Diversity Research Report Earth Day Canada by alicejenny


research report
July 2012

            Funding for Earth Day Canada’s Diversity Research Project was generously provided by
            TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.
table of contents
ExEcutivE Summary .......................................................................................................................................................................... 1

SEction 1 — introduction ............................................................................................................................................................ 3
           Diversity Project Overview ................................................................................................................................................................................... 3

SEction 2a — Primary rESEarch FindingS (SurvEy, community dialoguES) .............................................. 7
           Connections to the Environment ....................................................................................................................................................................... 7

           Expressions of Responsibility & Caring for the Environment .................................................................................................................10

           Exploring Environmental Issues of Concern.................................................................................................................................................19

           Learning about the Environment .....................................................................................................................................................................26

           Initiatives to Further Engage Diverse Communities..................................................................................................................................31

           Communicating with & Reaching Diverse Communities ........................................................................................................................43

SEction 2B — Primary rESEarch FindingS (lEadErS round taBlE) .................................................................. 51
           Leaders Assessed Driving & Restraining Forces Affecting Environmental Engagement .............................................................51

           Leaders Identified their Needs ..........................................................................................................................................................................54

SEction 3 — SEcondary rESEarch FindingS (intErviEwS and litEraturE rEviEw)................................ 56
           What are Diversity & Inclusion?.........................................................................................................................................................................56

           Why are Diversity & Inclusion Important? .....................................................................................................................................................57

           What does Diversity & Inclusion Look Like in Action? ..............................................................................................................................58

SEction 4 — BESt PrinciPlES & BESt PracticE rEcommEndationS ..................................................................... 61
           Introduction .............................................................................................................................................................................................................61

           Best Principles .........................................................................................................................................................................................................61

           Best Practices in Organizational Development for Diversity & Inclusion ..........................................................................................64

           Best Practice Recommendations in Reaching Diverse Communities .................................................................................................67

           Best Practice Recommendations for Engaging Diverse Communities ...............................................................................................73

SEction 5 — concluSion ............................................................................................................................................................... 81

SEction 6 — rEFErEncES................................................................................................................................................................. 83

aPPEndix 1 — community PartnErS involvEd in thE community dialoguES .......................................... 84

diversity research report 2012                                                                                                                                                                                                        i
     Table 1 — Demographic data for community dialogues............................................................................................................................ 5

     Table 2 — Demographic data for surveys......................................................................................................................................................... 5

     Table 3 — Top six of 23 environmental activities for all communities .................................................................................................10

     Table 4 — Rating two community-based environmental activities for all communities ..............................................................11

     Table 5 — Drivers of environmental actions for all communities ..........................................................................................................11

     Table 6 — Top six of 23 environmental activities by Chinese respondents .......................................................................................12

     Table 7 — Drivers of environmental actions by Chinese respondents ................................................................................................14

     Table 8 — Top six of 23 environmental activities by Hispanic respondents ......................................................................................15

     Table 9 — Drivers of environmental actions by Hispanic respondents ...............................................................................................16

     Table 10 — Top six of 23 environmental activities by South Asian respondents .............................................................................17

     Table 11 — Drivers of environmental actions by South Asian respondents ......................................................................................18

     Table 12 — Level of concern for the environment for all communities ..............................................................................................19

     Table 13 — Top five environmental issues of concern for all communities .......................................................................................19

     Table 14 — Issues of importance for all communities ...............................................................................................................................20

     Table 15 — Top three concerns about the impact of environmental issues by Chinese respondents ....................................21

     Table 16 — Top three concerns about the impact of environmental issues by Hispanic respondents ...................................23

     Table 17 — Top three concerns about the impact of environmental issues by South Asian respondents ............................25

     Table 18 — Interest in learning about environmental issues for all communities ..........................................................................27

     Table 19 — Ways of learning about the environment for all communities ........................................................................................27

     Table 20 — Interest in participating in environmental initiatives for all communities and by each community ................32

     Table 21 — Interest in participating in 10 environmental activities for all communities .............................................................32

     Table 22 — Factors that increase likelihood of engagement for all communities ..........................................................................33

     Table 23 — Interest in participating in 10 environmental activities by Chinese respondents....................................................34

     Table 24 — Top six of nine factors that increase the likelihood of engagement by Chinese respondents ............................35

     Table 25 — Interest in participating in 10 environmental activities by Hispanic respondents ..................................................38

     Table 26 — Top six of nine factors that increase the likelihood of engagement by Hispanic respondents...........................39

     Table 27 — Interest in participating in 10 environmental activities by South Asian respondents............................................41

     Table 28 — Top six of nine factors that increase the likelihood of engagement by South Asian respondents ....................42

     Table 29 — Comfort with receiving information in English for all communities and by each community............................43

     Table 30 — Assessment of language skills for all communities .............................................................................................................43

diversity research report 2012                                                                                                                                                                      ii
     Table 31 — Social media use for all communities .......................................................................................................................................44

     Table 32 — Ways of using social media for all communities ...................................................................................................................44

     Table 33 — Newspapers read by Chinese respondents ............................................................................................................................44

     Table 34 — Best ways to share environmental information with Chinese respondents ...............................................................45

     Table 35 — Newspapers read by Hispanic respondents ...........................................................................................................................47

     Table 36 — Best ways to share environmental information with Hispanic respondents..............................................................47

     Table 37 — Newspapers read by South Asian respondents ....................................................................................................................48

     Table 38 — Best ways to share environmental information with South Asian respondents .......................................................49

     Table 39 — Critical path for internal capacity building for diversity and inclusion.........................................................................64

     Table 40 — Best ways to share environmental information for all communities.............................................................................69

     Table 41 — Five spheres of environmental engagement .........................................................................................................................73

diversity research report 2012                                                                                                                                                             iii
executive summary
Earth Day Canada (EDC) recognizes that the envi-          environmental initiatives and joint programming.
ronmental sector has made progress in its efforts to      These four principles ensure that engagement with
reach and engage mainstream Canadian society in           diverse communities is sustained, authentic and
environmental initiatives. EDC also acknowledges          rooted in shared purpose.
that the sector has been challenged to include the             This report recommends that organizations
environmental knowledge, skills and experiences           undertake internal capacity building and external
of diverse ethno-racial communities in Canada.            relationship building with diverse communities and
As expressed by one of our research participants:         offers a critical path for organizational development
“To be very honest, one of the things that I find chal-   for diversity and inclusion. This critical path can
lenging in being more of an active member within          guide organizations to have aspirational conversa-
the environmental movement is that it is still very       tions around the vision and purpose for engaging
WHITE. As a racialized youth, I don’t feel included       diversity, to cultivate cultures of inclusion and to
and I don’t feel like this is my fight even though        embed diversity and inclusion into their internal
intellectually I know we should all care.” (survey        cultures.
respondent). This research project investigates this           The findings of the research refute the myth
gap as well as opportunities to build knowledge-          that diverse communities are not interested or
sharing networks and collaborative practices that         engaged in environmental initiatives. In fact,
can transform the sector so that it truly reflects the    community members provided insights into how
cultural and ethnic diversity of Canada.                  they could be further engaged in five intersecting
     This report presents the findings of EDC’s Di-       spheres: cultivating connections to the environment,
versity Research Project, including an analysis and       engaging at home, engaging in community initia-
synthesis of primary and secondary research com-          tives, engaging politically, and engaging globally.
ponents . It identifies best principles and practices     Each sphere represents an opportunity for organiza-
which are drawn from the insights, experiences and        tions to deepen and/or broaden the environmental
recommendations of 329 research participants.             engagement of diverse communities in these areas.
Participants included leaders from environmental               Research participants made a compelling case
organizations, community organizations, members           for moving from a stand-alone approach to environ-
of the Chinese, Hispanic and South Asian communi-         mental work to a more holistic and integrated
ties in the Greater Toronto Area, diversity practitio-    approach that is situated in communities. This
ners and communication specialists. The secondary         report recommends incorporating environmental
research also included an on-line review of organi-       initiatives within community development frame-
zational diversity initiatives across Canada as well      works and initiatives. Cross-sectoral partnerships,
as a literature review on the subject.                    capacity building relationships and coalitions are
     These best principle and practice recommenda-        recommended strategies to advance the inter-
tions are intended as a guide for organizations seek-     connected environmental, health, social and eco-
ing to strengthen their capacity to reach and engage      nomic priorities of diverse communities. Implicit
diverse communities in environmental initiatives.         in this recommendation is that organizational ef-
The primary and secondary research surfaced four          forts to engage diverse communities in any of the
key themes that are presented as the best princi-         five spheres are closely tied to building relation-
ples, considered essential to achieving full inclusion    ships with community-based and smaller environ-
of diverse communities in environmental initiatives.      mental organizations.
These principles are: relationships, recognition,              Finally, the report provides direction on how to
reciprocity and relevance. Research participants          better reach and communicate with diverse com-
provided direction on how to translate each of these      munities. Best practices are drawn from inter-
principles into practice and were clear in naming         views with communication specialists, dialogues
these as critical to enhancing their participation in     with community members, survey responses and

diversity research report 2012                                                                               1
conversations with community leaders. There is
a recommendation to reach community members
using English with principles of trans-creation and
to then engage community members in their own
languages. Reaching community members through
web-based resources and a mix of English-language
and community papers is also recommended.
Communication tools and resources that speak to
messages that are universal and broadly relevant
across diverse communities are needed. There is
also a recommendation to structure opportunities
for diverse communities and organizations to use
social media to share environmental information
and profile local initiatives.
     We learned that building diversity and inclusion
requires time and sustained commitment. Many of
the organizations we spoke with emphasized that it
took years of work before they started to really see
the results of their work.

diversity research report 2012                          2
section 1—introDuction
                                                         and recommendations of community members,
                                                         environmental and community leaders, communica-
                                                         tion specialists and diversity practitioners. While
                                                         valuing these insights, we do recognize that many of
proJect overview
Earth Day Canada (EDC), a national environmental         these practices need to be piloted and evaluated as
charity founded in 1990, provides Canadians with         they move from ideas and hopes to program activi-
the practical knowledge and tools they need to           ties. For this reason we reference best practices as
lessen their impact on the environment.                  emerging best practices or as best practice recom-
     In undertaking this research project, EDC           mendations.
recognizes that the environmental sector has
made progress in its efforts to reach and engage
mainstream Canadian society in environmental
initiatives. EDC also acknowledges that the sector
has been challenged to include the environmen-
tal knowledge, skills and experiences of diverse
ethno-racial communities in Canada. This research
project speaks to this gap and to the opportunity to
build knowledge-sharing networks and collabora-
tive practices that can transform the sector so that
it truly reflects the cultural and ethnic diversity of
     EDC initiated this research project to determine
best practices in communications with, and engage-
ment of, diverse communities in environmental
initiatives. The outcomes will support the develop-
ment of communication, program development and
program implementation strategies for community
engagement. The primary research focused mainly
on engaging members and leaders of three focus
communities (Chinese, Hispanic and South Asian
Canadians) in the Greater Toronto Area. Community
needs and priorities around engaging in environ-
mental initiatives were assessed for best practice
recommendations which will determine commu-
nications, partnership-building, and engagement
strategies for diverse audiences. The secondary
research focused on diversity engagement under-
taken by other sectors in Canada to determine best
practices employed by these inclusion initiatives.
     This report presents an analysis and synthesis
of all research components and a presentation of
the findings. The best principles and practices are
grounded in the collective insights, experiences

diversity research report 2012                                                                                  3
Primary research
The primary research was carried out in April and
May, 2012 and included four processes to enumer-
ate and describe the insights and experiences of
community members, leaders and communication
specialists. We have outlined these four processes

EDC’s Diversity Research Project was a unique op-
1. Community Dialogues

portunity to connect around environmental engage-
ment with members of the Chinese, Hispanic and
South Asian communities in the Greater Toronto
Area (GTA). Community dialogues were used to
explore how individuals and communities conceive
of and describe their relationship to the environ-
ment. Specifically, the dialogues inquired into areas
of environmental engagement, environmental issues
of concern, environmental interest areas and pos-
sible methods to deepen and extend environmental
     In total, we met with 148 people through
sixteen community dialogues with members of Chi-
nese, Hispanic and South Asian communities living
in the GTA. This included:
                                                            Given constraints of time, geography and resources,
                                                            along with the rich diversity that exists within each
• Five Chinese community dialogues
                                                            of these three target communities, we recognized
• Six Hispanic community dialogues                          early on that we would not achieve a representative
                                                            sample of these three communities of focus. We did,
• Five South Asian community dialogues.
                                                            however, make intentional choices to limit the scope
                                                            of the research to the GTA and to include newcom-
We began our research by connecting with coali-             ers, youth and seniors in the dialogues. For each
tions and umbrella groups that work specifically            community, we had at least one dialogue with new-
with these three communities of focus; we also met          comers alone and one dialogue with youth alone. The
leaders from community and environmental orga-              Chinese and Hispanic dialogues were in Mandarin
nizations in the GTA. These early meetings were an          and Spanish, though participants could use English
opportunity to share the purpose of the project, to         if they preferred. The South Asian dialogues were in
surface organizational needs from the research and          English only.
to explore possibilities for future collaboration. Out           Table 1 provides a demographic breakdown
of these meetings, ten community organizations and          of the community members we met through the
two environmental organizations agreed to recruit           dialogues. While we made every effort to ensure
participants and host fifteen of sixteen dialogues1.        equal numbers of participants across the three
Each organization invested time and resources in            communities of focus, we had fewer participants
support of this project, highlighting the spirit of         in the Hispanic dialogues. We chose to add a sixth
collaboration that drives so much of the work at the        dialogue with Hispanic adults as a way to address
community level.                                            this imbalance.
1   See Appendix 1 for a full list of community partners.

