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Sustainability tour paints the town green

by Archives October 14, 2008

Former UN special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, Stephen Lewis, spoke at Concordia last Wednesday.
Lewis spoke about international atrocities spurred on by environmental crises and called for immediate government action.
“Individual acts, such as eliminating water bottles and using the right light bulbs, are all valuable. But real progress requires government intervention . . . [such as] policies that will decrease carbon discharge,” he said.
The speech was part of the cross-country “Students for Sustainability” tour of Canadian university campuses.
The tour’s main goal is to get the government leaders’ attention, said Katherine Giroux-Bougard, national chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) – which initiated the project in concert with the David Suzuki Foundation and Sierra Youth Coalition.
“It is likely that Harper will be forming a weak minority, which raises the question, ‘How will Canada be governed?'” said Lewis. “Change comes by voting politicians in and out of office. Here is the opportunity to put pressure on political leaders regarding the environment.”
Also speaking was Peter Robinson, the CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation and former CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-op, who highlighted the relationship between apathy and the lack of environmental activism.
“People fear the unfamiliar and [there’s a] resistance to change that crosses all cultures, professions, and geographies,” said Robinson. “While rising sea levels may not seem relevant to those living in Montreal and Toronto, to the South Pacific Islands in danger of disappearing, they are of the utmost importance.”
He also stressed the interdependence of the economy and the environment.
“A common question today is: ‘The economy or the environment?’ The reality is, there is no choice between the two. One cannot prevail without the other.
Brendan Brazie, a vegan Ironman, opened the event Wednesday. Brazie spoke about the “trend” of over-eating unhealthy food.
“The North American trend we see today is individuals who are overfed but undernourished,” he said.
The tour began Sept. 30 at Memorial University in St. John’s, NL and ends Oct. 30 at the University of Victoria, after visiting 21 campuses in 30 days.

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