9,000: total hours of work donated by our 1,500+ volunteers last year (a 40% increase over last year)

This past year saw enormous growth in our community of supporters. We connected and engaged with countless new audiences, from cultural groups to progressive businesses. None of this would have been possible without the thousands of volunteers dedicated to multiplying our message.

Spreading the natural capital message

Our Natural Capital Ambassadors. Credit: Claudette Carracedo Photo

In June, we selected a dozen city planning professionals from B.C.'s Lower Mainland to help us embed the concepts of natural capital — valuing nature's benefits and services in monetary terms — within municipal politics. After an intense day of training on communicating the concepts of natural capital, the enthusiastic Ambassadors returned to their offices and boardrooms to spread the word.

We've already seen exciting examples of the concepts catching on. For example, thanks to Ambassadors Caroline Jackson and Isabel Gordon, the City of North Vancouver recently released a discussion paper titled Sustaining our Natural Capital to inform the direction of its new community plan.

Involving new Canadians in climate solutions

Campaigner Harpreet Johal visits with students at the Khalsa School Science Fair in Surrey, B.C.

Climate change affects us all, but new Canadians are often left out of the conversation about solutions. That's why the Foundation has been speaking with Canadians in the Chinese and South Asian communities about these important topics. With the addition of Harpreet Johal and former Fairchild TV news director Winnie Hwo to our team, we have held roundtable discussions and worked with youth leaders at immigration services organizations, and we have translated some of our work into multiple languages. Our conclusion: people care about the environment no matter what their home language or country of origin.

Planning a clean energy future

At the World Energy Congress in September 2010, the Foundation, along with the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Trottier Family Foundation, announced an exciting new venture: the Trottier Energy Futures Project. Its goal is to show how Canada can achieve a clean energy future: reducing greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050. This will require enormous changes not only to our energy sources but our buildings, lifestyles, and supply chains. Throughout 2011, the Trottier team tackled intensive research into technologies and drivers for a low-carbon future.

Sustainable seafood catches on

As a member of SeaChoice, we expanded our list of retail partners to include Canada Safeway, which pledged to ensure that by 2015 all fresh and frozen seafood it sells will come from sustainable and traceable sources, or be in a credible improvement project. We also continued to build our program with Overwaitea Foods and Federated Cooperatives Limited.

We continued to engage in Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certifications and convinced MSC to review its Canadian swordfish long-line fishery assessment. We also revised our own seafood assessment methodology, alongside Monterey Bay Aquarium, so that retailers and consumers have the information to make choices that support a healthy future for our oceans.

Motivating Canadians to go green

If you think individual actions don't make a difference, talk to Lindsay Coulter, David Suzuki's Queen of Green. Last fall, she began coaching Melanie Smith, a mother of four who had won a Queen of Green lifestyle makeover through Canadian Living magazine. She visited Smith at her Alberta home and advised the family on how to lower its environmental footprints. A year later, the Queen of Green reported: "Melanie's once-full bottles of store-bought detergent now brim with a less toxic, fragrance-free, cheap and equally effective concoction. Her energy-efficient washing machine has never been happier — especially in cold water! The Smiths blew my socks off with the changes they've made — composting, DIY green cleaning products, 2 to 3 vegetarian meals a week, rain barrels, killing vampire electronics, greening birthday parties, and more."

Suzuki Speaks

Without our large and growing team of volunteers, the Foundation could not be nearly as effective. From videographers and thank-you callers to researchers and our Suzuki Elders, our volunteers elevate and enrich our work with their own expertise.

This past year, we piloted the Suzuki Speaks volunteer program, which provides a public face for the Foundation at special events where David Suzuki or other staff members have been invited to speak, or where the community has requested our presence. Audiences range from 50 people to 10,000. At each event, a pair of enthusiastic and eloquent volunteers discuss the Foundation's work and environmental issues with the public. The team comprises 25 members at a time and attends on average one event per week.

Profile: Winnie Hwo

Campaigner, Climate Change and Clean Energy Vancouver

Over a year ago, I left my career in journalism because I was no longer satisfied being a mere observer. As a journalist, I learned about many things but never committed to one. Now, as a campaigner for climate solutions, I am committed to protecting our earth, our air, and our water.

My job is to introduce the reality of climate change to people who are either new to Canada or simply not familiar with the extent of human impact on climate. I motivate and mobilize them to become part of our engine of climate solutions.