Small Ideas: $10,000

Description

Science & Policy Exchange (SPE) and Climatable are two charities led by students from universities in Montréal who aim to make a difference in how science can impact society. We both have run successful events in the past to invite experts to dialogue with the public to raise awareness and, with the public's and students' input, think up new approaches to drive better policy-making and improve our society.
We have come together to address the growing problem of excess plastic waste, something that affects our community and the world as a whole, as outlined by the last G7 where Canada pledged to adopt a zero plastic waste charter. Zero waste (ZW) means designing and managing products and processes systematically to reduce waste, where one person’s waste is a resource for something new, creating circular economy. This will build long-term resilience, generate job opportunities, and build a sustainable community.
To bring the community together on this issue, we propose two interactive public forums and a solutions-driven policy café. These events will help empower the public to understand the risks surrounding plastics, make informed choices as plastic consumers, and advocate for change. We will invite municipal leaders to attend and we will communicate a report to the city of Montréal (and through our social media and community networks) shortly after the event to drive change and to support a sustainable environment in our local and global community.
Public forum on Oceans and Plastics:
Plastic waste not only harms ecosystems and our health, in the form of large plastics floating in the ocean and through their breakdown into microplastics, but also negatively impacts our economy and society- directly by increasing waste management costs, and indirectly through loss of revenue to industries like tourism, fishing and shipping in our communities. However, creating policies to achieve Canada's zero plastic goals can be tricky since there are many stakeholders and jurisdictions involved. For this forum, we will invite Dr. Ken Drouillard (Canada Research Chair in Aquatic In Situ Bioenergetics), Louie Porta (Vice-President Operations and Projects, Oceans North), and Dr. Deborah Curran (Acting Executive Director, Environmental Law Centre, University of Victoria).
Public forum on a Zero Waste City:
What are the challenges and opportunities for transforming a city into a ZW city to benefit both the quality of life and help reduce ecological footprint? Can a ZW city reap substantial socio-economic benefits? Can it build community capacity, support marginalized communities, and create new job opportunities especially for those who face greater barriers to employment? What kind of policies can cities implement and relieve the local taxpayers from the burden of waste management? How can the city overcome daunting barriers of public perception and inform them about taking lead on recycling and waste reduction? Developing such policies will also require building partnerships with businesses to encourage them to develop ZW products. We will invite Dr. Stephanie Cairns (Director of Cities and Communities, Smart Prosperity Institute), Steven Guilbeault (Co-founder of Équiterre), and Danielle Lussier (Director, Bureau du développement durable, Ville de Montréal).
SPE-Climatable Café: Developing a Zero Waste Montréal:
The Café will provide a meeting space for community members to gather and discuss possible avenues and generate direct actionable steps for the city of Montréal and the municipal governments to develop a ZW strategy. Both organizations have successfully run cafés to develop municipal solutions to combat climate change. SPE has also run a highly successful café on overcoming gender barriers in science.
As two charities led by students, we rely on support from our community to run such events, and to engage the public in matters of science, policy and society. We thank the organizers at Canada Helps for this great initiative.

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MONTRÉAL, QC
MONTRÉAL, QC

Science & Policy Exchange

Location: Montreal