*30TH ANNIVERSARY GUEST BLOG POST*
When a position to promote sustainable transportation came up at Green Action Centre (known then as Resource Conservation Manitoba) back in 2006, it felt like it was tailor-made for me. Of course, there were probably plenty of others who felt the same way. But I was fortunate enough to be the one to get the job.
Imagine getting to help people find practical solutions in their workplace, at school or in their home so they can live greener. Every day we get to do this! Sweet.
I think each of us here greatly appreciates being able to work at Green Action Centre, and we recognize that these opportunities do not come along very often. Not to sound too sappy about it, but getting to work in a collaborative environment delivering programs that align perfectly with your personal values and to feel like you’re helping to change the world for the better is a privilege. (Okay, sappy it is.)
Sylvie Hébert, who works on composting and waste reduction with Green Action Centre, also started in April 2006. When thinking back on significant moments of the past nine years with the organization, she thinks of our name change in 2010.
“This meant a new logo, a new website and updating everything. That was a big job for all the staff but was well worth it. With our new website, we can do so much more. It allows us to manage our own web content – notably our blog and events page – which permits us to quickly update and add information.
Our name, Green Action Centre, describes well what we do. I remember when our name was Resource Conservation Manitoba that the first thing I’d tell people who didn’t know us was, ‘We are not the government’. I don’t know how many times I had to tell my dad that I worked for a non-profit and not the government!”
For me, I would have to say the most significant moments are connected with the growth of the walking and cycling network in Winnipeg and the tentative introduction of rapid transit. Representing Green Action Centre, I’ve been lucky to be among the countless others who contributed to these improvements. It wasn’t that long ago when these issues weren’t even on the radar of the media or general public. Yes, we still have a long way to go but when I stop to think of the differences between the number of pathways (a few) and bike lanes (zero) in 2006 vs. 2015, not to mention the number of cyclists you see now, I’m impressed. Maybe not gobsmacked but definitely impressed. We’re slowly getting there.
Adding to Sylvie’s thoughts about Green Action Centre’s name change in 2010, I can think of another positive organizational change it brought about. Most people knew us only by our individual programs – Workplace Commuter Options and the Commuter Challenge, Composting, Active and Safe Routes to School, Environmental Speakers Bureau or the Living Green Living Well blog. They might have signed up for the Commuter Challenge at work or attended a backyard composting presentation at their local library branch, or their child had been part of International Walk to School Month or heard a classroom presentation on litterless lunches. But they didn’t know that all these programs were part and parcel of the same organization.
Now we focus our displays (and presentation offerings) to encompass all of what Green Action Centre does, and our programs are starting to cross over even more. We’ve always been collaborative and supportive of each other’s programs but now we seek out opportunities to meld them. For example, one of the biggest barriers cited as a reason not to bike, walk, take the bus or carpool to work is the need to drop off kids at daycare or school. At the same time, we’ve seen the number of kids being driven to school continue to increase. To help parents address this, we recently hosted a panel of parents talking about the practical solutions they’ve found to get their kids walking or biking to school that also allows them to have an active and healthy commute to work or other places. Definitely something we’ll be repeating and taking to more neighbourhoods.
We also appreciate at Green Action Centre that, in some ways, we’re trying to work ourselves out of a job. The more Manitobans that compost, consume less and travel in a healthy way, the less we’re needed. And that’s a good thing!
Happy 30th Anniversary, Green Action Centre!