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Table 1—Demographic DaTa for communiTy Dialogues

                                              ParTiciPanTs by communiTy
                         ToTal # of
                                                                                         men          Women youTh3 senior 4 neW-comers5
                       ParTiciPanTs chinese hisPanic 6 souTh asian

    # of
                            148              53           43               52            49            99         31         24            54

    % of Whole             100%             36%          29%             35%            33%           67%     21%            16%          37%

An electronic and paper survey was designed to                                  electronically. The electronic survey was distributed
2. survey

extend the reach of the research project and to cap-                            through a number of networks and coalitions within
ture quantitative data around key areas of inquiry.                             the three communities of focus. Despite support and
The survey was used in every dialogue as the closing                            effort from community leaders, we were less able
activity as a way to enhance the overall quality of                             to reach members of Hispanic communities: they
findings. Print copies of the survey were available in                          account for nineteen percent of the total surveys.
Chinese (simple), English and Spanish. The electronic                                Table 2 provides a breakdown of key demograph-
version of the survey was in English only.                                      ic indicators of survey respondents.
     In total, 257 surveys were started and 244                                      The findings from the community dialogues
surveys completed, representing a completion rate of                            and surveys are presented in Section 2A. We have
ninety-five percent. Of these 257 surveys, 124 were                             presented findings across all three communities and
completed by participants in the community dia-                                 have also highlighted specific findings within each
logues. The remaining 120 surveys were completed                                community of focus.

Table 2 — Demographic DaTa for surveys

                                       eThno-racial idenTiTy of                       Gender idenTiTy of
                                            resPondenTs7                                 resPondenTs8
                   # of                                                                                                youTh seniors
                                                          souTh       mixed /                                                               comers
                 surveys chinese hisPanic                                          men      Trans        Women

# of
                                                          asian      biracial

                    257          106           48           81           8         100            3         149         84         27         103
% of
                  100%          41%           19%         32%           3%         39%        1%            58%        33%        11%        40%

2    Youth refers to participants between the ages of 15–24.

3    Senior refers to respondents over the age of 60.

4    Newcomers refer to participants who have been in Canada for six years or less.

5    Hispanic participants also self-identified as Spanish speaking peoples, Latino and Latina.

7    Seven respondents did not self-identify ethno-racially and fourteen identified as having ethno-racial identities other than Chinese, Hispanic,
     South-Asian or Mixed/bi-racial. Seven respondents checked more than one ethno-racial identity.

8    Seven respondents did not self-identify their gender. Two respondents checked more than one gender identity.

diversity research report 2012                                                                                                                        5
As a part of the primary research, Earth Day Canada
3. leaDers’ rounD table                                 secondary research
and the Sustainability Network co-hosted a leaders
                                                        overview and
round table. The round table included leaders from
our three communities of focus and leaders of
                                                        The secondary research focused on diversity
environmental initiatives. In total, seventeen lead-    engagement undertaken by other sectors in Canada.
ers participated, representing the environmental        The research explored the types of diversity en-
and community service sectors. We met with three        gagement being undertaken in the government,
other community leaders individually. We used           non-profit and private sectors in order to determine
these meetings to explore:                              the best practices employed by these inclusion
                                                        initiatives. Additionally, we looked at a number of
• Environmental messages, learnings or activities       established and emerging environmental initiatives
  that were a catalyst for environmental engagement.    within diverse communities in the GTA in order to
                                                        learn how they became effective and sustainable.
• Factors/conditions that drive the participation of         We connected with 15 organizations represent-
  diverse communities in environmental initiatives.     ing environmental, community, non-governmental
• Factors/conditions that hinder the participation of   and charitable organizations, an educational institu-
  diverse communities in environmental initiatives.     tion, city and provincial governments and private
                                                        companies. We had 17 face-to-face or phone con-
• The needs of organizational and/or project lead-      versations with individuals from these 15 organiza-
  ers as they work to engage their communities in       tions. We learned how they understood diversity and
  environmental initiatives.                            incorporated diversity and inclusion initiatives, why
                                                        they viewed this work as important, examples of
Section 2B synthesizes the discussions that took        their best practices and the challenges they faced in
place and we have included leaders’ insights as best    doing this work.
practice recommendations in the final section of the         The secondary research also relied on an
report.                                                 on-line review of organizations and a literature
                                                        review from the field of diversity and inclusion.
                                                             A synthesis of findings is presented in Section 3
                                                        and best practice recommendations are in Section 4
We also met with communication specialists who          of this report.
4. CommuniCation interviews

offered perspectives into the role of language,
provided direction on how to work effectively with
communication partners and shared their own best
practices in working with diverse ethno-racial com-
munities. We also asked community members to
share their best thinking on effective and powerful
environmental messages. We interviewed three par-
ticipants who acted as communication specialists
and we received additional communications insights
from a participant with community relations exper-
tise. As well, we included communication questions
in meetings with eight other organizational leaders.
     Their best practice recommendations are in-
cluded in Section 4 of this report.

diversity research report 2012                                                                              6
section 2a—
primary research finDings
(survey, community Dialogues)
In this section we highlight and compare findings       • Conceptual connections that were formed out
from sixteen community dialogues and 244                  of knowing the facts about the environment and
completed surveys with a focus on:                        analyzing the impact of environmental degrada-
                                                          tion on human and animal life.
• Connections to the environment
                                                        There was also a theme of broken connections that
• Expressions of responsibility and caring for the      surfaced in our conversations across our three com-
  environment                                           munities of focus and we began to see that these
• Environmental issues of concern                       ruptures in relationships can be traced to increased
                                                        economic prosperity and geographic shifts in
• Learning about the environment                        the lives of our participants and their families. In
• Initiatives to further engage diverse communities     the dialogues, we often heard descriptions of the
                                                        environmental activities that participants or family
• Communicating with and reaching diverse               members used to do in their countries of origin and
  communities.                                          how in some cases these practices stopped after
                                                        coming to Canada. Participants gave examples of
                                                        visits to the countryside, playing in the rain, grow-
connections to                                          ing vegetables in home gardens and their careful
                                                        conservation of resources as examples of practices
                                                        that changed once in Canada. This change was tied
the environment
This section offers a window into how participants      in some cases to moving from rural to urban com-
understood and described their relationship to the      munities, moving from homes to apartments, having
environment. In our dialogues, we did not specifical-   greater access to basic resources like water and
ly ask participants to describe these relationships.    having less access to transportation.
Instead, we chose to draw this out by exploring their
feelings about the environment, their ways of enjoy-
ing the environment and through the stories they
told about the environment.
     We heard some shared ways of connecting to
the environment across the three communities of
focus. These included:

• Personal relationships with nature that grew out
  of connections to place and memory
• Connections that were rooted in lifestyle
• Connections that were linked to economic neces-
  sity and memories of a time when resources were
  either inadequate or were not easily accessible

diversity research report 2012                                                                              7
chinese ParticiPants                                 learn from this. Right now I live in Scarbor-
shared their connections                             ough and there is a small river and I walk

                                                     —Participant, Chinese Newcomer Dialogue
to the environment                                   along it and I enjoy it.”

                                                     Participant stories surfaced how development and,
ConneCtions through stories

                                                     in some cases, new economic prosperity, disrupted
anD memories

                                                     ways of living. There was some acknowledgment
                                                     that these “environmentally-friendly” practices
“In China, we have the Yellow River, and it

                                                     were occasionally driven more by economic neces-
changes into yellow because of the sand.
                                                     sity than a connection to the natural environment.
Back to the Qing Dynasty the emperor liked
                                                     In some instances, these indirect and circumstantial
to build huge palaces and he ordered his
                                                     connections to the environment were hard to main-
                                                     tain as families and communities left places of origin
officials to cut down all the forests and so

                                                     and became more economically secure over time.
the environment got worse and worse. With

                                                     One participant shared: “When I was a kid in China,
no grass and trees, all the sand went into
                                                     we just did things automatically to save things;
—Participant, Chinese Newcomer Dialogue
the water.”
                                                     we always saved old books, and cans, so I could
                                                     exchange these things to get money.”
Participants remembered how their families used           Participants described what it is like to negoti-
to live, how resources were used and the values      ate principles of sustainability in a world that has
underlying family practices both in China and as     explicit markers of success and wealth. Some partici-
newcomers in Canada. They described the lessons      pants also described their perception of the ways in
they learned from parents and grandparents           which social status was connected to the possession
about living modestly and avoiding wastefulness.     of certain material goods that might include luxury
Ingrained in many of these practices were values     cars and larger homes. In some cases, we heard
of cherishing and conserving resources. For many,    that changing patterns in consumption were also
these memories and stories help to maintain          tied to increased economic prosperity. One partici-
connections to the environment and inform current    pant, here for more than 21 years, described how
practices despite growing economic prosperity and    environmental connections can sometimes “depend
geographic changes. One participant, in Canada a     upon people’s economic backgrounds. [We were]
short while, shared how she “learned from my hus-    poorer back home than here. Here, we enjoy the
band—he taught me how to use the second-hand         convenience. The richness of society makes it easier
things. My husband’s parents had this idea. My       to be wasteful.” Another participant framed this as a
husband uses milk and juice boxes to make toys for   generational difference. She reflected on how older
the children.”                                       generations were more resourceful while younger
                                                     generations are “more like Canadians now” having
                                                     experienced a taste of convenience and access to
                                                     luxury goods. She noted that it is “hard to get people
                                                     to give that up… and ask them to go back.”
ConneCtions anD DisConneCtions
through time anD plaCe

“I remember when I was a child, I went to
primary school and I lived in Beijing and
there was a river around the city, but now
China’s economy has developed at the ex-
pense of the environment. Canada should

diversity research report 2012                                                                           8
hisPanic ParticiPants                                     south asian ParticiPants
shared their connections                                  shared their connections
to the environment                                        to the environment
Changing ConneCtions through                              Changing ConneCtions through
time anD plaCe                                            time anD plaCe

“I come from a place that has three                       “Back home we had less responsibility; we

—Participant, Hispanic Newcomer Dialogue
hundred rivers.”                                          were not married. I remember craving the
                                                          rain, we would run to the roof with the cov-

                                                          —Participant, South Asian Dialogue
                                                          ered terrace—we were pursuing enjoyment.”
“I wonder how long I will be able to see

                                                          We met with two groups of South Asian women
—Participant, Hispanic Dialogue
the trees.”
                                                          living in the GTA and both shared stories about
                                                          the rain. They shared memories of running and
Participants described their changing connections
                                                          dancing in the rain, and celebrating the first rains.
to the environment as they moved from countries
                                                          These stories were told with laughter but also with
of origin to the GTA. They spoke about how in some
                                                          acceptance that these connections were tied to
of their home countries they were not able to fully
                                                          another place. They described their lives in Canada
enjoy the natural surroundings because of civil
                                                          as busy with cooking, cleaning and raising children.
unrest and/or urban development. In coming to the
                                                          One woman ended the conversation by sharing that
GTA, these newcomers said that it was easier to visit
                                                          every so often “if I am in right mood, rain can make
parks and enjoy the green spaces.
                                                          me happy. When the work is done,” she added.
     In one dialogue, we spoke with seniors who
                                                               While reminiscences of the rainy season seem
have been living in Canada for many years. They
                                                          to indicate this was part of another life for these
described the physical changes in the city’s land-
                                                          women, some did describe new connections that
scape as condominiums replaced green spaces.
                                                          include riding a bicycle despite stares from their
They described the benefits that trees offer but also
                                                          neighbours, being energized by a ten-minute walk
accepted that these will not last given the priorities
                                                          and releasing stress in the garden. One woman
of local governments. One participant shared that it
                                                          spoke of the difference it made to move from a
“feels good breathing healthy air produced by trees
                                                          seventeenth-floor apartment to the ground floor.
and natural vegetation but I know the development
                                                          She described being “on the seventeenth floor be-
of condos will destroy that. When condo projects
                                                          fore and not connected at all—there were only cars
are mentioned they are already approved and com-
                                                          on the highway but our new place is lower to the
munities have no say over what goes up.”
                                                          ground and close to the park. I feel more connected.”
     Some participants also described how their
                                                          Participants described different ways in which
experiences with four seasons changed the ways in
                                                          they experienced and enjoyed the four seasons in
which they thought about and connected with the
                                                          Canada. Some women described the joy of bundling
environment in Canada. They described the beauty
                                                          their children and playing in the snow. One partici-
of seeing their environment change through the
                                                          pant recalled: “back home, we don’t have seasons,
seasons but also noted that it took time to adjust to
                                                          so we don’t know the value of the sun, the summer.
the colder temperatures and snow. One participant
                                                          When I first came here, I couldn’t understand why
shared: “When I first arrived, I didn’t like experienc-
                                                          the Canadians were enjoying the summer!’
ing the snow and seeing the bare trees, but once I
understood how essential the change in seasons
was and what it means to the ecosystem, I learned
to appreciate everything.”

