October is sustainability month, and one way to celebrate is with the second annual 20x20 Sustainability Night event. This event is hosted by the Manitoba Education for Sustainable Development Working Group (MESDWG) and gives Winnipeggers an opportunity to get some education, brush up on sustainability practices and have a cocktail, too.
“As a group, we were looking for a way to engage members of the general public,” Ellen Cobb-Friesen, event organizer with MESDWG, says. “(We wanted) the focus of the evening to be on made-in-Manitoba ideas for a sustainable world.”
Cobb-Friesen says attendees can hear a range of speakers, but the focus is on Manitoba-inspired and diverse participants. They wanted to ensure different presentation styles, communities and backgrounds were captured for the event while still focussing on sustainability.
“We will have a series of seven speakers presenting who will have 20 slides to present to and only 20 seconds to speak to each slide, so there’s no ‘death by powerpoint,’” Cobb-Friesen says.
CBC reporter Trevor Dineen will host the event. Speakers include locals from Beeproject Apiaries, FortWhyte Farms, the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization and more.
“We want to make sure we cover the three main pillars of sustainability (economy, environment and society) in addition to the four main themes of Sustainability Month (food, water, waste, energy),” Cobb-Friesen says. “It’s fun, because we’ll get people attending for one speaker but become very interested in what other speakers have to say about a different passion area.”
The purpose of the evening, Cobb-Friesen explains, is to engage with the issues by assembling a community who will take action such as lifestyle changes, volunteering or even speaking about the issues.
“We hope that … everyone will participate in other events throughout Sustainability Month and the rest of the year. Everyone is buzzing with excitement from hearing about such interesting topics,” Cobb-Friesen says. “I really feel like we have a community of people who are invested in living in a sustainable world.”
Danielle Mondor, farm manager at FortWhyte Alive, will present on how the farm partners with high schools and youth serving agencies who host after-school programs. The curriculum incl-udes education on nutrition, agriculture, workplace safety, financial literacy and community-building, with the hope of improving youth employment.
“Youth have a deep craving to care for one another, and FortWhyte Farms is a place to develop stewardship and put it into practice,” Mondor says. Their goals for similar programs include creating sustainable communities, following organic standards, conserving resources, increasing biodiversity and shaping the ways we interact with food and nature.
Mondor believes that the youth they engage with through their program have valuable insight and knowledge when it comes to sustainability.
“We need young people engaged in issues like healthy food, good jobs, urban green spaces, safe recreation, sustainable urban infrastructure and how it all connects to the natural world,” Mondor says.
“I’m excited to share snippets from the farm and learn about what everyone else is speaking about,” Mondor says. “I’m honoured to represent FortWhyte Farms alongside other Winnipeg changemakers speaking next Monday.”