If you’ve been been out enjoying these last days of summer at the assortment of Edmonton festivals, you might have run into one of our summer research students who have been continuing to ask Edmontonians to give us your ideas about sustainability and what Edmonton needs to do to ensure we preserve and sustain our environment.
Here’s another update from one of our research students Emma Sanborn, who was on-site at Hawrelak Park for the Celtic festival to talk to Edmontonians amidst the bagpipes and chain mail.
The first thing I say when I approach someone these days is “Hi! I’m with the City of Edmonton.” That’s because “these days” I am a Student Researcher who engages the public in the City’s new environmental plan ‘The Way We Green’. The more I talk with my fellow Edmontonians, the stranger my opening line has started to sound however: aren’t we ALL with the City of Edmonton?
It’s become clearer to me that we are all with the City of Edmonton, I just happen to be one of the lucky people with the task of gathering the concerns and dreams of the people of this beautiful city. I guess you could call me a concern-and-dream-catcher…and at the 3rd Annual Celtic Festival, I caught a bit of both.
Light-hearted Celtic melodies floated lightly on the breeze in Hawrelak Park on this lush green August afternoon. One of the performers aptly commented “Edmonton, now what a beautiful place. Does it get any more beautiful than this??”
However the first comment that appeared on our public whiteboard urgently cut through this airy fairy mood, and demanded “Stop buying throwaways! (like dusting cloths and disposable diapers).” This kicked off further discussion, both on the whiteboard, and amongst festival attendees.
I quietly listened as a fully-armed and impressively bearded man (dressed in authentic chain mail), and a vendor from another tent, debated Edmonton’s transportation system. I’m happy to say the men settled the situation with iPads instead of swords (they both completed ‘The Way We Green’ survey on iPads, and duelled within the comment box). Upon returning to the whiteboard from this heated iPad battle, I saw someone had drawn a lovely apple tree and wrote “walk more” above it. Beneath this apple tree, in the gigantic scrawl of a child, “Lo chlyn evyn,” was cryptically scrawled, a comment I think the City should take into deep consideration…
My work as a Summer Research Student has made me realize several important things: we are all with the City of Edmonton, and we all have opinions about Edmonton’s future environmental policy. It’s absolutely essential that these opinions are communicated through pictures and comments on a whiteboard, discussions in a park, and completed surveys. Debate and discussion only help strengthen and shape the environmental policy of the beautiful city of Edmonton, which so many of us call home.
For more information on The Way We Green and how you can participate, visit www.thewaywegreen.ca