SGI-Canada Earth Charter Committee Launches "Summer of Sustainability" in Vancouver
From July 3 to 5, 2008, SGI-Canada's Vancouver-based Earth Charter Committee launched its "Summer of Sustainability" campaign at the city's Central City Shopping Center, distributing a checklist of 50 actions people can take to engage with others in the community and reduce their carbon footprint--the direct effect one's actions and lifestyle have on the environment in terms of carbon dioxide emissions.
This effort built upon the success of a "30 Days of Sustainability" campaign held by SGI-Canada members in Greater Vancouver between September and December 2007. For 30 days during that period, members were encouraged to find ways to build their awareness of sustainability in their own daily lives and take action to reduce their environmental impact. The committee created a checklist of simple actions.
Individuals could, for example, host a local discussion meeting on the significance of the interconnectedness of life and how it relates to their consumption patterns, or take more concrete actions including installing energy-efficient compact florescent light bulbs, carpooling, cycling or taking public transit to work, buying locally or organically grown foods, or supporting more community-based activities such as donating to a local food bank, writing to their local politicians about sustainability or even simply registering to vote in the next election. Becoming a mentor to a young person and supporting the elderly and the economically disadvantaged were also among the activities listed.
More than 120 SGI-Canada members from throughout Greater Vancouver participated in the sustainability drive in the last quarter of 2007, with each person putting into practice at least half a dozen suggested actions during the 30-day period.
At the launch of the "Summer of Sustainability" campaign, Earth Charter Committee coordinator Richard Chu commented, "Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions have become center-stage around the world. But these issues can't be dealt with as an isolated issue. As SGI President Daisaku Ikeda noted in his 2002 proposal on education for sustainable development, sustainability is more than just about the environment. There are also social, economic, community and even political dimensions. We hope to build awareness of this more comprehensive view of sustainability."
There are plans to hold similar events in various cities and municipalities in Greater Vancouver throughout 2008.
[Adapted from a report from the SGI-Canada Earth Charter Committee]