By Ellen Niemer

When I signed up for the David Suzuki Foundation’s two-day social movement leadership training, I wondered what I was getting myself into. I had to commit an entire weekend from 9 a.m. to 6:30 pm, and I’d already spent two evenings reading the course materials.

When I walked into the Richmond, B.C room that Saturday morning, I felt some trepidation. I was one of the first eight Canadians to learn about the Blue Dot campaign.

We began by sharing names, hometowns, parents’ occupations and what we hoped to get out of the training. One group member half-jokingly said he wished we’d meet David Suzuki (a dream we all secretly shared).

Blue Dot 1

During those two intense days, I discovered we also all share a passionate love of nature and a desire to preserve its beauty for our children and grandchildren. We all believe that every Canadian should have the right to a healthy environment — fresh air, clean water, healthy food.

By the time we wrapped up Sunday evening, we were no longer strangers. Empowered by our stories and shared passions, we were now a committed group dedicated to securing the right to a healthy environment for people who live and work in Richmond. We named ourselves Blue Dot 1.

Preserve Canada’s beauty

I grew up in Toronto in the 60s and 70s. My mom, dad and I drove across Canada in our white VW van with a flower design on the tire cover. I was so lucky to see Canada’s natural beauty first-hand.

From the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Cabot Trail to the West Coast Trail, Canada was a vast expanse of trees, rivers, lakes, fields, rocks, mountains, birds and animals. I loved sitting by the campfire, “playing” a badminton racket and singing (badly). I was totally embarrassed when my parents yodelled their way through Yoho Park, but it’s one of my fondest childhood memories.

I want future generations to be able to make special memories of the beautiful Canada I came to know and love.

Right to a healthy environment

That’s why I’m helping the David Suzuki Foundation spread this message: Canadians should have the right to a healthy environment. As an individual, I’ve often felt powerless and questioned my ability to make a difference. But as a member of Blue Dot 1, I’ve learned that when like-minded people tell their stories and share a dream, the energy and passion generated makes each one of us power-full.

Please share your passion for Canada by supporting the Blue Dot campaign. Help ensure that all Canadians have the right to a healthy environment — fresh air, clean water and healthy food. Together, we can change history and preserve Canada’s beauty for future healthy generations.

(And yes, we did meet David Suzuki!)

(Image credit: Shaun Daniel)