Donor Story: Creating systems change

Hi, I’m Suzanne BaroisI am pleased to have an opportunity to speak on behalf of Be the Change Earth Alliance and commend this grassroots organization for all the good work they do.  

My husband and I have attended BTCEA’s Annual General Meeting each year and have met most of the board members and staff. We have always been impressed with how much this small organization is able to do with the resources they have and inspired by the calibre of their work. The volunteers are enthusiastic, and the staff is highly motivated in their work with the teachers and students. I feel that every penny we invest in this organization is put to good use and much appreciated. 

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Donor Story: Supporting collaboration and critical thinking

My name is Michael Goodman, and I’m proud to say I’ve donated to Be the Change Earth Alliance. 

I’m 69. Climate change feels like my generation’s problem. And yet we’ve left our youth to deal with it. How better to solve this problem than by supporting them? 

Let’s help our youth discuss these problems and consider how they can reshape our country to do better. I donated to Be the Change Earth Alliance because I think that without discussion and thought there can be no action. Be the Change helps youth come to grips with the climate crisis and discover how they can make a positive impact on our world.  

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Donor Story: Supporting Transformative Change

My name is Kate Sutherland. I donate every year to Be The Change Earth Alliance and have been an avid supporter since the early days. 

I love its grounded, practical, and strategic use of key levers for transformative change: activating HEAD (sharing key info), HEART (connecting to others and to values) and HANDS (recommending a range of potential actions). I so respect how the work keeps deepening and evolving, as the team learns and iterates its offerings.

And I care deeply about the braiding of three crucial strands in the BTC vision: to support a socially just, environmentally sustainable and personally fulfilling human presence on this planet

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Federal Election Reflections

It has now been a week since the Federal election.  After spending the 6 week election period involved and volunteering in canvassing and Get out the vote efforts to ensure we get voters to consider climate change when they cast their ballot, it has taken me a bit of time to fully decompress and assess what the outcomes of this important election means in the context of climate justice. I know for many of us committed to working towards justice, there were many moments in this election that left me feeling deeply disappointed and frustrated with the state of debate on issues in Canada, and that made clear to me how much work we still need to do in the fight for ecological justice, indigenous justice, racial justice, economic justice, gender justice, across Canada but also around the world.

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Action Pack Stories: Justice - The Privatization of Water

This blog post is part of a series that demonstrate how our Action Packs are used! This post covers the 'Water Privatization' in our Justice Action Pack. 

Before I started college, I bought plastic bottled water almost every day. Yes, I bought water. But did I really need to pay for all that water when I could have gotten it for free instead? I started to change this habit as I learned more about how plastics harm our environment. Now, I have been bringing a reusable water bottle with me for 5 years. I’ve really changed the way I live with water. 

I learned about the negative impacts of plastics, which encouraged me to switch to reusable water bottles, in the ‘Privatization of Water’ justice action pack. But more significantly, I hadn't realized until completing this action pack that the bottled-water industry exists as a result of the privatization of water.

Throughout the research process of this action pack, I was most impressed by a video called The Story of Bottled Water. This video taught me that bottled water is actually created by manufactured demand. The bottled water industry scares people about tap water, seduces people with marketing strategies, and supplies misleading information. In fact, studies prove that bottled water is not necessarily cleaner, safer, or better tasting than tap water. In addition, it requires a large amount of energy to produce a plastic water bottle, and plastic bottles contribute to land waste pollution. Not all bottles can be recycled, and many are even transported to poorer countries, increasing their own waste. This creates social injustice. What’s more, bottled water costs thousands of times more than tap water.

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Action Pack Stories: Health - Food Additives

This blog post is part of a series that demonstrate how our Climate Action Unit's Action Packs are used! This post covers the "Health: Food Additives" Action Pack. 

Have you ever stopped and read the labels of the foods you consume? Or even researched what exactly all those weird-sounding ingredients are? Yeah, me neither. 

The “Health: Food Additives” Action Pack changed this for me, though. Throughout this action pack, I learned what food additives and preservatives are, why they’re used, their detrimental effects on our health, and how to eliminate these pesky and problematic substances from my life by taking personal pledges.  

Basically, food additives and preservatives are sneaky substances, often incorporated into packaged and processed foods so they last longer on the shelf, look better, are easier to package, taste better, and/or add nutritional value. But these substances can have seriously negative effects on our health and are known to increase the risk of a myriad of health complications. 

In this action pack, there was an activity in which I got to choose one of my favourite processed foods, write a list of its additives/preservatives, and then research their health implications. I chose Oreos, because I love them dearly, and was quickly disappointed to find out that Oreos are destroying forests of palm trees (and orangutans!!), as well as increasing my risk of heart disease, obesity, and cancer. As much as I love Oreos, I'd rather not eat them knowing what goes into their production, let alone their possible effects.

