P.E.I. sustainability fair promotes social change, environmental stewardship

Event aimed at ‘making this planet and its people prosperous and sustainable’

There were free seedlings and bulbs for people attending the sustainability fair on Sunday. (John Robertson/CBC)

It was a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon, but warm and friendly inside the Jack Blanchard Family Centre in Charlottetown for the Sustainable Development Fair.

Different government, private and NGO organizations set up displays, booths and interactive elements with the shared focus of working toward a common cause.

“All of the people here share a thing in common and that is that they are committed to the UN’s sustainable development goals,” said Rob Thomson, one of the fair’s organizers.

“That have the aim of making this planet and its people prosperous and sustainable in the idea that it will endure.”

The United Nations released 17 goals in 2015 with 193 countries committing to make changes.

Organizer Rob Thomson said the family-friendly event included foundations, individuals and special interest groups along with private and government organizations. (John Robertson/CBC)

Environmental stewardship was was one of the main three focuses for the event presented by St. Paul’s Church, Thomson said. Economic development and social issues were the other two.

“We are doing a part that is important, even though it may be small, to try to make the environment protected, to try and give a prosperous economy that is fairly shared, and [to have] social justice among people so that there is not instability of society,” he said.

One of the 25 organizations to take part in the sustainable development fair was the City of Charlottetown, focusing on its Integrated Community Sustainability Plan or ICSP.

“One of the themes in the ICSP is people and places,” said Jessica Brown, sustainability outreach coordinator for the City of Charlottetown.

“You really can’t have a sustainable city or a sustainable culture without considering people of all different demographics, genders, races, ages. It is definitely a huge part of sustainability.”

Gender equality was included in the fair’s presentations along with solar and wind power, vegan and vegetarian lifestyles and sustainable food practices.

“Working toward gender equality helps support women and others get the resources that they need in their community, be able to support themselves, live healthy lifestyles, contribute to the economy,” said Kate Dempsey, lead project facilitator with Women’s Network PEI.

“There is research that supports that when gender equality is achieved or strived toward, that some of the other stainable development goals get reached along the way.”

Organizers and exhibitors hope to be a part of another sustainable development fair in the future after the outpouring of community support for this one.

“When we have a lot of people under one roof, it introduces all these organizations to people who may not have known that they are out there and it also broadens our idea of what sustainability encompasses,” Dempsey said.

The UN’s 17 goals are aimed at making a difference in the world by 2030.

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