Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake is hosting a unique opportunity to explore local issues of social justice and environmental sustainability on April 21.
The Awakening the Dreamer; Changing the Dream Symposium is a video symposium developed by the Pachamama Alliance as a tool for helping communities explore environmental sustainability, social justice and spiritual fulfillment in the face of pressing global socioeconomic and environmental crises, says Jay Goddard, TRU social service programs co-ordinator.
“The symposium confronts the current state of the world, examines how we got here and most importantly looks at possible futures and how we can begin to work to create a sustainable and socially just future,” Goddard says. “To be sure, the film and discussion presents a frank and realistic picture of the current state of the world.”
“It fully acknowledges that we have surpassed the limits of our ability to sustain our natural environment under our current economic, social and political structures but it also provides a wonderfully positive vision of hope that we can begin to change many things that will help us attain a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.”
He says the event began when faculty at TRU, members of the local Conservation Society, the Food Policy Council and concerned local citizens came together to view the film portion of the symposium and felt there was a need to catalyze the local community around these important issues.
The symposium is a powerful and transformative experience for participants as it attempts to awaken in people a sense of what environmentalist and author Paul Hawken terms, “blessed unrest” – a state of awareness that leaves people aware of the urgency of the problems but also connected to hopeful possibilities for change. Committee members who have watched in and participated in the symposium have said it is an excellent tool for sharpening awareness and moving people on to action, Goddard says. Because the ultimate goal of the symposium is to foster greater involvement and engagement with social and environmental issues, this event is paired with an afternoon sustainability forum where local environmental and social organizations and local and regional experts will hold discussions and share information about projects and local issues.
Participants will be invited to learn more about how they can become involved in supporting local initiatives, learn to be green consumers, create greater awareness, influence decision makers and feel empowered to begin to work towards change. One of the invited speakers is Tom Owen, Thompson Rivers University’s Director of Sustainability who will speak about ways that people can begin to take steps to influence change at the local and global level.
The day will culminate with an evening of entertainment and a Dance featuring a performance by the local act Drum & Bell Tower. The symposium starts at 9:30 a.m. (registration and networking begins at 8:30 a.m.) and will be followed by the forum in the afternoon beginning at 1:30 p.m.
The day events are free, however, donations are gladly accepted as the event is entirely put on by volunteers and this will help offset some of the costs.