Regina RCE celebration March 1

The Regina RCE celebration event at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum auditorium, on March 1, started with City Counsellor Fred Clipsham (above) introducing the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan (Honourable Dr. Gordon Barnhart) (below).  He spoke about the importance for education for sustainability, the need to be aware of the impacts of climate change and especially the need for leadership in education for sustainable development.  Very pertinent comments.

Then we heard from Professor Charles Hopkins (forgot to take picture), of the UN University (Canadian representative at York University) speak eloquently about the need for post-secondary education instutions and other non-formal organizations (media) and informal organizations (museums) to use their educational strenths to engage their consitutents in working toward an understanding of sustainable living and put it into practice.  He also pointed out an interesting paradox: the more education one receives the LESS likely that person commits to or practices sustainable living patterns.  This is one of the challenges of an RCE.

Next we heard from Susan Kingsbury (below), Senior Strategies Advisor, Environment Canada, Ottawa.  Susan enthusiastically supported the development of a Saskatchewan RCE and congratulated the RCE Facilitation Group on it's acheivement.  She noted that Saskatchewan is known for it's successes like the show "Corner Gas" (and I might add, "Little Mosque on the Prairie") and now it can add "Saskatchewan RCE" as another example of success.  She recognized the support from Lyle Benko in driving the development of the Saskatchewan RCE and other potential RCE's such as one in Montreal.  Environment Canada plays a supportive role by fostering relationships across Canada.

John Nielson, Minister of Environment (below), spoke next and congratulated the organizers of the RCE.  He welcomed the concept of an RCE as it would compliment the provincial Green Strategy that the government was working on.  The next budget may see some further announcements about the progress of this strategy.  He stressed the need for leadership, especially in the areas of water and energy issues.  The province recently introduced a province-wide electronic equipment recycling program.  The K-12 system will see sustainability in the curicculum.

The next person was Professor Jon Gillies (below) from the Centre for Sustainable Communities at the U of Regina.  Jon spoke to the six research theme areas of the RCE (see elsewhere on this Web site).  He also thanked the many organizations and individuals that played a role so far in the development of an RCE.  Jon also read a message of congratulations from Ralph Goodale M.P. who couldn't attend today's session.

Dr. Glenn Sutter (below) spoke of the role that museums contribute to the conservation and interpretative of living heritage and the formal and informal educational roles they can play in education for sustainable development.  As an example, the Prairie Conservation Action Plan, in which the RSM participates, attempts to help Saskatchewanians make a connection to the prairie.  He also mentioned that the RSM (Royal Saskatchewan Museum) is hosting (starting tonight) the Endangered Species Conference, which is an example of education for sustainable development.

David Walden (below), Secretary-General, Canadian Commission for UNESCO in Ottawa spoke to the overall background about the Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (2005 - 2014) and that the RCE program was one of the initiatives that promised to help meet its goals.  Right now there are three RCE's in Canada (Saskatchewan, Sudbury, Toronto) and eventually there will be a community of a hundred or more RCE's worldwide.  He reminded the audience of the Brundtland Commission report in 1987 that first raised the need for sustainability worldwide.  Educators need to address sustainability in their curriculum, at all levels, including post-secondary education.

After the Lieutenant Governor left ceremoniously, the audience, media and presenters were invited to refreshments in the RSM lobby.  School children were in the lobby engaged in an art work project.