diversity research report 2012                                                                               9
Another group described environmental practices in
Canada compared to those in their home countries.
                                                               environmental actions
The group observed that “back home,” environmen-
                                                               for all communities
tal practices were “more lifestyle than intentional
practice because they don’t have the infrastructure
in place.” Participants in this group described how            Community dialogues and survey findings show
                                                               an environmental lifestyle

these home practices have been shared through the              that the three Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle) are
generations even as families moved from India to               widely practiced in all three communities. The most
the Caribbean then to Canada. In Canada, they con-             frequently practiced activities were recycling, reduc-
tinue to plant and cultivate home gardens while also           ing water use, and reusing materials (these three
participating in the formal systems like recycling.            activities were common to all communities). In the
                                                               round table discussion, some leaders observed a
                                                               growing sense and adoption of an “environmental
Some South Asian youth participants described                  lifestyle” in their communities. This lifestyle in-
Common sense ConneCtions

environmental statistics and facts as influencing              cludes daily, home-based activities that fall within
their connection to the environment. This seemed to            the individual’s sphere of influence. This notion of
be grounded in the logic that knowledge translates             an environmental lifestyle could be used to describe
into rational and positive behaviour. One participant          the assembling of the top six environmental actions,
stated: “Why would I want to do something that                 listed in Table 3.
doesn’t have a positive result?” Another participant
went on to add that proof is powerful, valuing prag-
matism and practicality in his approach to sustain-
                                                               Table 3 — Top six of 23 environmenTal
                                                               acTiviTies for all communiTies
                                                               (Rated average out of 4 where 4 = always and 1 =never)

expressions of
responsibility & caring
for the environment
This section explores the ways in which survey
respondents and dialogue participants named their
sense of responsibility and their caring for the envi-
ronment. In the dialogues, participants were asked
to share their reactions to the statement “I feel a
responsibility to care for the environment.” We
followed up by asking them to share how, in their
actions, they show responsibility and caring.
     In this section, we also highlight survey findings for:

• Question 14—Respondents rated how often they
  do 23 activities
• Question 15—Respondents identified the top
  three drivers of their environmental engage-

                                                               While community members were quite engaged in
                                                               environmental aCtivities

                                                               home-based environmental activities, the surveys
                                                               and dialogues showed that engagement in commu-
                                                               nity-based activities is less frequent. This holds true

diversity research report 2012                                                                                          10
across all three communities. Survey respondents
indicated that they sometimes participate in neigh-
                                                             drivers of
bourhood actions and attend talks on environmental
                                                             environmental actions
issues as shown in Table 4 below.
     When we compare current levels of community-
based engagement against interest in participating
                                                             unDerstanDing what Drives

in community-based initiatives, the survey showed            Table 5 highlights the primary drivers for engaging in
                                                             environmental aCtions

that community members were interested in the                environmental practices. Respondents attributed their
very activities they are not currently doing. In Table       environmental actions to a sense of responsibility
4, attending talks and joining neighbourhood actions         they felt for the planet, their community and their
are activities that community members sometimes              families. As well, they were motivated by a desire to
do. This represents an area for extending and/or             do their part to help the environment, and by a notion
deepening the engagement of diverse communities              of citizenship in a global world. Only three percent of
and will be explored in our best practice recommen-          respondents identified city regulations as the reason
dations.                                                     for their actions.

Table 4 — raTing Two communiTy-baseD environmenTal acTiviTies

                              Please raTe hoW ofTen you do The folloWinG acTiviTies.

     communiTy-based environmenTal acTiviTies
                                                             all          chinese     hisPanic  souTh asian
              (raTed averaGe ouT of 4                    resPondenTs    resPondenTs resPondenTs resPondenTs

 Attend talks on environmental issues                        2.18           2.03           2.47            2.29
           Where 4 = alWays and 1 = never)

 Join neighbourhood actions
                                                             2.22           2.24           2.19            2.29
 (community clean up, community garden etc.)

Table 5 — Drivers of environmenTal acTions

                  ThinkinG abouT Those environmenTal acTiviTies ThaT you ofTen or alWays do,
                 Which sTaTemenTs besT exPlain Why you do These ThinGs. choose Three reasons.

  ToP Three drivers of acTions and loWesT driver of acTion          resPonse PercenT          resPonse counT

I have a responsibility to the planet,
                                                                        59.8%                      147
my community and my family

I want to do my part to help the environment                            49.6%                      122

I am doing my part as a global citizen                                  39.8%                       98

I have to do it because of city regulations                              3.3%                        8

diversity research report 2012                                                                                    11
                                                         results for Chinese respondents show that the most
                                                         frequently practiced activities included recycling,
exploring notions of

This sense of personal responsibility translated         reducing water, using energy efficient light bulbs,
environmental responsibility

into home-based actions for the majority of dia-         reusing household materials, using the green bin
logue participants, and in some cases it extended        and safe disposal of batteries and e-waste.
further to include an environmental responsibil-              One participant described these actions as a
ity to communities and neighbourhoods. Through           way to assume individual and personal responsibil-
participants’ explorations of their engagement, we       ity within the home and with family. They shared
saw a progression from personal responsibility to        that as “an individual person I am responsible. I
social responsibility for shared community spaces        do minor things like recycling or I also educate my
to political responsibility expressed as activism.       child about the environment. We can spread the
Personal responsibility was often framed as a mini-      ideas about the environment. We can express our
mum standard of behaviour practiced by most with         opinion at home.” Another participant cited the idea
very few dialogue participants engaged already as        of intentionality by stressing the need to “make
activists. There were some conversations that high-      conscious decisions on what you buy and use. For
lighted participant dissatisfaction with political and   example, recyclable/reusable bottles, buy local foods
business trends that they understood to be harmful       from local farmers.”
to the environment and their own quality of life.
Participants were not always sure of how to address
these concerns.
                                                         Table 6 —Top six of 23 environmenTal
                                                         acTiviTies by chinese responDenTs
                                                         (Rated average out of 4 where 4 = always and 1=never)
chinese exPressions of
resPonsibility and caring
for the environment
taking responsibility for
living sustainably

“Taking responsibility, I think we
can start from our daily lives. We can recycle
paper, bottles and batteries. Right now I live
in an apartment—we can use the bins. I am
impressed by a slogan I saw in America:
‘Bring back everything, just leave your

—Participant, Chinese Newcomer Dialogue
footprint here.’ ”

Participants described the responsibility that they
felt over their own actions, for their choices and       Inevitably, in every group, there was one person
within their spheres of influence, which included        who raised the question of the real value of individ-
family and sometimes extended to friends. This           ual actions. We had a youth participant observe that
responsibility was most often expressed through          they were “not sure if I directly impact it that much.
support for the three Rs. Consistent with find-          It’s like I recycle but [I am] not sure what happens…”
ings across all three communities of focus, survey       One person suggested that governments ought to

diversity research report 2012                                                                                   12
bear more responsibility given that industries cause      environmental activists. One participant described
the most damage and another participant talked            that she saw herself as an activist when she was
about a collective responsibility that must be shared     young but over time she became more interested in
by a larger community, including businesses.              social justice issues and has come to see environ-
                                                          mental action as a daily responsibility. She explained
                                                          that “issues such as LGBT or Asian issues were not
                                                          as worked on as much” as a reason for engaging in
                                                          these areas.
taking responsibility while negotiating

                                                               Another first generation participant chose to
environmental aCtivism

                                                          identify as an environmentalist but on her own
“In a way, environment is important to me.
                                                          terms. “I see a value in going into the environment
                                                          even if I don’t always like going into nature. Not
I feel bad when I see smog or garbage, but

                                                          unlike feminism—the environment has been driven
I don’t necessarily feel like I am an activist.

                                                          by white middle-class individuals.” This same
I do feel that we have a responsibility. The

                                                          participant described her primary point of interest
things that you can contribute are super
                                                          as the convergence between social justice issues and
easy—it’s not that hard to make a differ-
                                                          environmental justice. When asked what this meant,
—Participant, Chinese Dialogue                            she described this place of intersection as a way to
ence—like walking or cycling.”

                                                          recognize and address the reality that economically
One group of young professional Chinese participants      poor communities here in Canada and in the global
had an interesting conversation around environ-           South disproportionately bear the burden of envi-
mental activism. Participants distinguished everyday      ronmental degradation.
environmental actions from environmental activism.
These home-based practices, while valued, were not
regarded as political or as an expression of activism.
One young adult participant shared: “I feel respon-
                                                          unDerstanDing what Drives

sible for my own personal footprint. Things like          Table 7 illustrates that Chinese participants’ envi-
                                                          responsibility anD Caring

composting, waste diversion, I may try but I haven’t      ronmental practices were informed by a feeling of
taken an actual step towards activism. For me, it’s       responsibility to the planet, to their communities
about living sustainability…”                             and to their families. The desire to do one’s part to
      Another participant further articulated a pro-      help the environment was also a strong driver of
gression of actions from the everyday to the politi-      environmental actions. Participants were also mo-
cal to help conceptualize generational differences.       tivated by understandings of global citizenship and
She speculated, “If I was to think of my mom, for         common sense practice.
my parents’ generation, for lots of immigrants—by
the nature of your economic circumstances, you are
very environmental anyway. But you don’t really
                                                          See table 7 on the following page.

turn this into a political step. But for my generation,
it’s not that hard to be more politically engaged.”
While there was agreement on living sustainably
and the need for personal responsibility, generally,
participants did not characterize themselves as

diversity research report 2012                                                                                13
Table 7 — Drivers of environmenTal acTions by chinese responDenTs

                  ThinkinG abouT Those environmenTal acTiviTies ThaT you ofTen or alWays do,
                 Which sTaTemenTs besT exPlain Why you do These ThinGs. choose Three reasons.

I have a responsibility to the planet, my community and my family                           57.7%
                                 ansWer oPTions                                        resPonse PercenT

I want to do my part to help the environment                                                51.9%

I am doing my part as a global citizen                                                      31.7%

It just makes sense                                                                         28.8%

It’s good for me and my family’s health                                                     24.0%

It makes me feel good                                                                       19.2%

It saves me money                                                                           19.2%

It’s how we do things—I have always done this in my family                                  17.3%

I want to set a good example                                                                15.4%

I am following my spiritual beliefs                                                         11.5%

I enjoy it—it’s fun                                                                         11.5%

I don’t like our consumer culture                                                               4.8%

I have to do it because of city regulations                                                     1.9%

diversity research report 2012                                                                            14
hisPanic exPressions of                                  Table 8 — Top six of 23 environmenTal
                                                         acTiviTies by hispanic responDenTs
resPonsibility and caring
                                                         (Rated average out of 4 where 4 = always and 1 =never)
for the environment
Doing what we Can, when we Can

“We all have a responsibility and we all do

—Participant, Hispanic Youth Dialogue
what we can.”

“People might litter—you’re not
necessarily a bad person—we’ve all done it,

—Participant, Hispanic Youth Dialogue
but we should try.”

