Making Hamilton More Resilient & Sustainable on Earth Day
Celebrating Earth Day on April 22nd, I attended the 3rd Annual Hamilton Environmental Summit 2015. It was held at the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington and was by far one of the best organized events I have been to in a while! The food was tasty too!
The organizers started off the event with an inspiring keynote speaker, Rod Nettagog and his son ‘Mister P’, from the Henvey Inlet First Nation. Rod spoke about the First Nations beliefs about preserving the environment and their approach to spirituality. He said, “It is our responsibility to look after our Earth.” Rod and his son performed a smoke ceremony, sang native songs, and shared stories about their culture. Mister P also sang and performed a hoop dance for us. It was amazing to see such a young boy embrace his culture and share his talents with such a large room of people without any hesitation.
Through multiple workshops, we celebrated local environmental initiatives, and identified issues and opportunities to advance environmental stewardship in Hamilton through interactive, fun workshops. We also discussed Hamilton’s Vision 2020 report and areas for improvement. Representatives from Parks Canada, Environment Hamilton, Sustainability Professionals Network, Bay Area Restoration Council, Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Cornerstone Standards Council, 100In1Day Hamilton, and countless others attended this event. We all worked together collaboratively to find ways to become more resilient and sustainable as a community, discussing important issues such as:
(1) Climate change adaptations
(2) Threats to Ontario’s Greenbelt
(3) Outdoor Education
(4) Food strategy
(5) Hamilton’s Trails Master Plan
All in all, it was a great event that brought together so many different organizations and individuals with a keen interest in sustainability and nature. The information I learned and people I met will undoubtedly prove to be an invaluable experience.