On Thursday March 31st, we launched our second Little by Little Campaign in recognition of climate change and environmental protection. The net proceeds from this campaign are being donated to our charitable partners ALUS, Antler River Rally, and ReForest London.
McCabe had the honour of hosting a discussion of environmental protection with Bryan Gilvesy, CEO of ALUS and owner of Y U Ranch; Tom Cull, co-founder and director of Antler River Rally; and Dean Sheppard, executive director of ReForest London. These three individuals have all lived admirable and dedicated lives towards protecting the environment.
Bryan, a long time farmer and land steward, began the discussion by speaking about his journey to joining ALUS. When searching for financial assistance to protect the waterways around his ranch, Bryan could only find support for remediation instead of protection, which he didn’t believe was the best approach. This led him to explore ALUS as it engages with farmers and ranchers to produce more natural environments that are beneficial for all communities and works to make the world a better place. Dean then stated that a large part of being involved with environmental protection has to do with having an experience that connects you to nature. For him, this was growing up in nature as a boy scout. ReForest London has two main focuses: the first is planting and having more trees in the city of London, with the second focus on building London’s first environmental and sustainability center. Tom shared his experience living in London, and being unable to ignore the build up of garbage along the Thames River, was inspired to start an initiative to clean up the river. This has now grown to include hundreds of Londoners participating in river clean ups annually. Tom’s hands-on initiative helps the community connect and redefine their relationship with the living world.
Within this discussion of environmental protection and the climate crisis, Bryan, Dean and Tom brought attention to the various effects of climate change we are witnessing across Ontario today. Biodiversity loss is a critical concern for the environment and puts our own species at risk. In Ontario, London is part of the most diverse ecoregion in terms of flora and fauna, but is also the most imperiled due to the amount of habitat loss it has suffered from areas being transitioned to agricultural and suburban land uses. Additionally, issues relating to the ongoing global pandemic, heat waves, flooding, deforestation and environmental degradation all impact our overall environmental and human health. The ongoing climate crisis is far reaching and requires everyone’s attention at an individual and systemic level to make meaningful change possible.
In order for improvement and change to occur, everyone needs to be included in the conversation on the climate crisis. The issue of sustainability is large and touches everyone’s lives, therefore, everyone must be involved in the creation of the solution. Feeling overwhelmed about the climate crisis is a persistent issue, but our panelists all showed hope and optimism for the future as everyone can do their part in creating change.
On an individual level, Bryan, Dean, and Tom suggested being proactive such as helping with a protection project or a clean up initiative, creating a small garden to help attract native pollinators, connecting with organizations like the London Environmental Network, or becoming more conscious of personal impacts through purchasing and lifestyle choices. On the corporate level, companies can take action to address the climate crisis as well. Bryan spoke of ALUS’ program, The New Acre Project, which helps companies achieve sustainability objectives by investing in environmental outcomes on the land throughout ALUS’ network. Dean encouraged organizations to participate in employee engagement days by volunteering as a team, working with programs such as Green Economy London, which is a business focused initiative aimed to help companies reduce their carbon footprint and become better environmental stewards. Whereas Tom encouraged individuals to approach their management team with suggestions of improvements towards sustainability and environmentally beneficial mandates.
Through the adoption of these actions and the support of organizations like ReForest London, ALUS & Antler River Rally, there is great hope for what the future holds. Younger generations are making their values known and their passion to preserve our natural world is contagious. To help us continue with this journey, we simply need to try our best. As Dean summarized, “we don’t need 10% of the world to be perfect environmentalists, we need 90% of the world being imperfect environmentalists.” Together, we can create a climate for change!
As a B Corp Certified company, McCabe strives towards being environmentally and socially responsible and was grateful to have hosted Bryan, Dean and Tom in this important conversation on the climate crisis. If you were unable to attend our event, you can listen to the recording of our panel discussion below!
Our Make Every Day Earth Day shirt is available for sale to support ALUS, Antler River Rally & ReForest London. Get yours in time for Earth Day by ordering here!