Hispanic participants described the responsibility
they felt to do what they could in their own homes
and in their own spheres of influence. While valuing
personal responsibility, participants also acknowl-
edged that it is hard to be perfect all the time and
consistently make the right choices. One senior
participant observed that ultimately “we are respon-
sible for the good and the bad—lots of times we
don’t do things wisely.”
                                                         government anD

     Quite consistent with the other communities of
                                                         Corporate responsibility

focus, survey results show that the most frequently
                                                         “I can do my thing at home but the big
practiced activities include recycling at home, reduc-
                                                         contaminator is business—we must obligate
ing water use, reusing household materials, using
public transit and using the green bin.
                                                         businesses to do something because the rest

     This commitment to the three Rs was seen by         —Participant, Hispanic Dialogue
                                                         is just small actions.”

some participants as an example of small but crucial
steps that make an impact. One participant chal-
lenged the idea that making a difference involves
taking a “drastic step” and noted that things like
                                                         “Government has primary responsibility to

composting and unplugging appliances are valuable
                                                         plant seeds/raise awareness and cultivate

                                                         consciousness across all of us. This needs to

     As with other groups, Hispanic participants
                                                         —Participant, Hispanic Dialogue
                                                         be the priority.”
were also interested in the notion of a shared respon-
sibility where everyone shows respect and does their
                                                         Participants in three of the six Hispanic dialogues
part. A youth participant expressed that “we share
                                                         accepted their individual responsibility but also
one world; everyone is responsible for maintaining
                                                         engaged others to think about the ways that govern-
it” and another youth participant added that “we can
                                                         ments and businesses create and sustain cultures
have a good future if we all do our action.”
                                                         of consumption that are inherently detrimental to
                                                         the environment. These Hispanic participants also
                                                         argued that governments and businesses prioritize
                                                         economic interests over environmental priorities.

diversity research report 2012                                                                                    15
This theme surfaces again as a concern in the next
section of this report and it was a concern that was
                                                         Table 9 — Drivers of environmenTal

felt strongest by seniors across a number of dif-
                                                         acTions by hispanic responDenTs

ferent Hispanic dialogues. The participants were
clear that a focus on government and business was
                                                            ThinkinG abouT Those environmenTal acTiviTies

not meant to replace personal responsibility, but
                                                          ThaT you ofTen or alWays do, Which sTaTemenTs besT

rather to acknowledge that small actions may not
                                                                   exPlain Why you do These ThinGs.

ultimately yield significant change. One participant
                                                                        choose Three reasons.

believed that the “things we do at home isn’t enough

and the things that the government does is worse”
                                                                      ansWer oPTions

                                                         I have a responsibility to the planet,

and that ultimately the “principal responsibility lies                                              68.1%
with the government.” Many participants expressed        my community and my family
a desire to see greater political commitment to the
environment.                                             I want to do my part to help
     While some participants advanced this idea          the environment
of proportional responsibility, others spoke of
the power of individuals. They noted that while          I am doing my part as a global citizen    38.3 %
“we want government to do more, businesses to
change…what is our responsibility? We have that          I want to set a good example               34.0%
power; it is in each of us. When I walk or take
the bus instead of drive, every time I don’t throw       It’s good for me and
garbage.” Another participant reminded others that                                                  21.3%
                                                         my family’s health
“changes happen from the people and we can influ-
ence the government.”                                    It makes me feel good                      19.1%

unDerstanDing what Drives                                I don’t like our consumer culture          17.0%

The survey shows that Hispanic respondents’              I am following my spiritual beliefs        12.8%
responsibility anD Caring

environmental practices were largely informed by a
feeling of responsibility to the planet, to their com-
                                                         I enjoy it –it’s fun                       12.8%
munities and to their families. The desire to do
one’s part to help the environment was also a strong
                                                         I have to do it because of
driver of environmental actions. Participants were                                                  6.4%
                                                         city regulations
also motivated by understandings of global citizen-
ship and a desire to set a good example. Of the three
                                                         It just makes sense                        6.4%
communities, Hispanic participants were the most
critical of our consumer culture with seventeen
percent of respondents identifying this as a driver      It saves me money                          6.4%
for their own choices and actions.
                                                         It’s how we do things—I have always
                                                         done this in my family

diversity research report 2012                                                                              16
south asian exPressions of                                taking responsibility in my Community
resPonsibility and caring                                 “A healthy mother is a healthy person in the
for the environment                                       community. We are shaping healthy commu-

                                                          —Participant, South Asian Dialogue
                                                          nities—not just for my child.”
Quite consistent with our first two communities
living responsibly in my home

of focus, South Asian participants described the          Participants in one South Asian dialogue moved the
responsibility they felt to make environmentally-         conversation from responsibility in the personal
friendly choices in their home. Survey results show       sphere to responsibility at the community level. For
that the six most frequently practiced activities         this group, their sense of responsibility extended
include recycling at home, reducing water use, using      beyond the home and into the community, including
the green bin, using energy efficient light bulbs, tak-   neighbourhood parks and schools. They regarded
ing public transit and reusing household materials.       their environmental actions as part of a larger effort
                                                          to build strong, healthy and sustainable communities.
                                                          Participants stressed the need to align behaviours
                                                          and practices in the home with behaviours in com-
Table 10 — Top six of 23 environmenTal

                                                          munity spaces. One participant shared the environ-
acTiviTies by souTh asian responDenTs

                                                          mental message that she has for her son: “How you
(Rated average out of 4 where 4= always and 1=never)

                                                          behave at home is how you behave at school is how
                                                          you behave in the community: it is a daily life prac-
                                                          tice.” This idea led others to explore what it means
                                                          to be a role model for children and other adults in
                                                          the community.
                                                               This group of participants also shared their
                                                          frustrations around how hard it is to keep their
                                                          neighbourhood spaces clean and free of garbage.
                                                          These participants live in a high density GTA neigh-
                                                          bourhood with a number of high-rises and, in this
                                                          context, the parks are a valuable and much used
                                                          public space. They described their efforts to pick up
                                                          garbage that others had thrown and to advise others
                                                          against throwing garbage. They also acknowledged
                                                          that it is “hard to get people to dispose garbage
                                                          properly.” Taking care of their community also in-
                                                          volved taking care of the birds and teaching children
                                                          not to feed them as the birds are getting sick.

Participants noted that responsibility for these
home-based activities was shared with their chil-
                                                          negotiating personal anD Corporate

dren; furthermore, there was a strong desire to           One group we met with had an interesting conversa-
                                                          soCial responsibility

ground these practices in values. One participant         tion around negotiating responsibility for the envi-
stressed that each of us “should follow the rules         ronment. One participant suggested that individuals
around the environment—it relates to our values           cannot make a difference but others disagreed,
and representing yourself.” Others added that             saying that individual actions do matter.
environmental action has to be a collective respon-       The conversation moved to the responsibility of cor-
sibility in response to the question, “how much can       porations and whether they bear a greater burden
one person do?”                                           of responsibility for the environment. One partici-
                                                          pant stated that it was a “false statement to say that

diversity research report 2012                                                                               17
industries are the biggest cause” of environmental
degradation and another participant reframed
                                                          unDerstanDing what Drives

things by saying that “industries are run by us.” The     The survey shows that participants’ environmental
                                                          responsibility anD Caring

group explored the idea that while government             practices were informed by a feeling of responsibil-
regulations are needed, so too is consumer educa-         ity to the planet, to their communities and to their
tion as one participant noted that “people think that     families. The desire to do one’s part to help the
the cheaper product is the better one.” The group         environment was also a strong driver of environ-
moved to a place where they described that we             mental actions. Participants were also motivated by
must each have a sense of social responsibility and       understandings of global citizenship and wanting to
accountability and that our small actions do add up.      set a good example. See Table 11 below.
We ended with one participant saying: “Do what
you can.”

Table 11 — Drivers of environmenTal acTions by souTh asian responDenTs

                   ThinkinG abouT Those environmenTal acTiviTies ThaT you ofTen or alWays do,
                  Which sTaTemenTs besT exPlain Why you do These ThinGs. choose Three reasons.

 I have a responsibility to the planet, my community and my family                               55.0%
                                   ansWer oPTions                                        resPonse PercenT

 I want to do my part to help the environment                                                    50.0%

 I am doing my part as a global citizen                                                          48.8%

 I want to set a good example                                                                    26.3 %

 It’s good for me and my family’s health                                                         23.8%

 I enjoy it—it’s fun                                                                             20.0%

 It makes me feel good                                                                           16.3 %

 I am following my spiritual beliefs                                                             12.5%

 It just makes sense                                                                             12.5%

 It saves me money                                                                               12.5%

 I don’t like our consumer culture                                                               5.0%

 I have to do it because of city regulations                                                     3.8%

 It’s how we do things—I have always done this in my family                                      3.8%

diversity research report 2012                                                                              18
                                                      The three communities of focus had an almost identi-
                                                      cal list of top five environmental issues of concern
exploring environmen-
                                                      with the one exception being the Hispanic respon-
                                                      dents who identified waste as an issue of concern
tal issues of concern
This section explores the ways that survey respon-    in place of climate change. All three communities
dents and participants named and understood their     identified water as the primary environmental issue
environmental issues of concern. In the community     of concern. See breakdown of top five environmental
dialogues, we asked participants to identify three    issues of concern for all communities and by each
environmental issues of concern, which we posted      community in Table 13.
around the room. We compared the selection of is-
sues, noting places where the group had similar and
different concerns. We then asked participants to
                                                      Table 13 — Top five environmenTal issues

share why they were concerned about these particu-
                                                      of concern for all communiTies

lar environmental issues.
     In this section we also highlight survey find-
                                                             ToP five environmenTal issues of concern

ings for the following:
                                                               (Rated average out of 4 with 4 = very concerned,
                                                        3 = somewhat concerned, 2 = not concerned and 1 = don’t know)

                                                       Water                                          3.81
                                                        ToP five environmenTal issues for all communiTies

• Question 8—Rate overall concern for the
  environment.                                         Food Safety                                    3.70
• Question 10—Rate levels of concern for twelve        Air Quality                                    3.63
  environmental issues.                                Climate Change                                 3.59
• Question 11—Assess concern for the impacts of        Industrial Pollution                           3.59
  environmental issues.                                           ToP five environmenTal issues by

                                                       Water                                          3.82
                                                                        chinese resPondenTs

                                                       Food Safety                                    3.70
ParticiPant concerns for

                                                       Air Quality                                    3.60
the environment
Conversations and survey findings show all three
communities are concerned about the environment,       Climate Change                                 3.53
moving from somewhat concerned (thirty-six
                                                       Industrial Pollution                           3.53
percent) to very concerned (sixty-two percent).
                                                                  ToP five environmenTal issues by

                                                       Water                                          3.85
Table 12—level of concern for                                           hisPanic resPondenTs

                                                       Waste                                          3.79
The environmenT for all communiTies

                                                       Food Safety                                    3.74
                                                       Air Quality                                    3.72
                                                       Industrial Pollution                           3.72
                                                                  ToP five environmenTal issues by

                                                       Water                                          3.76
                                                                      souTh asian resPondenTs

                                                       Food Safety                                    3.68
                                                       Air Quality                                    3.60
                                                       Climate Change                                 3.59
                                                       Industrial Pollution                           3.56

diversity research report 2012                                                                                      19
In discussing participant environmental concerns,
our conversations moved between localized and
                                                      chinese concerns about
immediate concerns to those that were more global
                                                      the environment
in scope. Every group identified the need for envi-
ronmental education as a way to raise awareness
and deepen environmental consciousness. Com-
                                                      overall ConCern for the environment

munity members were largely concerned about the
                                                      “How society operates ties into our philoso-
impact of environmental issues on the wellbeing of
future generations.
                                                      phies. When we are focusing on our immedi-
                                                      ate needs, as elderly people we can see how

                                                      —Participant, Chinese Dialogue
                                                      this can impact the next generation.”
ParticiPant concerns for
                                                      The survey results show that fifty percent of
other social issues
Alongside their concern for the environment,          respondents were very concerned about the envi-
respondents also identified health, education and     ronment and forty-eight percent were somewhat
food security as very important issues in their       concerned about the environment. In addition to
lives. These top issues of importance were consis-    environmental concerns, Chinese participants also
tent across the three communities of focus. Future    named education, health, food security and job secu-
programs could be designed with attention to these    rity as issues of high importance. In the dialogues,
distinct but complimentary issues.                    participants were most explicit about drawing the
                                                      link between their environmental concerns and the
                                                      impacts on their health and the health of their fami-
                                                      lies. The links between the environment and food
Table 14 — issues of imporTance for all

                                                      security were also drawn with some participants

                                                      observing that “the world population is increas-
                                                      ing” and questioning “where are we going to get the
                                                      food” given water scarcity, poor water quality,
                                                      receding water levels and poor use of land.

                                                      The survey findings show that participants were
                                                      speCifiC environmental issues of ConCern

                                                      most concerned about water, food safety, air quality,
                                                      climate change and industrial pollution. See Table
                                                      13 in the previous section for this list of environ-
                                                      mental issues of concern. One participant explained
                                                      that this selection of issues is “in some ways…
                                                      common sense. These things sustain life.” Issues of
                                                      slightly lesser concern were biodiversity, land use
                                                      and wildlife.
                                                           In discussing climate change and global warm-
                                                      ing (used interchangeably), participants described
                                                      it as a pressing concern because it is “big and all-
                                                      encompassing” affecting water levels and wildlife.

diversity research report 2012                                                                           20
Participants also noted that climate change has fea-    The dialogues were an opportunity to spend time
tured prominently in the media and has the backing      understanding Chinese participants’ areas of con-
of a “good advertising campaign,” as an explanation     cern; they expressed concerns that were tangible,
for why this concern was top-of–mind for them.          visible and tied closely to their own health and
     While wildlife was not ranked as a pressing is-    wellbeing in the GTA today.
sue in the survey, it was discussed in two dialogues.        Air quality was one of these tangible issues of
Participants were most concerned with endangered        concern grounded in local experience. Participants
animals and human activity, such as poaching. One       in every group described the difficulty they have
youth participant shared that they “worried that an-    breathing, and, even more worrisome to them, was
imals will disappear and we need to do something        the fact that the problem is getting worse. One senior
to help” and another said: “animals are endangered      participant shared that “every year the air here gets
and we’re killing them. That’s not cool.”               worse, it’s not that different than China.”
                                                             One youth participant drew the connection
                                                        between air quality and health quality saying, “we
                                                        know the impact on human life and health—these
                                                        have huge, far reaching impacts. We know that there
ConCerns about the impaCts of

Table 15 documents concerns about the impacts           are problems with the air quality, growing up in
environmental issues

of environmental issues. The findings show that         Toronto and hearing about how disgusting the Don
concerns are grounded in notions of family and          River was and how dirty it was. There are real hu-
community and move outward from there to include        man impacts.”
concerns for the wellbeing of future generations.            Food safety was another issue of concern raised
See Table 15.                                           by participants in our dialogues and there was wor-
                                                        ry about the impact of toxins on the health of adults
                                                        and babies. One participant said that for her “food is
                                                        a big part of my family’s life. My parents don’t care
Table 15 — chinese responDenTs

                                                        where their chicken comes from but I do.”
Top Three concerns abouT

                                                             Garbage and waste management were issues that
The impacT of environmenTal issues

                                                        were spoken of in every Chinese dialogue. Groups
  i am mosT concerned abouT The imPacT of environ-

                                                        spoke of the harm to the environment but also the
   menTal issues on... choose Three resPonses only.

