Community events archives

    Spreading climate messages in the Year of the Water Dragon

    February 2, 2012 | Posted in | Leave a comment

    By Winnie Hwo, Climate Change Campaigner

    More than a decade ago, Chinese New Year was mostly an immigrant affair in Canada. New Canadian families from Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and other parts of Asia would typically celebrate at home or in Chinese restaurants in Vancouver's Chinatown and Richmond, or in Markham, Richmond Hill and Scarborough in the Greater Toronto Region.

    Today, Chinese Canadians no longer hold the monopoly on Chinese New Year celebrations. It has now become an intercultural festival for all Canadians to share and enjoy. At the David Suzuki Foundation, the Year of the Water Dragon, which only comes once every 60 years, is shaping up to be a busy year of public engagement, especially with Canada's Chinese language media like Sing Tao Daily and Fairchild Media Group.

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    New Canadians share environmental messages

    November 18, 2011 | Posted in | 2 comments
    Photo: New Canadians share environmental messages

    By Winnie Hwo, Climate Change Campaigner

    November has turned out to be "doubly happy" 雙喜臨門 for me and my work at the David Suzuki Foundation. First, I just passed the one-year mark working with DSF's Climate Change and Clean Energy Team, and we have managed to break a lot of new ground. Second, on November 3, the North American Association of Asian Professionals honoured me for community service and cultural promotion at their fifth annual Spotlight on Asian Leadership celebration.

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    To Surrey... and beyond!

    June 29, 2011 | Posted in | 1 comment

    The David Suzuki Foundation is reaching out to people we may not have spoken with in the past or groups that are not currently part of the “green” conversation.

    By Harpreet Johal, Campaigner, Climate Change & Clean Energy Program

    Climate change affects everyone, and everyone can be part of the solution. As the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) continues its public outreach work, it keeps this simple statement in mind with the hope that more people will be inspired to take action.

    DSF continues to reach out to non-traditional audiences — people we may not have spoken with in the past or groups that are not currently part of the "green" conversation. Our goal is to help more people understand the urgency to take action on climate change (both through personal and political action) and spread the word to their own networks.

    As part of this work, we are reaching out to new Canadians and different cultural groups. These groups make up a significant portion of the Canadian population, and it was clear from the last federal election that they have a large political voice.

    Many new Canadians also have a strong personal understanding about the importance of protecting the environment. Not only do they bring with them valuable knowledge about solutions to environmental problems, but many of their home countries are the hardest hit by climate change. Having experienced flooding, drought, heat waves and other extreme weather events, new Canadians understand the importance of taking care of our planet.

    As a way to reach out to more Canadians, DSF has partnered with Progressive Intercultural Community Services, an immigrant services agency based in Surrey. Both organizations agree that more awareness and discussion on climate change is needed.

    To launch this collaboration, Dr. Suzuki spoke to the South Asian community on June 16 at an event hosted by PICS at the Crown Banquet hall in Surrey. Dr. Suzuki spoke about climate change from a cultural and personal perspective, emphasizing the importance for new Canadians to share their own knowledge and experiences with environmental solutions. He spoke about how we can learn from each other's cultures, including the Indian culture, about having a better appreciation and connection with nature.

    A local bhangra team, called Bhangra Beats, also showcased the traditional Punjabi folk dance. Having originated in the 11th century as a way to celebrate the harvest in Punjab, the bhangra dance linked the connection between arts, culture and the environment.

    Students from Satinder Bhatia's grade 5/6 class from Surrey's Khalsa School also attended. The students gave a presentation on rural environmental practices in India, highlighting traditional rainwater harvesting, the use of cow dung as fuel and organic farming. The students concluded with a power message:

    "The Earth is facing an environmental crisis. This is a fact. It's time that we learn from the wisdom of our elders, from the native lifestyle, and soak every bit of practiced wisdom from nations like India. The point to be underlined is that we need to simplify our lives, develop a more sensitive attitude toward our environment, and treat everything around us as if it has a spirit."

    Harjinder Thind, host of popular Harjinder Thind Show on Red-FM 93.1, acted as moderator, taking questions and comments from South Asian community leaders on how we can work together to stop climate change. It was a diverse audience comprising teachers, arts and culture experts, doctors, lawyers, businessman, faith leaders and youth, all of whom were thrilled to be part of the climate change discussion. It was an exciting and interactive evening!

    A huge thank you to Charan Gill, CEO of PICS, and his staff for hosting the event. It was a great launch to a wonderful partnership between DSF and PICS.

    As a way to educate, brainstorm and implement solutions to climate change, PICS and DSF will also be rolling out a few projects:

    • A 10-point campaign on how to fight climate change
    • Workshops on environmental issues
    • Advisory groups on how best to engage the community

    DSF is also developing a Climate Leadership Council to help steer its public engagement work in Metro Vancouver, particularly with folks from diverse communities. If anyone is interested, please contact Harpreet Johal at

    DSF climate team reaching out to new audiences

    May 2, 2011 | Posted in | Leave a comment
    Photo: DSF climate team reaching out to new audiences

    Dr. David Suzuki, Winnie Hwo, Francis Chan and Andy Cheung in studio at AM1320.

    By Winnie Hwo, Climate Change Campaigner

    The David Suzuki Foundation is committed to working with all Canadians to build a collective voice for action on climate change. Attending community events and meeting with a diverse range of stakeholders is a great way for us to share our message, learn what is happening locally, and meet the people behind some pretty inspiring initiatives. We will be profiling some of these events as part of our Race to the Top project .

