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If many of us do little things, it will help

April 29, 2024

5 minute read
Post contributed by Sheryl Muzyk, Senior Manager Application Delivery, IG Wealth Management
Leadership Winnipeg Class of 2023-2024

In our last presentation of the day, Brendan Reimer shared a famous Margaret Meade quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” In our session on April 19, we learned from many groups who are making differences in Winnipeg’s sustainability.

First, we had Josep Seras-Gubert, from the Green Action Centre share his passion about how they are always looking for ways to improve Winnipeg and finding opportunities to fill environmental gaps. Some of the collective actions they take and encourage everyone to take is to start a climate conversation, support youth activism, demand that your politicians make the planet a priority, amplify Indigenous voices and learn from them, and enhance sustainability in your home, school, and workplace.

Next we met with Kyle Macdonald and Joseph Wasylycia-Leis from the University of Winnipeg. They believe that it is important for post-secondary institutions to use and teach sustainability as they shape the minds of the leaders of tomorrow. The university has met the Kyoto protocol to match the 1990 emission levels even though their square footage is much larger now. They are currently working towards net zero emissions by 2035.

We met with Ian Vickers from Diversity Foods on campus. They are a social enterprise who have 4 pillars they follow to maximize social cultural, economic, and environmental sustainability. The pay fair wages and offer benefits to their employees as well as ensure that their suppliers are local and their employees are also paid fairly. They will only work with small local businesses who can deliver up to 2 times a week to ensure that they only get the food they need to prevent waste. We had a delicious lunch provided by Diversity Foods.

Our afternoon started with a presentation from the Prairie Climate Centre by Dr Danny Blair, Christey Allen, Brett Huson, and Matthew Loxley. They work to making content about climate change that is understandable and accessible by everyone. A large part of this is to work with Indigenous communities and understand their teachings from their long history of shared knowledge. We learned a lot of information about how to understand climate change and were so engaged and asking questions we did not have time for their interactive exercise!

Jeremy Read from the University of Winnipeg Renewal Corporation told is how they were created as a part of a master plan of the U of W to increase its footprint in response to its growing population of students in a sustainable manner. They achieved such success that many groups have reached out to them for guidance of similar projects.

Finally, we met with Brendan Reimer, from Assiniboine Credit union and we learned about certified B corporations. These corporations prove the businesses can exist which can do good for the world as well as make a profit. One piece that resonated with me in his presentation is that you focus on the things you measure so if you want to do something to improve the world, you need to be able to measure it to track your progress. ACU is a great example of doing this as they are the top B Corporation in Canada and in the top 20 in the world!

During the day Doneta Brotchie stated “if many of us do little things, it will help.” All the presentations during this session have inspired me to do more little things and to encourage those around me to do so as well.

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