"After I moved to Toronto in the early 2000’s, I was really missing the simplicity of life in Northwestern Ontario. When I was young, my parents used to take my brother, sister and I up to camp on remote islands on Crownland. We would portage into lakes and spend time swimming and running around, finding fox dens and collecting crayfish. We always brought food from my parent’s garden and caught fish to eat. When I was young, I never imagined that this wasn’t how every Canadian kid lived.
In Toronto, I started getting involved in community gardening to be outside and connected to the earth. I was on the steering committee for the Christie Pits Community Garden and helped to build it. I had a backyard and was able to grow some of my own food. I think it’s natural for people to want to find a way to go home as they get older. I will always feel such a strong connection to the land and the water back home. I dream of it all the time. I think my strong connection to my home in the North is what has made me connected to environmental issues and sustainability.
Most of the work I’m doing right now to make an impact is through my current position at Lush Cosmetics as a Sustainability Coordinator, where I work with the rest of our sustainability team to help develop engagement programs, support events and work on sustainability road mapping and target setting for the business. As a mature student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, I’m learning about how to bring more social justice into the work that I currently do and to understand problems from different perspectives.
What really drives me is my desire for people to be more informed about what is really happening, why it’s happening, how it impacts them over time and what they can do about it. I’m interested in the connections and dependencies of environmental sustainability.
I think it’s important to think about what we purchase, the impact it has on the world, and why we think we need it. What type of value does it bring to my life? I am very interested in how healing wounds in us, as people, can positively impact how we engage in social responsibility and benefit the environment and people living in parts of the world that have long been negatively impacted by our consumption and lifestyles in North America. I think the current system is damaging in different ways to everyone.
In order to advance sustainability and environmental justice, we must address the linear economy we’re all part of, some benefitting from more than others. I think it’s important to stay grounded when thinking about problems such as these and to push forward with everyday actions that are tangible and create small changes. I don’t have an answer to these challenges but going back to school is part of my journey to figure out how I can contribute to finding them."
Sustainability Coordinator, Lush Cosmetics
Student, Faculty of Environmental Studies