Environmental studies students received over 200 signatures from students to create a right for clean air, water and food in the Canadian Constitution.
The booth was set up in the Student Commons, on Feb. 9. The group sported 10 tree t-shirt to attract the eye of students who knew about the brand who planted trees with every shirt sold. The students called themselves Earth Allies and are comprised mostly of first-year students in the program. The students hope to present the petition to Ottawa city council.
Every signature would help with the Blue Dot Movement- which is an initiative created by The David Suzuki foundation. The movement would put Canada on the map with more than 110 countries who already have the right to clean air, water and food.
“I don’t know if people care enough – about the environment – yet,” Tanya Sobrinho said, who is another member of the group. She said that First Nations communities across Canada have faced undrinkable water for over 20 years.
“That is so wrong,” she said.
It makes her angry when she thinks about the communities and how the country has had little involvement to help.
“I recently learned that a healthy environment was not in our Constitution,” said Shay Escander, who is one of the members on Earth Allies. “And I thought, it’s such a basic thing and that it should be.”
Escander said that the environment plays a role in our economy and social workings of the planet. COP21 in Paris was a good example of our country and the world’s commitment to a healthier environment, she said.
The best thing a student can do is engage in discussion with each other about the problems in the environment, said environmental studies teacher Jay Smith. He said that not many people are aware that Canadians do not have the right to clean air, water and food.
“These are things we need for us to prosper and to have a prosperous society,” said Mark Brooks, who is another teacher in the program.
Environmental studies teachers encouraged the group’s creation and encourage them to become more involved in grass roots projects. The Blue Dot Movement was a cause that Earth Allies chose on their own
Apart from conversation, Smith said students could be aware of their daily habits, from what they buy, to the impacts they have with what they buy. People who want to do more can take mock-up letters the group has to their area’s MP to spread the message.
There are also a variety of other environmental issues that need more light, and can be accessed at the David Suzuki Foundation’s website. The group will continue to ask for signatures until mid-March, when they submit them to the council.