it. Greenroofs can save us a ton of money! Add that to the many list of things we have to demand from our government.

Besides, the greenroof, MEC has tons of green products (from clothes to boards). Despite the name of the store, it is not actually exclusive to outdoor gear, there are stuff there you could use for other things as well. It makes me think twice where I should buy my stuff. It is not even expensive and I can become part of the co-operative, which means I can have a say in the way the store operates (the way democracy should operate).

Written by Elvin Madamba

June 6, 2011 at 11:29 PM

The ‘TREC’ to Clean, Green Energy

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Organization: TREC Education

Date: May 25, 2011

Location:Exhibition Place,Toronto,Ontario

Facilitator: Katrusia Balan, Kid’s World Energy Festival Educator, TREC Education

About the Organization: TREC Education “empowers Ontarians to make informed choices about our shared energy and natural resources”. TREC Education has won several awards, including the 2011 Green Toronto Award, for their environmental programs. They focus on linking young students to the environment and sustainable energy practices. They believe everyone should have access “to good information about renewable energy and conservation”.

Tasks: Learn about the alternative, sustainable options for energy. We also visitedToronto’s only wind turbine and did some exercises that applied solar power to low-powered items.

Our objective was to learn about the alternatives to our environmentally abusive means of energy (ie. oil, petroleum, coal, etc.). As we found out, there are definitely cost-effective ways to power society without killing the environment. It is funny to realize though, that if a society we demanded for these sustainable options, we probably would have had them by now. Unfortunately, our society dictates we go with oil.

            Hopefully, by applying what we learned we can be a part of the change to demand for these alternative means of energy. We have to let the government know that we are disgusted by our addiction to oil. We want a clean and green future.

Written by Elvin Madamba

June 6, 2011 at 11:26 PM

Posted in Environmental, Events

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Peel Water Story, It Wasn’t Hard to Tell

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Organization: Region of Peel Public Works (Education)

Date: May 20, 2011

Location: Farm in Caledon to Badlands to Water Treatment Plant inInglewood to park besideCreditRiver to park beside Lake Ontario in Mississauga

Facilitator: Damian MacSeain, Education Specialist in Environmental Education

About the Organization: The Region of Peel Public Works “does a lot of things for you and the community [of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon]”. Public works is everywhere in Peel, it may be at work on our tap water, road improvements, or waste management. The Region of Peel “provides residents with infrastructure and services that we depend on every day”. It focuses on “safe, reliable service that respects the environment as well”. The Public Works education sector has provided opportunities for teachers to relate to their students about how water works in the region through a tour of the water facilities or through the “Water Story Program”.

Tasks: We went around the Region of Peel exploring the convergence of natural and human water systems in a cycle. We specifically took a look at what cater towards helping our water system and how we also negatively impact this.

            Throughout the semester, we have learned about the social and environmental implications pertaining to water. By participating in the “Water Story”, we have taken what we have learned and put it under a microscope and relate it to the water system we have in our own community.

We have strengthened the knowledge we have gained and even further expand this by learning new concepts. We learned how farms can have a negative impact on our water through nitrogen runoff stemming from animal manure but of course, we also learned how farms can collaborate with organizations such as the Credit Valley Conservation to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable in their practices. We also saw in the Cheltenham Badlands “the effects of deforestation on erosion and water quality”. We were witnesses on how our water is treated, so that it can safely be brought back to Lake Ontario without having adverse effects on the water. We were educated of the importance of plant life beside the river. Plants help ‘filter’ out waste that goes through the river, into the lake. Overall, it was a good experience that sufficiently covered how water takes its path in our community. Personally, knowing this, it gives me more responsibility to educate peers of our water system and how we should be wary of it and not abuse it.


Written by Elvin Madamba

June 6, 2011 at 11:23 PM

Posted in Environmental, Events

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The Grass is Greener in Evergreen Brick Works

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Click for the rest of our Energy Festival pics. LOL Nicole

Organization: Evergreen in collaboration with TREC Education

Date: May 18, 2011

Location: Evergreen Brick Works (550 Bayview Ave.,Toronto,ON)

Facilitator: Heather Keczan, Education Assistant

About the Organization: Evergreen “is a national charity that makes cities more liveable”. The organization started in 1991 engaging Canadians on how to lead a sustainable life in their homes, schools and work. It seeks to “[deepen] the connection between people and nature… in urban environments”. Evergreen Brick Works is a community centre that focuses to be a place to educate the community about a sustainable future. It is also a place where “Farmers’ Markets”, seminars and plantings occur.

