Voices of our Community - Extended

Being our last longer stories for our Community for Change Campaign, we want the voices of our community, contributors, and benefactors to reflect who we are and what we do. So we asked a couple community members to ‘chime in’ and let us know the role we have played in their experiences and also the role they have played in BTCEA’s work.  

Here are a couple responses, the longer less refined raw answers…


BTCEA’s role in my community is…
“leading our district in a positive transformative change by assisting teachers with the tools to support an action orientated inquiry approach to 21st century sustainable learning, and by instilling an awareness and confidence in our students to make a positive change in our community.” -Teacher Michael Iachetta

“…to support each of us to be the change necessary to bring about a world that is environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling. BTC was the first organization I’ve been part of that consciously included all three of these domains. That is a huge part of its genius, since our fragmented world deeply needs more wholistic approaches.”   -Past BTCEA Board member Kate Sutherland

SLS is valuable because…

“it enriches our students’ perspective and appreciation for the environment, not their physical environment, but also instilling a raised consciousness within themselves and their impact on others around them, at home, at school and in the community.”               -Teacher Denise North

“They are community leaders who work with students and teachers today in order to achieve a more equitable and sustainable world tomorrow.”           -Teacher Michael Iachetta

“The unit on connection was invaluable to my teaching and to my students for the Social Justice 12 program. The lessons were interactive, and instilled leadership for student groups during their presentations. The unit, in my opinion, helped give students more meaning to the importance of fighting injustice.”      -Teacher Alain Raoul

“…it gives the opportunity for youth to understand the importance of sustainability and teach them how to make positive impacts to the environment on a daily basis. SLS gives a voice to youth on how to become inspiring leaders of their generation, while creating educational awareness on the different environment and social issues occurring in our society.”      -BTCEA Intern Flora Lin

I have contributed to BTCEA’s work by…
“helping promote, train and support teachers and students at our school use SLS and the Waste Watchers multi-bin recycling pilot program. Taking this on is a natural extension of caring for our world and the well-being of our citizens.  SLS is a catalyst to change and engages youth to build a knowledge base, extend their learning, ultimately engaging in a worthy cause and making a difference.”          -Teacher Denise North

“I have been a part of BTCEA’s work by leading the development of the Waste Watchers Project in Burnaby. We brought in green bins to all eight Burnaby high schools and to several elementary schools (the project continues to expand), with the goal of encouraging sustainable practices in students of all age groups and to engage the community in a district-wide movement. We were able to host waste audits, leadership workshops, and community events with immense support from BTCEA.”            -Youth Leaders Salina Kung

“In the early Be The Change days, I was part of a fabulous and diverse group of people met regularly at Maureen’s home to design action circles, and to create the first edition of the action guide. Many of these people are still in my life, and all are still in my heart. It was us truly “being the change” — being in circle together, tapping collective wisdom, and listening for what was trying to emerge at this incredible time in human history.”      -Past BTCEA Board member Kate Sutherland

“I was a UBC Arts Intern at Be The Change in 2012. I learnt the complexity and hardship of what non-governmental organizations deal with on a day to day basis, while as an individual/community member I learnt how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. More importantly, during the four months internship, I got to know the wonderful staff that has now become an inspiration in my life. The positivity that comes from Maureen and Erin is beyond what I expected and I am always grateful for my experience with them.”            -Intern Flora Lin


The global challenges I want to address are…
Ocean Acidification and overconsumption (including the ‘More-Marters’ (instead of WalMart) – when is enough is enough?)                  -Teacher Denise North

“The global challenges that BTCEA addresses that worry me the most are the ever growing landfills. It will not be long before green spaces become sites for debris and garbage that could've been recycled.”         -Youth Leader Salina Kung

“I enjoyed BTCEA’s campaign “Mug It Up, Save The Cup’, which was one of the many projects that created awareness on how easy our actions can produce tremendous negative environmental impacts. The purpose of the campaign was to educate the public on how the production of disposable cups negatively impacts our health and environment.”                  -Intern Flora Lin

We need this type of education RIGHT NOW because…
 “Teenagers often just need a nudge to get out of their comfort zone and engage in something that makes a difference within themselves and/or within their community; that’s the essence of SLS.  With the new provincial inquiry based curriculum, SLS is a great start to giving students options to make a difference in an area of interest.  We can never underestimate how students are today’s leaders; they have the ability, and energy, to make a difference once given a chance.”               -Teacher Denise North

“… we need to foster a sense of care for the environment in the next generation of children.”        -Youth Leader Salina Kung

“…teachers can integrate these action-orientated themes while exploring a new curriculum”           -Teacher Michael Iachetta

“I’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response from my Planning 10 students on how the SLS Values have changed their views on the world around them…this generation wants to take charge and make things happen.”          -Teacher Brenda Kvist

”BTC is about deep culture change. That is not an overnight proposition. I love how the evolution of BTC has come from listening for what is resonating and what is needed. I believe that BTC is working on  very important frontiers, planting seeds of engagement, perspective, possibility and empowerment — shifting the conversation, helping people embody new behaviours, and laddering up into embedding new approaches into large scale systems.”             -Past BTCEA Board member Kate Sutherland

“With continuous environment and social issues occurring in the world, the SLS program plays a crucial role in helping youth understand the importance of living a more sustainable lifestyle. In other words, our youths play an important role in determining how the future will become. The timing for this type of education has never been this important because we are in a situation that we can become agents of change for a more sustainable future before it is too late.”        -Intern Flora Lin

I remember…
the first time our students did the connecting with nature value, including our ELL students new to Canada (formerly ESL students) At first the majority of students were reluctant and not motivated to spend ‘quiet time’ in nature.  Once they did the activity (spent 20 minutes in nature unplugged from any electronics) the enlightened responses were overwhelmingly positive.  ‘I felt at peace,’ ‘I came back so relaxed,’ ‘I never sat still and listened to the birds before. It made me feel happy.’”             -Teacher Denise North

“I remember when I attended my first BTCEA symposium, for the first time I felt that there was hope for our current and future generations because there are others who truly care about our environment and want a more sustainable future. The event was an eye opener and empowering experience that allowed me to understand that regardless of our differences as individuals we can make a difference in our society by speaking up and taking actions. Although BTCEA’s mission is to work on youth sustainability, the organization provides opportunities to community members, such as the Symposium presentations that allow individuals who care about sustainability to gather and discuss the different environment and social issues.”          -Intern Flora Lin

Please pass this along to others you think may be interested in joining our community to support a more thriving, just, and sustainable world! You can forward this email along or share it on social media with this easy to share post. These responses were collected for our Community for Change Campaign


Thank you to our contributors to this blog:

  • Michael Iachetta, SLS and Waste Watchers Teacher, Sponsor of the Delta Youth Sustainability Network, and teacher liaison for the Delta Green Committee,
  • Kate Sutherland, Past BTCEA Board member, author, organizational change consultant, and speaker, Make Light Work
  • Denise North, Killarney Librarian, Environmental Club Sponsor, and SLS and Waste Watchers Teacher
  • Alain Raoul , SLS Teacher and Social Justice Rep
  • Salina Kung , Previous Burnaby Youth Sustainability Network President and Burnaby Student
  • Flora Lin, BTCEA Arts Intern in 2012
  • Brenda Kvist, VLN and SLS Teacher

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