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Out of Office & Onto the Streets

This week, millions have already walked in solidarity with youth leaders demanding action to address the climate crisis. Our time is running out. Sea levels are rising, glaciers are melting, we are seeing an increase in extreme weather events, and temperatures are at all-time highs

Our modern existence seems to have forgotten its intrinsic connection to the natural world. And so here we stand, on the precipice of an irreversible climate crisis, with countless species at risk of extinction, and our frightened children leading rallies in the streets. 

We got ourselves into this mess, and we have got to get ourselves out. Our way of living, governing, and going about ‘business as usual’ is going to bring us all down. So let’s take pause. Let’s reset. And then let’s act boldly by making personal choices and supporting public policies that protect our planet. 

But how? How can we change hearts and minds? How can we collectively break our habits and disrupt the status quo? Well -- as we stand in the wake of a week of incredible youth-led organizing around the world, it seems we ‘elders’ could learn a thing or two about global collaboration from our ‘youngers’. It is possible! 

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"Thank you. With deep, deep gratitude" : A reflection on youth climate action with Creative Director Maureen Jack-LaCroix

I’m sitting with Maureen Jack-LaCroix, founder and creative director of Be the Change Earth Alliance, to discuss her thoughts about the moment of youth climate activism we currently find ourselves in.

1. Maureen - who are you, and why were you drawn to climate activism through education? 

I’m Maureen Jack-LaCroix, the founder and Creative Director of Be the Change Earth Alliance. 

After graduating with an undergraduate degree in Political Science, I was a bit disenchanted with humanity and found a career in the music industry. Music was one core aspect of humanity I could still believe in. I flourished in the music industry; it’s very independent, creative, and multi-faceted. 

And yet, throughout this time, I was hearing a call from Gaia that got stronger and stronger over time. I was constantly approaching non-profits and asking “what can I do.” I would write the letter, sign the petition, write the cheque. Finally I thought - “this isn’t enough.” We can’t expect the non-profits to do all of this work for us, we all have to do something. 

I then went and completed a Master’s in Eco-Psychology, I closed my production company, and founded Be the Change Earth Alliance. I found that my version of activism and working in service for Earth was through education. This was what suited my psyche best. 

Be the Change has also been a way to help people like myself determine what we can do on an individual basis to make a difference. It has led me to a deep exploration into what we can do…  And that’s been a very rewarding process. It’s been an amazing fifteen years working with teachers, creating materials, learning resources, and workshops to support them in bringing eco-social education to students that need it and want it so much. 

2. You recently attended the ‘die-in’ hosted by the Sustainabiliteens in downtown Vancouver - can you describe what this event was?

The ‘die-in’ was a remarkable experience where students - hundreds of students - went into the Pacific Centre Mall’s food court and collapsed. They acted as if they were dead for eleven minutes. These eleven minutes were a representation of the eleven years we have to turn back our carbon emissions. Eleven years is such an incredibly short period of time, but those eleven minutes lasted a very long time... to witness our youth lying lifeless in this crowded food mart was really impactful.

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The Global Climate Strike -- An Energetic Rallying Cry for Educators

This week, September 20 - 27, millions will walk from their homes and places of work to join young climate strikers as they demand urgent action on the most pressing issue of their time: the climate emergency. 

Many educators support these walkouts, with some institutions going as far as cancelling classes the day of, and with many teachers committing to a ‘no major assignments pledge.’ Locally, UBC has endorsed the strike and the BCTF has come out in support

And yet, in the absence of class attendance, this seems to be the ultimate teaching moment. We can learn so much from this youth-led demonstration of power, solidarity, diversity, and determination -- and if past climate strikes serve as any indication, we can witness some real beauty in the process. In the words of Greta Thunberg, “If you still say that we are wasting valuable lesson time, then let me remind you that our political leaders have wasted decades through denial and inaction.”

I personally participated in some of the major climate protests and student walkouts in London this year, and the energy was second-to-none. It was incredible to stand witness as thousands of students from varying grade levels and post-secondary institutions systematically organized. Even more surprising was that, amidst the clamour of Brexit negotiations, British parliament was disrupted enough to declare a climate emergency. Government listened. The point of this anecdote being: demanding action through activism can not only have an impact, but it is also an astounding first-hand glance at democracy in full force. 

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"I want to live, grow old, and have a family..."

“I’m 14, today. It’s my birthday,” said one of the 20 high school students crowded around a few cafe tables. We weren’t gathered for a birthday party. We were gathered to write letters to Vancouver City Councilors to urge climate action. Since when is this something teens do...especially on their birthday?

After introductions, we spread out to every corner of the cafe to write. Vancouver City Councilors were about vote on whether the city should formally request that fossil fuel companies contribute to paying for climate change adaptation costs. The students were writing to urge Councilors to hold Big Oil accountable.


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