Unfortunately, Nicole and I did not really do anything that day. We were supposed to lead a class to their respective workshops and whatnot but they were late to arrive and it changed the whole agenda for us. We were reassigned to help out in the activity centre but they did not need help there. So, we ended up just going around the site.

The objective was clear though; it was to lead a group of young minds to learning about alternative, sustainable options for energy and ultimately, the environment. While we were supposed to lead, we were supposed to absorb the knowledge in the workshops too.

Despite Nicole and me practically being useless on that day (but at least, everybody else had a great time and learned a lot while being ambassadors to the young students), we still learned a lot through our own mini-trips at the site. We learned that there are definitely ways around to our unsustainable practices of energy. There are paths we could take that would take us to a greener future; we could invest in wind and solar, instead of oil.



Written by Elvin Madamba

June 6, 2011 at 11:20 PM

‘Mulchy’ Business

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Organization: Mississauga Urban Forestry

Date: May 3, 2011

Location: Erindale Park (1695 Dundas St. West,Mississauga)

Facilitator: John MacKinnon, Urban Forestry Coordinator

About the Organization: The Mississauga Urban Forestry department plays a huge role in maintaining “climate moderation, air and water quality, erosion control, wildlife habitat, and air temperature control”. It is responsible for planting and protecting trees in the parks of Mississauga City.

Tasks: Tom and I mulched pathways at the park for a good amount of time. The rest of the class was spreading the excess mulch throughout the park. By the end, we all planted two or three trees each in an area at the park.

            There were an awful lot of mulch overflow in the park. So, as volunteers, our objective was to make use of this excess mulch. We spread it on pathways (make the pathways much more enticing to walk on, instead of walking on grass and damaging the plants) and we added some mulch to previously planted trees (to keep stimulating the growth of the trees). Also, there were some trees waiting for us to be planted, so we applied our knowledge of planting trees from our previous collaboration with the City and planted them to further naturalize and beautifying the park.

We have been able to rid the Urban Forestry department’s dilemma of their extra mulch problem. Collectively, we were able to make use of mulch that could have otherwise just become a detriment in the park by being piled up on soil (absorbing water and nutrients from plants that actually need it). The path is much more beautiful and it smells nicer because of the added mulch. It also prevented weeds (nuisances!) from growing on the pathway. Finally, of course, by planting more trees, our climate change impact on a local level is reduced.


Written by Elvin Madamba

June 6, 2011 at 11:09 PM

Posted in Environmental, Events

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Putting the Tree in Forestry

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That's me doing work! (click for the rest of the pictures)

Organization:Mississauga Urban Forestry

Date: April 15, 2011

Location:Tom Chater Park (3195 The Collegeway, Mississauga)

Facilitator: Hazel McColl, Parks and Forestry Coordinator; John MacKinnon, Urban Forestry Coordinator

About the Organization: The Mississauga Urban Forestry department plays a huge role in maintaining “climate moderation, air and water quality, erosion control, wildlife habitat, and air temperature control”. It is responsible for planting and protecting trees in the parks of Mississauga City.

Tasks: We planted several trees (white oak, pagoda dogwood, witchhazel, sambucus pubens, sugar maple, and chokecherry) and picked up litter at Tom Chater Park.

This was our first time planting trees as a group, so Mr. Neil took us there so we can experience first hand planting trees (we always say, it’s a good thing to do it, so how about we go out and do that, while learning why it is important). So, at Tom Chater Park, we planted trees in the interest of naturalizing the area (meaning, make it be like a forest as it should be but in an urban setting). We also picked up litter to promote cleanliness and the beauty of the park while maintaining a sustainable ecosystem (trash disrupts it through attracting unwanted wildlife or chemicals from trash seeping into soil or trash not decomposing).

By planting trees, we improve the biodiversity of the ecosystem, provide habitat for wildlife, and basically plant a carbon sink; with this, we hope to reverse the trend of climate change in our community. Furthermore, we gain the knowledge and skill set that will help us with our upcoming project of a community orchard. And by cleaning up the park, we make it more inviting and pleasant for people to appreciate its beauty and purpose.

Written by Elvin Madamba

May 15, 2011 at 7:52 PM

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