On April 18th, more than 200 delegates from every secondary school in the district and from many surrounding municipalities, poured into Sir Winston Churchill Secondary on their pro-d day. They came to engage with one another around sustainability and learn how to effectively promote it in their schools. Re-rooting Sustainability, the fourth annual VSB sustainability conference, is completely student-led.
The formal part of the day began with four keynote speeches. The Hon. Judith Guichon, Lt. Governor of British Columbia, outlined her "Stewards of the Future" initiative, a youth programme based on what she called her three R s - respect, relationships and responsibility. Climate Justice Activist and UN Delegate Anjali Appaduri explained some of the complex connections between climate change and issues of social justice. Next up were wildlife conservationist Allison Pritchard, the Loran Scholar in 2014, and poet and Arts in the Park Festival director Angelica Poversky.
Students had a chance to mingle with the Hon. Judith Guichon, Lt. Governor of British Columbia.
After a break and a snack of fresh fruit, delegates chose from a series of 13 workshops. Topics ranged from "Exploring the Culture of Food Waste" to "Climate Change vs. Capitalism" and "Barriers to Getting Outside." Another important component of the conference was the extensive NGO Fair, a great place for networking. Twenty-four groups hosted booths in the cafeteria, including Amnesty International, EMBARK Sustainability, Social Diversity for Children and Pacific Wild.
All these terrific speakers and presentations were pulled together by a committee made up of students from Churchill, Hamber, Stratford Hall, Byng and Prince of Wales. The group has been working on the conference since September. They had encouragement and logistical support from teachers, VSB staff and the Wild About Vancouver Outdoor Education Festival, but it was the committee's hard work that brought everyone together.
Students get excited about sustainability