Five ‘Environmental Rights’ Questions with Brandy Burdeniuk

Brandy-Budeniuk.
Photo provided from Ms. Budeniuk’ LinkedIn Profile. 

Brandy Burdeniuk

EcoAmmo/ Principal, BDes, Industrial Design, LEED Accredited Professional Building Design + Construction

Business Development at EcoAmmo

1) What would having constitutional environmental rights (e.g. the right to clean air, clean water, safe food, to access nature, etc.) mean to you, and/or your organization?

“Across the board [constitutional environmental rights] allow for more collective agreement. They would help prevent polarizing the discussion when talking about other environmental issues; we’d all start at the same–

— place. Right now the question is ‘are [environmental rights] even important?’. But once they’d be part of the constitution, it would allow us to get past that first question of importance. We’d never have to preface discussions with whether or not they are important and why [….] we’d just get to talk about solving those environmental issues.”

2) What do you think people in Edmonton can and/or should do to further the cause of environmental rights? (Directly/Indirectly?)

“Have patience. A lot of people are just starting to recognize the importance of environmental rights, whereas [other] people have devoted their whole lives. Right now there is a ‘coming of age’. We need more discussion with Edmonton experts. Edmonton is a huge importer of knowledge and exporter of experts, we have incredible people in the science and humanities side who have actively made [environmental issues] part of their business culture. There were previous conversations that bent towards ‘the environment versus entrepreneurship’. But now you’re seeing more, [both] as an international and local trend, if you want to succeed in business, be it from office culture all the way to pleasing shareholders and eliminating risk, you have to include and address environmental issues. So people should just be patient and keep working towards those goals in whatever way they can.”

3) What are you (or your organization/business/group) doing to further the cause of environmental rights?

“For the last 10 years the business I am a part of, EcoAmmo, has worked to help people see where they can fit environmental improvements in their decisions, projects, etc. The aim of [EcoAmmo] is to move towards greater sustainability….so we come from place where we see environmental rights as important. We create an outlet for change by leading by example to improve where we live. For example, our focus is with ‘green’ building and efficiency. In Edmonton, we expanded the city’s market for green building choices, and so that is how I think we further the cause of environmental rights.”

4) 110 nations around the world recognize their citizens’ right to a healthy environment. Why do you think Canada hasn’t done this yet?

“We [Canadians] think we are so ‘resource rich’ because we see nature all the time. [So] by default we think we already exist in a healthy environment, and think we don’t need the help … —

EcoAmmo oogo provided via twitter: https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/747823365159739396/01SHZl9G.jpg

ecoammo_logo

–I think the Alberta government just started using the words ‘climate change’ about 600 days ago. In the previous conservative government we could not say climate change. But thankfully this has changed, the government is only now addressing the issue. Also, we [the people] are still so polarized in how we talk, and we don’t challenge our government. We don’t see the major challenges that will become more common from an environmental health and wellness issue. We just don’t see it in ‘our backyard’ we haven’t felt it first hand enough yet.”

 5) Would you be willing to sign the ‘Blue Dot Pledge” (*at http://bluedot.ca/join-us/), joining the over 100,000 Canadians, and declare that you “[b]elieve every Canadian deserves the right to a healthy environment”? .

“Yes. Absolutely.”

For more information on the work Ms. Budeniuk does, please visit EcoAmmo’s website at http://www.ecoammo.com. Also, Ms. Budeniuk is currently running for Edmonton city councillor for ward 11. So to stay informed of her campaign, follow her on twitter @votebrandy.

Five ‘Environmental Rights’ Questions with Kelcie Miller-Anderson

Photo Credit: Alberta Oil Magazine: http://www.albertaoilmagazine.com/2016/07/kelcie-miller-anderson/
Photo Credit: Alberta Oil Magazine: http://www.albertaoilmagazine.com/2016/07/kelcie-miller-anderson/

Kelcie Miller-Anderson

Founder at MycoRemedy

Canadas Top 20 Under 20,

Next 36 2016 Cohort

1) What would having constitutional environmental rights (e.g. the right to clean air, clean water, safe food, to access nature, etc.) mean to you, and/or your organization? 

“Access to a healthy environment is something I think that everyone deserves, having constitutional environmental rights are a fantastic first step in making this access a reality for all. I think we as a province, our communities, government, and industry, are already moving in the right direction to securing a healthy and sustainable future for Alberta’s ecosystems,

[and] having these constitutional rights in place are only going to further motivate and drive the creation of new clean technologies, and [improve] our current industries to lessen and ultimately reverse their impacts.”

2) What do you think people in Edmonton can and/or should do to further the cause of environmental rights?

“I think an important first step is to show the value [that] environmental rights have to our community and [the] commitment we have to them.[….] I believe we can show this by actively engaging in sustainable practices and making an effort to focus on being good environmental stewards as a community. If these rights are ever going to be ensured, it’s not going to just be the responsibility of the government, it’s also important for our communities to be actively engaged[.] [I]f we can show we are taking the first step to help secure environmental rights we will be able to lead by example [and] highlight their importance to the government.”

