Event: Dialogues and Action for Earth Summit 2012: We Canada Tour Vancouver

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 18:00 to 20:00
Event Description: 

Starting in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, and touring all the way to Vancouver, British Columbia, youth leaders and sustainability veterans brought communities together to discuss the role of Canadians at the Earth Summit 2012 (United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20).

In the last two months, in each city, interactive lectures were held in universities, elementary schools, middle schools and high schools with close to 8000 Canadians participating. This a unique opportunity for Vancouverites to learn about the Earth Summit 2012, to participate in dialogues that will be compiled  in a report and presented at the conference, and to take action towards sustainability.

The goal of the tour is to empower civil society by offering an analysis of current trends in sustainable development and to hold the microphone to Canadian voices as the world accelerates to the Earth Summit 2012.

SFU Harbour Centre, Vancouver
March 27th 2012 | Time: 6pm - 8pm | Room: Segal Hall

Severn Cullis-Suzuki started the Environmental Children's Organization at the age of nine. In 1992 at the UN Earth Summit 2012, she delivered a powerful speech that garnered worldwide attention. She developed 'the Skyfish Project', brought the 'Recognition of Responsibility' to the 2002 UN World Summit on Sustainable Development and she was on the Secretary General Kofi Annan's Special Advisory Panel. Severn currently hosts the APTN series Samaqan Water Stories. She is a board member of the David Suzuki Foundation and the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society, a Spark for the Girls Action Foundation, and a We Canada Champion for the Earth Summit 2012. Ms. Cullis-Suzuki will address the dialogue participants through a video conference from Haida Gwaii.
Aleksandra Nasteska is the co-founder of We Canada. The Macedonian native first became outspoken in the women’s rights movement at the age of fourteen. Her career in media began as a correspondent for youth culture shows on the national network. She was the creator of Vancouver Heartbeat, a multimedia project profiling environmental and social justice leaders, and Youth Steering Committee Member at the United Nations International Children and Youth Conference - Tunza 2011. 
"As Canadians we have a legacy dating back to the Earth Summit 1992. It is Canadians who led the world in sustainable development. Today we are obstructionists, not leaders, on the global stage. Civil society was not consulted in the development of the official Canadian position for Rio+20. We are taking matters into our hands now. The people of this world need us to participate in progressive thinking, collaboration and action to ensure equity, and transition towards a green economy. We can't keep turning our back on the world. We won't."
Vanessa Timmer is an advisor to the Canadian Earth Summit Coalition, We Canada co-founder and an Executive Director of the One Earth Initiative Society. She holds a PhD in Environmental Change and Management. She is a co-host of “The Sustainable Region” TV show, and teaches, writes and speaks about sustainability, systems thinking, social change and governance. 

Kathryn Harrison is Professor of Political Science. She has a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Western Ontario, Master's degree Political Science from MIT, and a PhD in Political Science from UBC. Dr. Harrison pursues two strands of research: the first employs comparative analysis to understand why governments adopt the policies they do; the second evaluates the efficacy of alternative policy instruments.

Sasha Caldera is a Simon Fraser University (SFU) alumnus and holds a degree in Political Science and an extended minor in Economics. Sasha is currently pushing SFU in becoming a Fair Trade Campus. Sasha co-founded Fair Trade Vancouver, a NGO which transformed the City of Vancouver into Canada’s first major Fair Trade City. Sasha chaired a national working group with the Canadian Earth Summit Coalition tasked with reforming Canada’s Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS).  

In difficult economic times, our collective attention has seemingly shifted away from environmental and social concerns. The government of Canada has seized this opportunity to firmly place environment, climate, and sustainability concerns on a back-burner, despite the continued demonstration by many Canadians that we do care about these issues. Sustainable development is about more than just environmental protection; it is also about creating meaningful and equitable lifestyles for everyone. 

In comparison with past Earth Summits, our government did not hold consultations with Canadians to provide input on what our country’s priority for the Earth Summit 2012. Canadian voices need to be brought back into focus. What do we want our future to be?

We Canada is a nation-wide civil society movement for Canadian leadership for sustainable development at the Earth Summit 2012. Founded and run by more than fifty young adult and veteran sustainability advocates from across the country, who are volunteering their time, We Canada creates an enabling platform for civil society participation in the Earth Summit 2012’s processes.

We are about spreading knowledge and empowering people to make the change in their own lives and participate in systemic change. We foster dialogue and consultation among the public, responsible business networks and NGOs. We have forged a nation-wide civil society coalition and are developing relationships with similar initiatives in other countries. We are working to make the upcoming Earth Summit 2012 the tipping point for the sustainability movement.
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development will be held in June of 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Conference is milestone commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Rio Earth Summit.
The Rio Earth Summit was one of the largest gatherings of heads of state, civil society leaders, individuals and organizations in human history. These stakeholders met with the purpose of charting a course for a more sustainable future. From the Summit emerged agreements, most notably Agenda 21, which began the creation of a framework for developing global, national, and regional plans for sustainability. The Rio Earth Summit has since stood as an example of what is possible when governments and civil society work together.