    Our Race to the Top Team — team lead Ian Bruce and campaigners Harpreet Johal and Winnie Hwo — have spent the past several months meeting with organizations, community groups, media outlets, and a diverse group of professionals in Metro Vancouver who are interested in our efforts to get more Canadians engaged with environmental issues and climate change.

    Meeting community stakeholders is crucial for our work because not only are we trying to share our passion for the environment, we also want to know what Canadians, new and old, are doing to address climate change in their lives. In Vancouver's Lower Mainland, two community leaders took time to visit DSF 's Kitsilano office to share with us their valuable experience and knowledge on reaching out to Canada's diverse communities. And guess what? According to community activist Mo Dhaliwal and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. chair Dennis Chan, the key to successful communication is more about listening than talking.

    Mo and Dennis.jpg
    Harpreet Johal, Winnie Hwo, Mo Dhaliwal, Dennis Chan, Ian Bruce

    Another key component of our work is reaching out to ethnic Chinese Canadians via Canada's Chinese media. The Overseas Chinese Voice is one of the two major Chinese language radio stations in Metro Vancouver. On March 12, Dr. David Suzuki was invited to share his views and knowledge on climate change and solutions with the Lower Mainland's Chinese Canadian audience on Andy Cheung's Saturday hotline show. Dr. Suzuki talked about his own background, how he became interested in the environment and what he does to walk the talk.

    Andy Cheung also used the occasion to wish Dr. Suzuki a happy 75th birthday. During the first hour of the hotline show, Dr. Suzuki reminded the Chinese Canadian audience that giving up eating meat one day a week is a good start in helping the environment because livestock is a key contributor to carbon emissions. By the second hour of the show, listeners called in to tell Dr. Suzuki they got the message. Some even said they already go without meat three days a week.

    The Race to the Top team also recently extended its community outreach work to the Greater Toronto District. We met with movers and shakers in Toronto's multifaceted communities and explored opportunities to engage new and young Canadians on environmental issues. The young men and women at Across U-Hub, an organization that works with Chinese youth to build leadership skills, greeted us with the warmest welcome we could expect. Our team, along with Toronto colleague Amy Hu, will be working closely with Stanley, Nicole, Dr. Eric Fong and Joseph's team at Across U-Hub starting with their City Mosaic event.

    Nicole, Winnie, Dr. Eric Fong, Ian, Harpreet, Amy, Teresa; front: Melody, Stanley, Kenix and Joseph

    Canada's immigrant communities have added colour and flair to our cultural mosaic. Caring for seniors is a key part of the cultural heritage of many in the Chinese Canadian community, and Dr. Joseph Wong is undoubtedly a leader in this field.

    In 1987, Dr. Wong, who is trained as a family doctor, founded Yee Hong Geriatric Care Home in suburban Toronto. The facility has expanded to four major locations, providing a combined 805 beds for clients at an annual budget of $61 million.

    Our team met with Dr. Wong in Yee Hong's newest facility in Scarborough to discuss ways that he can lend his passion for Yee Hong and other social justice issues to our cause — protecting the environment in the same way we care for our elders. Dr. Wong's son is already working in the environmental field in Beijing. We look forward to further collaboration with Dr. Wong and his team.

    joseph wong.jpg
    Ian Bruce, Dr. Joseph Wong, Winnie Hwo, Harpreet Johal, Jode Roberts

    These are just some of the numerous positive experiences we've had meeting with people from Metro Vancouver and Greater Toronto. We look forward to further collaboration and building toward a more sustainable future with all Canadians.

    A Science Fair to Remember

    April 7, 2011 | Posted in | 3 comments
    Photo: A Science Fair to Remember

    Climate Change Campaigner, Harpreet Johal, and Khalsa School students pose in front of their project on global warming.

    By Ryan Kadowaki, Climate Change Program Coordinator

    The David Suzuki Foundation is committed to working with all Canadians to build a collective voice for action on climate change. Attending community events is a great way for us to share our message, learn what is happening locally, and meet the people behind some pretty inspiring initiatives. We will be profiling some of these events as part of our Race to the Top project.

    On March 11, the Climate Team attended the Khalsa School Science Fair in Surrey, B.C. There was a buzz in the air as students from grades 2-10 were able to share their projects with parents, teachers, and us! I love science fairs because you get to see what students can do when they build on their classroom knowledge, explore a concept in detail and eventually produce a project or experiment.

    For this science fair, a number of students researched environmental issues. There was a wide range of projects related to issues including global warming, pollution, energy alternatives, flooding, recycling and acid rain. We got a chance to visit a number of exhibits and were very impressed with the quality (many were constructed using recycled materials from the previous year's project!) and the depth to which the students had researched and were able to articulate their findings.

    Aside from touring the school and meeting with students and teachers, we also had a table to share some of our program's work and to offer students a survey to fill out about the environment. The results of the survey can be seen below.

    The science fair really brought me back to a time when a lot of us started developing a passion for science and nature. It was a bunch of students who were really proud of their work and wanted to share something new they had learned. Seeing young people put their efforts into discovery and problem-solving is inspiring, and it's only the beginning of their journey. There may not have been any projects on fruit flies, but it wouldn't be surprising if the next David Suzuki was in our midst.

    Khalsa chart1

    Khalsa chart2