Powerful women, forgotten skills, and lost connections.

Posted on March 10, 2018

Today (March 9, 2018), I joined more than 200 people at Mount Royal University for the first day of this year’s Alberta EcoTrust Environmental Gathering. I had the pleasure of listening to Minister Shannon Phillips and Dr. Alex Bruton make bold statements about the environment, about innovation, about how we learn, and how we as Albertans can get together to inspire positive action.
But it was Rajan Rathnavalu from Newo Global Energy who stole the show for me. He was a calm, welcoming presenter during his Lightning Talk, and carried that energy into his breakout session a short while later.
With very few powerpoint slides and whole lot of heart, Rajan lead us through his story and how Newo came to be. We talked about wahkohtowin - a Cree word meaning kinship and connectedness. 
And Mr. Rathnavalu showed a slide of a lake in an area of Alberta where companies where submitting applications for fracking sites. “If the people love this lake, they will protect it.” Simple, yet profound words.
I carried those words with me for the day, returning to them time and again. I wouldn’t protect a chair - even a great chair - because it’s just a tool. Tools have a useful life - we use them, we receive benefit from them. And then we don’t. Then the tool is gone. Even if I liked the tool, it’s inevitable - the tool will cease.
And I wonder, how many people consider the earth - our home - to be a tool. We take what we need to survive, what we want for our pleasure, and then ….. Maybe we need to consider that Earth is more than a tool.
We’ve lost our connection. As we gained new fibre connections to feed us more digital content, we’ve lost our natural connections to people and planet. And we need to get reconnected.
And with our lost connection, we’ve also forgotten some important skills. We are facing food shortages, expanding landfills, and climate change - and many of us don’t know how to shop, how to cook, or how to preserve our food - so we buy processed and fast food. We don’t know how to repair our things, and so we buy new every time. We learned how to have a whole conversation with GIFs, but we can’t grow a tomato or fix a broken zipper.
In 2018, we call it living sustainably when we are able to limit our impacts. Fifty years ago, it was just called living.
And that brings me to powerful women, in honour of International Women’s Day. There are incredible, strong women who have always been there for us. At Green Calgary, we share time, space and knowledge with Christie, Gabriela, Stephanie, Deb, Raine, Ghita, and Jennifer. Our board is 50% women, and we collaborate with women from a number of local organizations. On behalf of Green Calgary, I extend my gratitude to the powerful women who are connecting Calgarians to our environment and our planet.
Three of the powerful women we are proud to work with are Donna Balzer, Chelsie Anderson, and Amanda Mitchell. Later this month, Donna and Chelsie will help Calgarians - maybe even you - regain connection and learn forgotten skills when they present Veggie 101 at Green Calgary. I invite you, and all Calgarians, to join Donna and Chelsie to learn how to start with dirt, and end up with a delicious dinner. And next month, Amanda will bring Next Level Sustainability to Green Calgary - teaching us important life skills and reconnecting us to what matters.
If you’d like to learn more, visit GreenTalks.ca
Thanks for reading, be well,
Executive Director