In the midst of spring, Montreal turns gray and soggy as the snow melts and cigarette butts reappear, just before the buds break out and our city blooms with life. Simply the thought of magnolia flowers and bumblebees is enough to get me excited about the next season. What would summer be without the sparse greenery between the cracks of concrete or the Mount-Royal forest?
According to the UN, more people now live in cities than in rural areas. There are many environmental implications attached to this intensifying urbanization, such as increasing population density and decreasing area of natural habitat, but the situation also presents an opportunity for change in political mindset.
Integrating nature in urban areas is crucial for biodiversity and psychological health, and so is developing long-term alternatives to our consumption-ridden lifestyles. Many organisations are facilitating local initiatives such as Sister Cities International, Sustainable cities, and SMART cities.
Sister Cities International is an American-based organization that promotes citizen diplomacy and global community. Dwight Eisenhower founded it in 1956 to encourage peaceful relationships between cultures and sharing of innovation between cities.
Sustainable Cities is a network of different organizations that work together to integrate urban sustainability projects in communities across the globe. For instance, a research-action project in Mexico is currently underway to develop a structure for collaborative governance.
Dawson College itself has an array of sustainable initiatives such as the Green Earth club, Sustainable Dawson, and SPACE, which have all come together in creating GREENxTalks. When the Green Earth club members met this winter to discuss their goals for the semester, they decided to focus on cooperation with other sustainable initiatives at Dawson. What they found was a need to assess the environmental situation in the school itself, and thus embarked in a research project to find out how much waste from the cafeteria could be avoided. The results were alarming and confirmed the urgency of changing students’ mentality on their consumption behaviours. This is why everyone should attend GREENxTalks on April 20th at 5:30 in 5B.16.