3) What are you (or your organization/business/group) doing to further the cause of environmental rights? (i.e. either directly or indirectly)

“Environmental rights aren’t going to be achieved by governmental regulations alone. Myself and my organization, MycoRemedy, are committed to creating access to healthy ecosystems, by creating new, low­ impact, natural technologies that can remediate and restore polluted soils and environments. Industry plays such an important role in our province, both socially and economically, and its important we are able to support both the industry and the environment at the same time. [The] way to create a prosperous future for Alberta, with a strong economy and healthy environment, is through environmental innovations and solutions that support both industry and ecosystems.”

4) 110 nations around the world recognize their citizens’ right to a healthy environment. Why do you think Canada hasn’t done this yet? (i.e. what do you think are the biggest obstacles in the way?)

“I don’t think [it’s] that Canada as a nation does not recognize or value the right to healthy environment, and I think that perhaps in the future this will come. Canada is ahead of many nations in terms of its environmental regulations set out to —

Photo Credit: MycoRemedy logo taken from LinkedIn website: https://www.linkedin.com/company/sns-technologists/comments?topic=6146154063961612288&type=U&scope=1240063&stype=C&a=CBrH&showModal=true
Photo Credit: MycoRemedy logo taken from: http://www.mycoremedy.com/

 

— protect our environment, however we also have an economy that is very dependent on resources. Although it’s the responsibility of the government to protect our environment, it’s also their responsibility to protect our industry sectors, jobs, and our economy. I think the big challenge at this point is our technology isn’t quite at the point to eliminate and minimize the environmental impacts of industry, but the government is actively encouraging the implementation and development of environmental solutions to green our industries, and I think they have helped us come a long way.”

5) Would you be willing to sign the ‘Blue Dot Pledge”, joining the over 100,000 Canadians, and declare that you “[b]elieve every Canadian deserves the right to a healthy environment”? .

Yes.

You can find out more about Ms. Miller-Anderson’s work at http://www.mycoremedy.com/

~ Jacob Marchel

Five ‘Environmental Rights’ Questions with Sina Kazemi

Sina Kazemi - President of the Environmental Law Students' Association (ELSA)
Sina Kazemi – President of the Environmental Law Students’ Association (ELSA)

1) What would having constitutional environmental rights (e.g. the right to clean air, clean water, safe food, to access nature, etc.) mean to you, and the Environmental Law Students’ Association? 

“Personally, I believe the [constitutional] right to a healthy environment… means that people can expect higher standards with respect to pollution, greater action on preserving vital ecosystems, and would provide a means to take legal action against government conduct that affects the environment. Constitutionally-protected environmental rights can also be used alongside Aboriginal rights, [protected under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982], to provide greater protection for Indigenous groups and would be another step towards reconciliation.”

2) What do you think people in Edmonton can and/or should do to further the cause of environmental rights?

“I think the best way to further the cause of environmental rights is by joining a movement to voice your support and take action. For example, the City of Edmonton currently has not passed a declaration supporting the right to a healthy environment, so joining a movement such as BlueDot to influence Edmonton City Council to pass a declaration would be one way to take action. In addition, encouraging friends, family and other individuals in your community to write to their City Councillor, MLA, and MP in support of environmental rights would go a long way towards informing decision-makers that this issue is important to Canadians.”

3) What are you and ELSA doing to further the cause of environmental rights? 

ELSA Official Logo - Credit: ELSA Facebook Profile Photo
ELSA Official Logo – Credit: ELSA Facebook Profile Photo

“Our organization, the Environmental Law Students Association (ELSA), is working on several new initiatives […]. For example, we are currently in the process of helping to create an environmental law clinic at the University of Alberta. A clinic such as this would allow law students, under the supervision of a lawyer, to assist members of the public with environmental legal issues. We are also in the early stages of launching a divestment campaign, to encourage the University of Alberta to divest from fossil fuels.”

4) 110 nations around the world recognize their citizens’ right to a healthy environment. Why do you think Canada hasn’t done this yet? 

“There are two methods to get Canada to recognize the right to a healthy environment, each presenting unique obstacles. An amendment of Canada’s Constitution, which the BlueDot campaign is aiming to achieve, is extremely difficult to do with many political factors to consider. The other way would be through litigation aiming to read in environmental protection with existing provisions of the Constitution, such as section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protecting the right to life, liberty and security of the person. However, this would require a case with the right set of facts and would also be a tremendously expensive endeavour.”

5) Would you be willing to sign the ‘Blue Dot Pledge”, joining the over 100,000 Canadians, and declare that you “[b]elieve every Canadian deserves the right to a healthy environment”? .

http://bluedot.ca/join-us/

“Absolutely!”

For more information on the Environmental Law Student Association at the University of Alberta please visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Environmental-Law-Students-Association-ELSA-University-of-Alberta-118051618259211/

~ Jacob Marchel