                                                        health impacts of improper waste management. One
                                                        participant observed that “in my building there are
                           all          chinese

Me and my                                               bugs and these can spread diseases. But in China I’ve
                       communiTies    resPondenTs

                          41.5%          56.7%
family’s health                                         never seen such things. Canadian government should
                                                        pay more attention to these bugs.”
The wellbeing of                                             Other examples of daily concerns were things
                         52.8 %           49%
future generations                                      such as:
My community and
                         33.3 %          41.3%
family in Canada                                        • Transportation-related issues ranging from car
                                                          exhaust, traffic jams and the need for more sus-
                                                          tainable transportation choices
                                                        • Access to free green spaces—one newcomer par-
loCal anD immeDiate

                                                          ticipant said, that “here in Canada, there is a lack
environmental ConCerns

                                                          of places for kids to play unless you pay. Taxes are
                                                          high here but we don’t have good places.”
“For me, [I am concerned about] pollution

                                                        • Pet excrement was raised in a couple of groups
because it is something that you can actually

                                                          as affecting participants’ ability to enjoy outside
see. I can see pollution—I live in downtown

                                                          spaces in the GTA.
—Participant, Chinese Dialogue

diversity research report 2012                                                                              21
                                                         Discussions on climate change and water issues
                                                         spoke to those borderless threats to sustainability
national anD global ConCerns

                                                         and survival of life forms on this planet. Participants
                                                         surfaced the interdependencies that hold our world
“I saw a cartoon many years ago on

                                                         together and the impacts of human activity. Cyni-
newspaper. It said that a bird asked another

                                                         cism was also expressed: One youth participant
bird to marry him, but the bird said, ‘Do
                                                         concluded that the ecosystem is “falling apart” and
you have a house?’ because the trees and
                                                         another warned of the “end of the world.”
—Chinese Survey Respondent
forest are getting less and less.”

Moving outwards from localized concerns, partici-
                                                         hisPanic concerns about
pants also named environmental issues that are
tied to Canadian policy and perceptions of Cana-
                                                         the environment
dian lifestyle. In this section, we revisit the notion
of responsibility and the tying of responsibility to     The survey results show that eighty-nine percent of
                                                         overall ConCern for the environment

national identity and citizenship.                       Hispanic respondents were very concerned about
     In a number of groups, participants asked why       the environment and eleven percent were some-
the Canadian government “quit Durban[Durban              what concerned about the environment. In addition
Climate Change Conference in 2011].” There were          to environmental concerns, Hispanic participants
concerns that the government was not doing               also held health, education, food security and their
enough to mitigate harm to the environment caused        children’s future as social issues of importance.
by industries. While appreciating that industry is       Participants were most explicit about drawing the
here to stay, participants suggested remedies like       link between their environmental concerns and the
the carbon tax, eco-friendly production of goods         impacts on their physical and mental health and
and paying greater attention to resource manage-         also raised the concept of visual contamination.
ment. The tar sands were named as a specific issue            As in the Chinese dialogues, the Hispanic par-
of concern, with a view to the harmful impacts on        ticipants linked the environment with food security.
aboriginal communities. One participant shared:          A youth participant expressed worry that there is
“for me, tar sands are number one… I feel that this      not enough food in the world to feed everyone. Oth-
is immediate and pressing for me as a Canadian…I         ers talked about changes in the harvest seasons and
am personally not impacted but I am really moved         the patents on seeds. One participant shared that
by how aboriginal communities are impacted, and          everyone has the “right to produce and eat healthy
how pipelines will run through aboriginal commu-         foods.”
nities. I see who is impacted.”
     One participant suggested that as Canadians,
“we have to change the pattern of life, and of atti-
                                                         speCifiC issues of ConCern

tudes” as there is too much waste. Specific examples
                                                         “Canada is a country with the most water
that came up in the focus groups were urban devel-
opment, the construction of new homes and renova-
                                                         and still it is lessening—in Latin America the

tion of older homes. Construction was deemed to          —Participant, Hispanic Dialogue
                                                         bodies of water are drying up.”

be of concern because “we’re slowly developing the
environment for our own use and taking away from         The survey findings show that participants were
others” and renovations were seen to “create so          most concerned about water, waste, food safety, air
much waste.”                                             quality and industrial pollution.
     Finally, environmental education was raised as
a national level concern in three out of five Chinese
dialogues. Participants believed that there are not
enough opportunities to learn about or access infor-
mation about the environment.

diversity research report 2012                                                                               22
In discussing water, the conversation touched on
corporate social responsibility, water contami-
                                                       loCal anD immeDiate

nation and worries about water scarcity. Water
                                                       environmental ConCerns

was described as a “world problem.” Participants
expressed concern about the privatization of water
                                                       “We see the visual contamination…and

as a commodity and that there is less potable water
                                                       cannot disconnect this from mental health,

available today. One participant noted that the “de-
                                                       —Participant, Hispanic Dialogue
pletion of water reserves results in imported water”
and another shared how soft drinks are “presented
                                                       The idea of visual contamination or visual pollution
[by corporations] as water with colouring.”
                                                       was raised as a serious concern for many in the
                                                       Hispanic dialogues. Participants linked visual
                                                       contamination to health and wellbeing, sharing that
ConCerns about the impaCts of

Table 16 documents concerns about the impacts          “visual contamination affects our behaviour, psycho-
environmental issues

of environmental issues. The findings show that        logical health and quality of life. You don’t see this
concerns are grounded in notions of family and         as much in Colombia.” Building on this, participants
community here in Canada and in their home coun-       discussed the effect of environmental degradation
tries. Like other communities of focus, the primary    on mental health. A youth participant described
concern was for the wellbeing of future generations.   how she was affected emotionally when she saw
                                                       disasters like the most recent oil spill. Another
                                                       shared that these issues “scare me” and another
                                                       said, “I don’t know what to do and how to deal.”
                                                            When asked about other pressing concerns, air
Table 16 — Top Three concerns abouT The

                                                       pollution was a consistent theme across all Hispanic
impacT of environmenTal issues by
hispanic responDenTs

                                                       dialogues. Participants spoke of wanting to breathe
                                                       clean air without contamination. They referenced
  i am mosT concerned abouT The imPacT of environ-

                                                       the many health hazards as a result of poor air qual-
   menTal issues on... choose Three resPonses only.

                                                       ity and they described the pollution visible from
                                                       industries along the highway. One youth participant
                           all           hisPanic

 The wellbeing of                                      describes how she has “seen the changes…when I am
                       communiTies     resPondenTs

                          52.8%           57.4%        running and I feel the difference when breathing.”
 future generations
                                                            Participants also worried about the impact of
 Me and my family’s                                    environmental issues on their health, the health of
                          33.7%           38.3%
 future                                                their children and grandchildren. People saw an
                                                       increase in allergies and felt that they knew more
 My community and                                      people with cancer than ever before, attributing
                          25.6%           36.2%
 family back home                                      this to climate change, air pollution and contamina-
                                                       tion more generally. Some female participants also
                                                       discussed the environmental risks to reproductive
                                                            As an extension of their health concerns, food
                                                       safety was discussed and groups explored their
                                                       fears about chemicals in foods, pesticides sprayed
                                                       on produce and foods that are genetically modified.
                                                       One participant analyzed how people perceive foods
                                                       differently as a result of genetic modification noting

diversity research report 2012                                                                            23
that when you have “a big round chicken—people           One group observed that in these current economic
think that this is good and normal. Genetic modifi-      times, consumerism is regarded as the basis for a
cation distorts our sense of what is normal food.”       sound recovery plan and so political leaders
The group talked about how these worries have            encourage businesses to “sell, sell, sell,” and citizens
changed how they live and they shared their doubts       to “consume, consume, consume.” This model was
about the safety of the foods that they are eating.      seen to be inherently detrimental to the environment
One participant asked, “how do we ensure we are          and a movement away from “green” commitments.
eating healthy food?” Another shared that no matter      One participant explored ways to negotiate consum-
how many times she washed her fruit it never tasted      erism and employment within industries, thinking
clean.                                                   specifically of the impact of less consumption on
    The dialogue raised these other local issues of      people who earn their living as miners. He shared
concern:                                                 that “society must be critical about level of consump-
                                                         tion and we must find a balance…balanced and
• Garbage and recycling—one participant                  equitable level of consumption so that no groups
  described her walk along the Humber River              are compromised.” Implicit in this statement is the
  and how much garbage there is.                         understanding that economically vulnerable groups
                                                         must be protected even as environmental priorities
• Urban planning and development of condomini-           are advanced.
  ums—one participant shared her concern about                Participants commented on Canada’s inter-
  vertical development, the loss of green space and      national reputation and how “we look very bad”
  that these new developers are not using “green         when we benchmark our commitments and results
  energy.”                                               against some European countries. A number of
• Public transportation—one participant com-             people noted their disappointment that Canada had
  pared the underdeveloped transit system in             withdrawn from Kyoto.
  Toronto to Mexico City when he said, “I come                Participants also believed that the government
  from a city of 20 million people and the subway        needs to invest greater resources in environmental
  moves the population of all the GTA in one day.”       education and campaigns to raise awareness around
                                                         specific issues. They called this a proactive invest-
                                                         ment which would lead to savings in future health
national anD global                                      care costs while enhancing the overall quality of life.
environmental ConCerns
                                                         south asian concerns
—Participant, Hispanic Dialogue
“Where will we be in 200 years?”
                                                         about the environment

                                                         The survey results show that sixty-one percent of
                                                         overall ConCern for the environment

                                                         South Asian respondents were very concerned about
“Until there is a political commitment to

—Participant, Hispanic Dialogue                          the environment and thirty-five percent were some-
‘green’, things won’t change.”

                                                         what concerned about the environment. In addition
In our dialogues, participants had comments and          to environmental concerns, South Asian survey re-
questions about the Canadian government and its          spondents also held education, health, food security
record on the environment. There was a general           and their children’s future as issues of importance.
feeling that the Canadian government lacks the will      In our dialogues, participants were most explicit
to act in this area and they noted a record of priori-   about drawing the link between their environmen-
tizing the needs of industry over the environment.       tal concerns and the impacts on their health and the
Participants in the Hispanic youth dialogue spent        health of their families.
some time asking why there is “enough money
to promote war but not a lot to address the

diversity research report 2012                                                                                24
Respondents were most concerned about water,
speCifiC issues of ConCern                                Table 17 — Top Three concerns abouT

food safety, air quality, climate change and industrial
                                                          The impacT of environmenTal issues

                                                          by souTh asian responDenTs

     Our conversations with South Asian community
members offered opportunities to explore these
                                                            i am mosT concerned abouT The imPacT of environ-

concerns more deeply. In our youth dialogue, par-
                                                             menTal issues on... choose Three resPonses only.

ticipants explored the principle of access to water
                                                                                    all          souTh asian

as a human right. The group expressed concern that

                                                          The wellbeing of
                                                                                communiTies      resPondenTs

water is not universally accessible and there was a                                52.8 %          53.8%
                                                          future generations
comment on the risks of water being privatized. One
participant shared that: “I dream about my home           Plants and trees          28%             40%
in Pakistan and hope that there is enough water for
everyone.” Another participant named the profit           Animal species           28.5%           36.3 %
margin of businesses engaged in selling bottled wa-
ter. Other water-related concerns focused on water
contamination through improper waste/garbage
management and oil spills. There was concern for
                                                          loCal anD immeDiate

the impact of water contamination on human and            In our conversations, participants named some
                                                          environmental ConCerns

animal life.                                              specific environmental concerns that arose from
     Across all groups, pollution was discussed in        their local contexts and that had a bearing on their
its many forms. Specifically, participants expressed      quality of life.
concern about air pollution, noting the connections            Waste management was frequently raised as a
between clean air and industrial pollution. They          primary issue of concern in our community dia-
also perceived increases in asthma and lung disease       logues though in the survey waste did not rank high
which were attributed to poor air quality.                on the list of environmental issues of concern for
                                                          South Asian respondents. Specifically, groups were
                                                          concerned about littering, improper use of recycling
                                                          bins in community spaces and the need for adults to
                                                          act as role models.
ConCerns about the impaCts of

Table 17 documents South Asian concerns about the              In one group, this issue was connected to the
environmental issues

impact of environmental issues on the well-being          desire for a clean neighbourhood and the hope that
of future generations (which was consistent with          this could be a shared commitment for residents
the other two communities of focus). Their second         living in the area. Participants described scenarios
and third choices were very different from the other      where they imagined shared living spaces and com-
two communities. The table shows that South Asian         munity spaces that could be cleaner than they are
respondents were concerned for human, animal and          today. These communities would run on the basis
plant life, though biodiversity scored lower as an        of mutual respect between neighbours for com-
environmental issue of concern.                           munal and personal spaces. One participant shared:
                                                          “Seeing the park in a mess—these are issues that
                                                          concern me. I was promoting these issues back
                                                          home.” Another participant shared that for her
                                                          “garbage is the main issue I face. One or two, even
                                                          ten people can’t do it alone. We all have to do our
                                                          part out of awareness and freely joining together to
                                                          do something. Sometimes people ask me why I am
                                                          telling them to throw out their garbage and they can
                                                          get angry.”

diversity research report 2012                                                                                  25
A third participant in this same group wondered         of what we consume.” Global warming was raised
why the parks in her home country were cleaner          as an issue. Specifically within Canada, participants
than parks in her neighbourhood in Canada. Her          named the Alberta tar sands as a concern was the
conclusion was that in Pakistan, there was clarity      rate of deforestation tied to urban development.
around the rules and expectations about behavior        One participant spoke about the influence of west-
in public parks. She shared that “parks at home         ernization and commercialization and wondered
were kept clean—there were huge signs and people        “how to go back.” One youth participant also called
followed the rules—why [do people follow the            for industries to employ the triple bottom line that
rules] there and not here? Maybe they don’t know        takes into account financial gains, economic gains
the rules.”                                             and social gains.
     Other local concerns were high levels of traffic
congestion, poor public transportation and access to
fresh, locally grown food from Ontario. In one group,
the idea of buying local was examined through the
                                                        learning about
lens of culture and a youth participant offered an      the environment
alternative perspective on why buying local may be
                                                        This section explores the ways in which survey re-
harder for some ethno-cultural groups. This youth
                                                        spondents and dialogue participants learn about the
reminded others that we are a “multicultural coun-
                                                        environment. In our dialogues, we were intentional
try and sometimes we want to eat the foods that we
                                                        in asking if learning happened within the family
know and that are a part of our culture.”
                                                        context and inter-generationally.
     In one case, a participant linked his environ-
                                                             In this section we also highlight survey findings
mental concern to his own actions. He shared his
                                                        for the following:
thinking around his own environmental footprint by
saying: “If I didn’t know about e-waste then I would
be contributing negatively to the environment. I        • Question 12—Level of interest in learning about
need to understand how the things that I might do         twelve environmental issues.
will affect the environment.” He linked his hobby to    • Question 13—Identify ways of learning about envi-
a potential environmental hazard and was taking           ronmental issues from a list of nineteen options.
pro-active steps to mitigate the risks.

                                                        interest in learning about
national anD global
environmental ConCerns                                  environmental issues

—Participant, South Asian Dialogue
“We need to get balanced.”                              partiCipants are interesteD in
                                                        learning about their

                                                        Conversations and survey findings show that mem-
                                                        environmental issues of ConCern

                                                        bers of all three communities shared an interest in
—Participant, South Asian Newcomer Dialogue             learning more about water issues, food safety and
“All of this has a global impact.”

                                                        air quality. These areas for future learning were
Participants also shared their concerns about is-       consistent with those environmental issues that
sues and trends on the national and global scales.      participants were most concerned about.
Many of these concerns were tied to the overuse of
fossil fuels and natural resources. One participant
observed that the “world population is increasing
and resources decreasing—we need to be mindful

diversity research report 2012                                                                             26
                                        The survey findings show learning about the
Table 18 — inTeresT in learning abouT   ways of learning about the environment

                                        environment often happened informally and in daily
environmenTal issues for

                                        ways primarily through newspapers, television,
all communiTies

                                        websites, movies and documentaries. Our conver-
                                        sations drew out other ways of learning through
                                        non-formal means like storytelling, observation,
                                        visits to community centres and lived experiences
                                        as children and adults. Often these were stories and
                                        experiences that spanned across generations and
                                        geography. Finally a small group of participants in
                                        every community shared stories of learning for-
                                        mally about the environment through school and

                                        Table 19 — ways of learning abouT
                                        The environmenT for all communiTies
                                        (Rated average out of 4 with 4 = very often and 1 = never)

diversity research report 2012                                                                       27
chinese ParticiPants                                   intergenerational learning
                                                       anD storytelling
exPlored learning about
the environment                                        “When I was eight years old my father took
                                                       me to a hill, the highest point above the

Chinese survey respondents were most interested
learning about the environment                         small city where we lived and he showed me

in learning about the following issues: water, food
                                                       the dark grey belt across the sky and he said
safety, air quality, climate change and safety of
                                                       —Participant, Chinese Newcomer Dialogue
                                                       that is pollution.”
household products. They were somewhat interest-
ed in learning about energy, renewable energy and
industrial pollution.                                  Teaching and learning about the environment hap-
     In the survey, respondents were able to add       pens between generations. It’s where wisdom and
additional comments. We have listed some of these      new ideas meet. Through parents and grandparents,
additional learning or information needs below. This   children gain awareness and cultivate values that
sample of needs indicated that participants have       support sustainability. Younger generations also gain
some interest in better understanding the positions    practical skills around how to save, stretch and be
and policies of the Canadian government:               creative with resources. Some dialogue participants
                                                       suggested that first generation Chinese adults and
                                                       youth have likely integrated more formal practices
• What is the correct definition for the               tied to City programs and systems. The recycling
  environment?                                         program was one example of a practice that children
• Why is the government buying protected               help their parents to learn about and so we have
  wetlands and developing them?                        scenarios where one participant would “give hand-
                                                       kerchiefs to my grandkids” as a way to conserve on
• I want to know how the Alberta government can        paper products and another participant described
  make sure the oil field will not destroy the local   learning from “my family—my kids recycle more
  environment.                                         than I do.” Comments like these were often shared
• The impact of technology on the environment.         with pride. In our survey, sixty percent of Chinese
                                                       survey respondents said they learned from their
• Dirty oil.                                           family either very often or often.
• Genetic modification.                                     Participants shared other examples of learning
                                                       to value resource conservation:
• Environmental justice.
• I like to know what is the policy of our govern-     • My parents always saved the water—after clean-
  ment to develop green energy, such as solar, wind      ing rice or food we would pour the water on the
  or nuclear.                                            flowers. And we used old clothes to make mops.
                                                         —Participant, Chinese Newcomer Dialogue
                                                       • If it was about saving money, I bet my parents
                                                         did it. I remember the first time I reused a
                                                         Ziploc bag.
                                                         —Participant, Chinese Dialogue
                                                       • We need to teach our children that caring about
                                                         the environment is important for their future...
                                                         we are responsible to tell them.
                                                         —Participant, Chinese Dialogue

diversity research report 2012                                                                            28
learning through experiential aCtivities              hisPanic ParticiPants
anD in everyDay ways
                                                      exPlored learning about
“In Taiwan, I learned about the                       the environment

—Participant, Chinese Dialogue
environment from my everyday life.”

                                                      Hispanic survey respondents were most interested
                                                      learning about the environment

                                                      in learning more about water, air quality, food safety,
                                                      waste and wildlife. They were somewhat interested
                                                      in land use, renewable energy, climate change, en-
“I think I like to learn about the

—Participant, Chinese Dialogue                        ergy and industrial pollution.
environment but I don’t seek it out.”

                                                           Respondents offered a number of additional
The majority of participants described learning       comments about learning needs. Highlights from
about the environment through experiential and        this list include:
hands-on learning activities. For example, one
participant volunteered at Live Green Toronto and     • Living a life less dependent on fossil fuels and
it was through this experience that he learned how      corporate goods.
to save energy. Youth participants described past
visits to the Kortright Centre for Conservation, an   • Visual contamination.
environmental and renewable energy education          • Healthcare.
and demonstration centre. Another participant was
involved in neighbourhood community days and          • Allergies and air contamination.
was able to meet and get environmental information
from his City Councillor.
     The dialogues and survey confirm that, for the
most part, people learned about the environment
                                                      intergenerational anD experiential

informally, and sometimes unintentionally, through

their daily routines, which included reading news-
                                                      “I learned from my childhood; my gifts were
papers, watching television programs and browsing
                                                      animals and how I learned to always respect
the internet.
                                                      animals and nature. I also learned more

                                                      —Participant, Hispanic Dialogue
                                                      through university.”

                                                      “Sometimes we learn from our built aware-
                                                      ness—not taught in school, but through life
                                                      practices. For example, through farming
                                                      we learned how to care for the animals and

                                                      —Participant, Hispanic Dialogue
                                                      grew lettuce, fruits and vegetables.”

                                                      Our conversations showed that families are a sig-
                                                      nificant source for learning about the environment.
                                                      Seventy percent of Hispanic survey respondents
                                                      said they learned from family either very often or
                                                      often. Participants in the Hispanic dialogues told

diversity research report 2012                                                                             29
stories of learning about the environment through
childhood experiences in their countries of origin
                                                        south asian ParticiPants
and sometimes here in Canada. We heard over and
over again how people learned from their parents
                                                        exPlored learning about

and grandparents through early connections and
                                                        the environment
ways of living. One participant shared how “we
learned by growing our own food” including corn,        Survey respondents identified water, climate
                                                        learning about the environment

coffee and beans.                                       change, waste, food safety and air quality as the
     One participant clarified that while environ-      issues that they were most interested in learning
mental learning was happening in interesting ways       about. Participants were somewhat interested in
in the home, the subject was not discussed explicitly   wildlife, energy and renewable energy.
or often. Instead it was family life that provided          Additional learning needs shared in the com-
opportunities to feel connected with, and close to,     ments box of the survey included:
the environment. Another participant went on to ex-
plain that their learning came from the environment
itself. They shared that the “…natural environment      • Displacement of indigenous peoples worldwide
teaches us everything.” Another added, “We learn by       due to transnational corporations, including min-
observing nature.”                                        ing companies.
     In Canada, learning through experience and the     • Environmental issues that are connected to social
family continues, but lifestyle changes have altered      justice, trade and consumerism.
some of the traditional ways of knowing and doing.
Many youth participants referenced school green         • Fair trade.
clubs as a space for learning and “greening” their      • Electronic waste.
community spaces.
                                                        • Visual contamination.
                                                        • Rainforests and artic zones.

Hispanic participants learned about the environ-        • Slaughter of whales, dolphins and sharks.
learning as we go

ment in everyday ways that included reading
newspapers, and watching movies and documen-
taries. One participant referenced insights she had
                                                        intergenerational learning

gained from at least three different documenta-
                                                        “I saw that my grandfather loved to do
ries, including Six Degrees Could Change the World.
                                                        planting—he said when you plant you clean
Hispanic participants also identified environmental
and community organizations as places for learn-
                                                        the air, so now in the school we found the

ing about the environment. The combination of           —Participant—South Asian Dialogue
                                                        place to do some planting.”

documentaries and community organizations may
indicate that Hispanic dialogue participants and        The idea of learning through, and with, family mem-
survey respondents are more intentional in seeking      bers surfaced in South Asian dialogues. Seventy-one
environmental information.                              percent of South Asian survey respondents said
                                                        they learned from family either very often or often.
                                                        In many cases, this learning was tied to conserving
                                                        resources and, by extension, saving money. This idea
                                                        of “not wasting” surfaced in a number of our South
                                                        Asian dialogues. One participant remembered how

diversity research report 2012                                                                              30
“in Pakistan my father said you have to save the
water and was angry when water was wasted. I still       Similar to survey respondents from the Chinese and
                                                         learning as we go

follow that. I tell my kids this is what your grandfa-   Hispanic communities, South Asian respondents
ther said.”                                              learnt about the environment in everyday ways that
     One participant described how a family member       included television, movies, documentaries, news-
taught her about the environment and encouraged          papers and websites.
her to study about the environment in university. She
shared, “In grade ten, my uncle taught me…then my
father encouraged me and I came to Canada because
of the environment—to study the environment.”
                                                         initiatives to
     Another youth participant described the active
learning philosophy in his elementary school in the
                                                         further engage
Middle East where students learn by doing; using
physical experiments and “growing things.” He
                                                         Diverse communities
shared how in school, they learned that “throwing        This section explores strategies to engage communi-
out plastic bags was bad—it just goes to a landfill      ties in environmental initiatives. In our dialogues,
so we just began to bring the jute bag with us. My       we asked participants to share ideas of environ-
mother and father began doing the same and it            mental initiatives that they would be interested in
spread through my family.”                               joining and we asked for their views on the qualities
     One participant also shared her surprise that       of effective environmental initiatives.
environmental learning was further ahead in their             This section also highlights survey findings for
home countries than in Canada. They had expected         the following:
more in coming to Canada. She shared that the
“practice back home and here is shocking when I          • Question 16—Levels of interest in participating
compare—I thought it would be higher here but              in initiatives with other people.
there is even more waste here. We had three Rs
                                                         • Question 17—Rate interest in participating in ten
there so it is not so far ahead here.”
                                                           environmental activities.
                                                         • Question 18—Identify factors that would
Participants described experiences of learning that        increase their likelihood to participate in
learning through experiential aCtivities

were participatory and activity based. One example         environmental initiatives.
of experiential learning was through planning
and participating in bi-monthly environmental
workshops where women and their children came
together to learn, ask questions and have conversa-
                                                         environmental initiatives
tions about environmental issues that matter most
                                                         of interest
to them. One woman shared how they are “learn-
ing so much with a community of women and we
                                                         interest in group-baseD environmental

bring our children with us and they just are a part of   The survey findings showed that participants were
                                                         initiatives anD aCtivities

everything we do.”                                       interested in participating in activities that are com-
     Two youth participants described school trips       munal and group-based, though levels varied across
to the Arctic. These trips were spaced two years         the three communities as shown in Table 20.
apart and in comparing their photos, they observed
the differences in the ice levels. In many ways,
witnessing this change was a powerful force behind
their sustained commitment and engagement in
community-based environmental initiatives. As one
youth participant noted, “I have seen the difference
in my lifetime.”

diversity research report 2012                                                                               31
Table 20 — inTeresT in parTicipaTing in environmenTal iniTiaTives

           Please raTe your inTeresT in ParTiciPaTinG in environmenTal iniTiaTives WiTh oTher PeoPle.

                                                 chinese                  hisPanic               souTh asian
      resPonses         all communiTies

Very interested                52%                40.8%                    74.5%                     55%
                                               resPondenTs              resPondenTs              resPondenTs

Somewhat interested            43 %               53.4%                    25.5%                     41.3%

Table 21 — inTeresT in parTicipaTing in 10 environmenTal acTiviTies for
all communiTies

                     Please raTe your inTeresT in ParTiciPaTinG in The folloWinG acTiviTies:

              ansWer oPTions                  1—don’T       2—noT       3—someWhaT         4—very        raTed

Volunteer for an organization that is doing
          (raTed averaGe ouT of 4)             knoW       inTeresTed     inTeresTed       inTeresTed    averaGe

work on environmental issues that you            11           23             104               108         3.26
care about
Join a neighbourhood project
(tree planting, community clean-up,              16           30             105               95          3.13
community garden etc.)
Attend community meetings, workshops
                                                 11           47             106               82          3.05
and talks about the environment
Research more about environmental
                                                 18           55              94               79          2.95
issues on-line
Facilitate workshops with others in
                                                 21           50             112               63          2.88
your community
Receive training in environmental
issues and then become a mentor in               30           59              83               74          2.82
my community
Share your ideas about the environment
                                                 23           71              94               58          2.76
on-line using social media
Apply for an environmental internship to
enhance your access to employment in the         30           77              71               68          2.72
environmental sector
Apply for an environmental grant for
funding to start a local environmental           36           76              81               53          2.61
initiative in your community
Write a blog about environmental issues
                                                 25          108              75               38          2.51
that matter to you

diversity research report 2012                                                                                    32
The survey revealed the top three activities of          In addition to being interested in group-based and
environmental aCtivities of interest                     ConDitions for enhanCing engagement

interest were volunteering for an organization,          communal activities, respondents across the three
joining a neighbourhood project and attending            communities would be more likely to engage in
community meetings (see Table 21). Respondents           activities if they took place in their own community
were least interested in writing an environmental        and involved their own community members. The
blog, applying for a grant for funding an environ-       list of enablers for engagement speaks to prin-
mental project and applying for an environmental         ciples of diversity and inclusion as participants tied
internship.                                              engagement to both the actors and to the quality of
     We observed that a number of “leadership”           their participation, naming factors like invitations,
activities were considered to be less interesting to     language and having some say over the issues of
the majority of survey respondents. These included       focus. See Table 22.
activities like applying for a grant for funding to
start a local environmental initiative or using social
media to share ideas about the environment. While
                                                         Table 22 — facTors ThaT increase

these activities did not have mass appeal, survey
                                                         likelihooD of engagemenT for

respondents who rated these as higher may be
                                                         all communiTies

interested in deepening their engagement in, and
leadership for, environmental work. Each of the
“leadership” activities below generated some
interest that is worth noting and exploring for
program implications:

• Writing an environmental blog—38 chose “very
  interested” (15.4%).
• Apply for an environmental grant for funding—
  53 people chose “very interested” (21.5%).
• Apply for an environmental internship—68
  chose “very interested” (27.6%).
• Share ideas about the environment using social
  media—58 chose “very interested” (23.6%).
• Receive training to become an environmental
  mentor—74 chose “very interested” (30.1%).

There may be opportunities to explore leadership
development through these targeted activities as a
focus for programs.

diversity research report 2012                                                                               33
                                                             The survey shows two main areas of interest for our
                                                             Chinese participants. They were most interested
                                                             in volunteering for an organization on an environ-
chinese ParticiPants
                                                             mental issue of interest to them and participating
insights and exPeriences
                                                             in neighbourhood projects that could involve tree
with environmental
                                                             planting, community gardening etc. Respondents
                                                             were also somewhat interested in attending com-
                                                             munity meetings on the environment, facilitating
Overall, forty percent of Chinese respondents were           workshops in their communities and researching
environmental initiatives of interest

very interested in participating in environmental            issues online. Respondents were less interested in
initiatives with other people and fifty-three percent        things such as using social media to engage with
were somewhat interested. Only five percent were             environmental issues or applying for grants to start
not interested at all.                                       local initiatives. See Table 23.

Table 23 — inTeresT in parTicipaTing in 10 environmenTal acTiviTies
by chinese responDenTs

                       Please raTe your inTeresT in ParTiciPaTinG in The folloWinG acTiviTies:

                 ansWer oPTions                    1—don’T       2—noT       3—someWhaT 4—very           raTed

 Volunteer for an organization that is doing
             (raTed averaGe ouT of 4)               knoW       inTeresTed     inTeresTed inTeresTed     averaGe

 work on environmental issues that you                  3          13             50             38      3.18
 care about

 Join a neighbourhood project
 (tree planting, community clean up,                    5          20             43             36      3.06
 community garden etc.)

 Attend community meetings, workshops and
                                                        4          28             47             25      2.89
 talks about the environment

 Facilitate workshops with others in
                                                        9          25             53             17      2.75
 your community

 Research more about environmental
                                                        6          34             44             20      2.75
 issues on-line

 Receive training in environmental
 issues and then become a mentor in                     11         32             39             22      2.69
 my community

 Share your ideas about the environment on-
                                                        8          38             43             15      2.63
 line using social media

 Apply for an environmental internship to
 enhance your access to employment in the               12         40             29             23      2.61
 environmental sector

diversity research report 2012                                                                                  34
Table 23 — inTeresT in parTicipaTing in 10 environmenTal acTiviTies by chinese
responDenTs conT’D

                       Please raTe your inTeresT in ParTiciPaTinG in The folloWinG acTiviTies:

                 ansWer oPTions                     1—don’T        2—noT      3—someWhaT 4—very             raTed

 Apply for an environmental grant for
             (raTed averaGe ouT of 4)                knoW        inTeresTed    inTeresTed inTeresTed       averaGe

 funding to start a local environmental                12            38            38             16         2.56
 initiative in your community
 Write a blog about environmental issues that
                                                           9         53            32             10         2.41
 matter to you

The survey shows that participants would be more
enabling ConDitions                                            Table 24 — Top six of nine facTors ThaT

likely to participate in environmental initiatives if
                                                               increase The likelihooD of engagemenT

they had more time, if these initiatives took place
                                                               by chinese responDenTs

in their own community, if they were invited and
if other members of their community were also
engaged. Consistent with initiatives of interest,
participation was closely tied to connections with
geographic and/or cultural communities. Partici-
pants were interested in doing something within
a community context. One participant expressed
interest “in learning about any activities any move-
ments happening around me, near my location. I
want to know this kind of information, in my neigh-
      The idea of wanting an invitation to partici-
pate was combined with the desire to belong and
be included. While an invitation is a crucial step,
it is only the first step. There is an indication that
organizations need to move beyond the invitation.
The survey shows that communities would be more
likely to participate in initiatives if they experienced
a culture of belonging and if there were opportuni-            Other survey respondents named the following as
ties to be meaningfully included. Perhaps in the               other enabling factors: financial incentives, par-
spirit of inclusion, Chinese respondents indicated             ticipating with friends, using the arts to mobilize
that they would like to choose the issues to focus on          communities and making linkages to other social
and a smaller number (twenty-one percent) sug-                 justice issues.
gested that they would like to use their first lan-
guage when engaging in environmental initiatives.
The idea of language, accessibility and participation
                                                               Community insights anD refleCtions on

was also explored in some dialogue groups. In one              In the dialogues, we asked participants to share
                                                               engaging their Communities

case, a participant shared that “my dad is passion-            ideas on strategies, initiatives and approaches that
ate about politics and he argues about it all the time.        would enhance their desire to participate in en-
He doesn’t speak English well. The language thing              vironmental initiatives. The sections below are a
is a barrier.” See Table 24 for the top six enabling           summary of these recommendations based on their
factors.                                                       observations, experiences, hopes and expectations.

diversity research report 2012                                                                                       35
                                                        • Location matters—“host activities in apartments
                                                          as that is where so many newcomers live.”
environmental eDuCation—if you know

• Offer children and adults opportunities to            • Diversity matters—“mirror communities and let
better, you will Do better

  cultivate and deepen their learning through             people see themselves in the movement.”
  age-appropriate activities.
                                                        • Cost matters—find economically viable ways that
• Ensure that learning opportunities cultivate            people can get involved.
  both the values and practices that will support
                                                        • Advance environmental and other social
  environmental responsibility. One participant
                                                          priorities at the same time—for example, one
  said that the “concept of selflessness needs to be
                                                          participant described clothes donation drives
  taught more.”
                                                          for those in need.
• Explore the notion of environmental education
  as civic education by offering newcomers an
  opportunity to learn about the systems for
                                                        engage people through Competition anD

  recycling etc.
                                                        inCentives at the inDiviDual, Community anD

                                                        • Provide financial incentives for individuals. One
                                                        Corporate levels

                                                          participant shared how “in China we actually got
• One participant asked—“How do I turn on that            money for recycling or dropping off electronics at
Cultivate ConneCtions to the environment

  value? How do you create a personal connection          the depot. Here in Canada we don’t get money.”
  because then I will care, be engaged.”                • Organize community level competitions. One par-
• Give young people an opportunity to connect             ticipant shared how “In Taiwan…every city had a
  with nature by planting seedlings and caring for        recycling competition. Our neighbourhood won
  their trees.                                            the competition to dispose and recycle waste
                                                          and so we had one year free cable! There were
• Start with individual families and actions that can     incentives to do this, not like here in Canada.
  be done in your family.                                 Compared in Toronto, before Mayor David Miller
• Get a group together, act together and plant every      spent a lot of money on recycling but there was
  year together.                                          no incentive. They don’t reward us to recycle.”
                                                        • Provide businesses with incentives. One partici-
                                                          pant observed that “One thing is different. China
                                                          has limited resources but Canada has a lot of
nurture inClusion anD Cultivate ConneCtions

• Build relationships—know the community first            natural resource. So in China, the government has
between people

  and move away from one time engagements.                incentives for companies to recycle. In Canada,
• Bring people together for learning, reflection          many of the recyclable things go into landfill.”
  and community building—one group described
  bi-monthly workshops where groups of women
  and their children can gather to share food and
  explore environmental issues through interac-
  tions, questions and dialogue.
• Build bridges—“our environmental initiatives
  link us to the school, and here, friends are

diversity research report 2012                                                                            36
                                                           They were most interested in volunteering for an
                                                           organization on an environmental issue of inter-
hisPanic insights and exPe-
                                                           est to them, attending community meetings on the
riences with environmen-
                                                           environment and participating in neighbourhood
                                                           projects that involved tree planting, community gar-
tal engagement

                                                           dening etc. Respondents were also quite interested
Overall, seventy-four percent of Hispanic respon-          in facilitating workshops in their communities. They
environmental initiatives of interest

dents were very interested in participating in envi-       were less interested in things like using social media
ronmental initiatives with other people and twenty-        to engage with environmental issues or applying
five percent were somewhat interested.                     for grants to start local initiatives. These choices are
     The survey shows three main areas of interest         consistent with the overwhelming wish to engage
for Hispanic participants and survey respondents.          with others rather than working alone.

Table 25 — hispanic responDenTs inTeresT in parTicipaTing in 10 environmenTal acTiviTies

                     Please raTe your inTeresT in ParTiciPaTinG in The folloWinG acTiviTies:

               ansWer oPTions                    1—don’T       2—noT      3 - someWhaT      4 - very     raTed

Volunteer for an organization that is doing
           (raTed averaGe ouT of 4)               knoW       inTeresTed    inTeresTed     inTeresTed    averaGe

work on environmental issues that you                0            5             15             27         3.47
care about
Attend community meetings, workshops
                                                     1            4             18             24         3.38
and talks about the environment
Join a neighbourhood project
(tree planting, community clean up,                  3            0             21             23         3.36
community garden etc.)
Facilitate workshops with others in
                                                     2            6             19             20         3.21
your community

Research more about environmental
                                                     4            5             18             20         3.15
issues on-line
Receive training in environmental
issues and then become a mentor in                   3            9             14             21         3.13
my community
Apply for an environmental internship to
enhance your access to employment in the             2           13             13             19         3.04
environmental sector
Share your ideas about the environment
                                                     4            9             19             15         2.96
on-line using social media
Apply for an environmental grant for
funding to start a local environmental               6           13             16             12         2.72
initiative in your community
Write a blog about environmental issues
                                                     5           17             15             10         2.64
that matter to you

diversity research report 2012                                                                                   37
The survey findings show that participants would be
enabling ConDitions                                       Community insights anD refleCtions on

more likely to participate in environmental initia-       In the dialogues, we asked participants to share
                                                          engaging their Communities

tives if these initiatives took place in their own        ideas on strategies, initiatives and approaches that
community and if members of their community were          would enhance their desire to participate in envi-
also engaged. Respondents wrote that they would           ronmental initiatives. The following sections are a
like to see activities designed in a way that would       summary of these recommendations.
include their families and their parents.
     Respondents indicated that they would be more
likely to participate if they were both invited and in-   • Use educational materials and tools to raise
                                                          raise Community ConsCiousness

cluded meaningfully. One senior participant shared          awareness and consciousness from children
her hope that programs could engage “my people              to adults.
in discussions about the environment and all they
                                                          • Invest more in education and less on punitive
bring to Canadian discussions.” Another shared: “I
would love it if the government of Canada would
give the Hispanic community a chance to teach them        • Use educational tools to connect behaviours to
what it means to care for the planet.” For another          impacts and consequences.
respondent, their inclusion in environmental initia-
                                                          • Use flyers in Spanish and other tools to promote
tives was tied to child care and they shared that they
                                                            municipal recycling and composting systems.
would be more likely to participate “if baby care
services could be offered or if there were activities     • Use Spanish radio to raise awareness.
where attendance and participation with young
                                                          • Have community members go to schools to share
children were encouraged.”
                                                            knowledge with school children and students on
                                                            how to grow plants from seeds. One participant
                                                            asked for “a chance to share our knowledge and
                                                            that the Canadian children can learn about our
Table 26 —Top six of nine facTors ThaT

                                                            countries of origin.”
increase The likelihooD of engagemenT
by hispanic responDenTs

                                                          builD inClusive relationships with

                                                          • Localize the conversation and find places where

                                                            people gather.
                                                          • Ground conversation in what is happening in
                                                            people’s lives and their living conditions.
                                                          • Recognize that you cannot come in as an outsider
                                                            to facilitate the conversation. Instead, be sure to
                                                            link with community organizations and people
                                                            from these communities.
                                                          • Recognize that every community is trying to
                                                            grow the environmental movement and are also
                                                            having the same dilemma of seeing the same
                                                            faces. They realize that “we need to keep coming
                                                            back, sharing information, and it is a long term

diversity research report 2012                                                                               38
• People enjoy food so find ways to integrate food      projects, attending community meetings and facili-
  into your activities.                                 tating workshops on the environment. This group of
                                                        respondents also expressed some interest in
• Promote cross cultural projects and learning
                                                        researching environmental issues online. This group
  across diverse communities.
                                                        was less interested in writing blogs and
• Consider who may find it harder to participate.       applying for funding to start their own project.

                                                        The survey findings show that participants would be
offer opportunities to Cultivate ConneCtions
                                                        enabling ConDitions

• Promote active learning programs—one par-
with the environment

                                                        more likely to participate in environmental initiatives
  ticipant shared that “in Mexico we used to plant      if these initiatives took place in their own community,
  trees and then we would have to care for it for six   if they had more time and if they were able to use
  months” and another shared that “we don’t have        their first language. One respondent added that it is
  a culture where we teach our kids to plant a tree.    “much easier to participate when others have equal
  Trees give us clean air.”                             concern.”
• Create accessible activities that connect people           Respondents identified with values of inclusion
  to nature—I want to plant trees but can’t because     and belonging. What they do matters as much as the
  no buses go there.                                    quality of their experience. One respondent shared
                                                        that their participation would likely increase “if more
• Encourage family programs to grow food and            people of colour and women were leading such ini-
  herbs—one participant said, “I like planting          tiatives.” There was also some interest in being able
  community gardens and growing what we grew            to pick the environmental issue to focus on or if the
  at home.”                                             work was tied to other issues that mattered to them.
• Organize activities that involve families and trips   One respondent wrote that they would be more likely
  out of the city.                                      to participate if the environmental work considered
                                                        relations of power and social identity: “If I saw more
                                                        of a connection with environmentalism in Canada
                                                        to the global context [I would be more inclined to
                                                        engage]…Most environmentalists I’ve come across
south asian insights and
                                                        don’t think about how class, race and culture affect
exPeriences with environ-
                                                        people’s choices. They also seem too preachy. In
mental engagement
                                                        addition to the ‘don’t drive, buy organic and recycle’
                                                        message, let’s consider consumer culture in the west,
Overall, fifty-five percent of South Asian respon-      trade and corporate greed in the developing world.
environmental initiatives of interest

dents were very interested in participating in          I would get involved with a group that took a stand
environmental initiatives with other people and         and challenged people to consider broader contexts.”
forty-one percent were somewhat interested. Only             Two other respondents added that their par-
three percent were not interested at all. As Table      ticipation would increase if there were financial
27 shows, South Asian respondents shared much in        incentives and greater opportunities to be engaged.
common with participants from Chinese and His-
panic communities. One of the commonalities was
a desire to engage in activities that are grounded
in community spaces and involve other community
members. There is an interest in volunteering with
an organization, participating in neighbourhood

diversity research report 2012                                                                              39
Table 27 — souTh asian responDenTs inTeresT in parTicipaTing
in 10 environmenTal acTiviTies

                     Please raTe your inTeresT in ParTiciPaTinG in The folloWinG acTiviTies:

              ansWer oPTions                   1—don’T        2—noT       3—someWhaT        4—very       raTed

Volunteer for an organization that is doing
          (raTed averaGe ouT of 4)              knoW        inTeresTed     inTeresTed      inTeresTed   averaGe

work on environmental issues that you              7             3             31              39        3.28
care about

Join a neighbourhood project
(tree planting, community clean up,                6             7             35              32        3.16
community garden etc.)

Research more about environmental
                                                   7            12             28              33        3.09
issues on-line

Attend community meetings, workshops
                                                   5            13             33              29        3.08
and talks about the environment

Facilitate workshops with others in your
                                                   9            14             34              23        2.89

Share your ideas about the environment
                                                  11            17             26              26        2.84
on-line using social media

Receive training in environmental
issues and then become a mentor in                15            15             24              26        2.76
my community

Apply for an environmental internship to
enhance your access to employment in the          15            19             25              21        2.65
environmental sector

Apply for an environmental grant for
funding to start a local environmental            17            20             22              21        2.59
initiative in your community

Write a blog about environmental issues
                                                  11            30             24              15        2.54
that matter to you

diversity research report 2012                                                                                  40
Table 28 — Top six of nine facTors ThaT                nurture inClusion anD Cultivate ConneCtions

                                                       • Build connections and understanding across
increase The likelihooD of engagemenT                  between people

                                                         diverse cultural and faith groups.
by souTh asian responDenTs

                                                       • Ensure activities engage adults and children:
                                                         “Over there I was career oriented and over here
                                                         can’t get a job but I enjoy being connected to my
                                                         children—doing something for them—learning
                                                         about environment.”
                                                       • Find ways to build connections with neighbours.
                                                       • Offer workshops or opportunities for people to
                                                         gather: “Every time different women come out,
                                                         people appreciate and enjoy these, some of my
                                                         friends are making fun of me—I tell them that I
                                                         am doing these workshops while they talk on the
                                                       • Build communities of support and shared

                                                       • Build a critical analysis of the economic and
                                                       make loCal anD global ConneCtions

                                                         social contexts in which environmental practices
Community insights anD refleCtions on

In the dialogues, we asked participants to share         are situated here in Canada and in the global
engaging their Communities

ideas on strategies, initiatives and approaches that     South. For example, one participant was travel-
would enhance their desire to participate in envi-       ing in the global South and learned that many of
ronmental initiatives. The following sections are a      the people he was meeting were “working poor
summary of these recommendations.                        and their priority is meeting basic needs, basic
                                                         survival and thoughts about the environment
                                                         follows that.”
offer mentorship programs anD opportuni-

                                                       • Create projects that create linkages between
• Our youth participants described the need for
ties for young environmental leaDers

                                                         Canada and countries of the global South. For
  mentors—“someone who has been there…
                                                         example, one community member was recog-
  someone to show you the way, show you the
                                                         nized for a GTA-based mat weaving project that
  loopholes….someone who knows where you are
                                                         reused milk bags to create sleeping mats that
  going, who is passionate, who knows about stuff.
                                                         would be shared with children in the Caribbean.
  Not a common person. Someone who works well
  with young people and who is dedicated and
• Our youth participants asked for more opportu-
  nities—“I’ve had ideas and all I have needed is a
  mentor and a little money.”

diversity research report 2012                                                                           41
communicating                                            Table 29 — comforT wiTh receiving
                                                         informaTion in english
with & reaching                                             Please raTe your comforT WiTh receivinG informa-
Diverse communities                                              Tion abouT The environmenT in enGlish:

This section explores strategies for communicating
with and reaching diverse communities in envi-
                                                                                             very        someWhaT
                                                           communiTy of focus

ronmental initiatives. In our dialogues, we asked         All Communities                     70.6%       24.5%
                                                                                          comforTable   comforTable

participants to share examples of powerful envi-
ronmental messages and we asked for their views                                               69.9%       25.2%
around the qualities of an effective message.
     In this section we also highlight survey findings    Hispanic
                                                                                              59.6%       31.9%
for the following:                                        Respondents
                                                          South Asian
                                                                                              73.8%       22.5%
• Question 21—Asked respondents to indicate all           Respondents
  the newspapers they read regularly.
• Questions 22–23—Asked respondents to share if
  and how they use social media.
                                                         Table 30 — assessmenT of language skills

• Question 24—Asked respondents to indicate
                                                         for all communiTies

  where they go for information on the environ-
                                                         (Rated Average out of 4 with 4 = Fully Able)

• Question 25—Asked respondents to indicate the
  best way to share environmental messages.
• Question 28—Asked respondents to assess their
  comfort with receiving information in English.

Table 29 shows that the majority of all respondents
english as a language of CommuniCation

were very comfortable receiving environmental
information in English. Levels of comfort were con-
sistent across the Chinese and South Asian respon-
dents but dropped slightly for Hispanic respondents.
The majority of survey respondents are fully able
or functionally able to read and understand English.
Survey respondents are less able to speak and write
in English as Table 30 shows. Consistent with com-
fort levels, Hispanic respondents self-assessed their
language skills lower than their counterparts from
the other two communities of focus.

diversity research report 2012                                                                                    42
Table 31 shows that the majority of survey respon-
using soCial meDia                                           communicating with
dents have accounts with Facebook, while nearly
                                                             and reaching
two-thirds use YouTube and slightly more than a
quarter of respondents use Twitter. As we explored
                                                             chinese ParticiPants
how respondents use Facebook, we learned that
while some do read messages and open links to                Chinese respondents read a variety of newspapers
                                                             reaChing Communities through meDia

articles, fewer post messages or links to articles           with national, city and local coverage of news and
(see Table 32). There was a correspondence                   stories, including the Toronto Star and Metro. Sing
between levels of use of social media and lower              Tao was the Chinese language paper that was most
levels of interest for environmental initiatives that        read. In addition to these newspapers, respondents
involved blogging or sharing of ideas using social           also shared that they read on-line news sources
media. These findings were consistent across the             including the Huffington Post, New York Times and
three communities.                                           yahoo.com.

Table 31 — social meDia use for                              Table 33 — newspapers reaD by chinese
all communiTies                                              responDenTs

                                                                 check all The PaPers ThaT you read reGularly:

                                                                  ansWer oPTions            resPonse PercenT

                                                               Toronto Star                      57.8%

                                                               Metro                             49.4%

                                                               Sing Tao                          30.1%

                                                               Globe and Mail                    24.1%

                                                               24 Hours                          24.1%

                                                               Ming Pao                          21.7%

                                                               World Journal                     16.9%

                                                               Toronto Sun                        6.0%

                                                               National Post                      6.0%
Table 32 — ways of using social meDia for
all communiTies

                                                               Now Weekly                         4.8%
(Rated average out of 4 with 4 = very often and 1 = never)

                                                               Sunday Times                       3.6%

                                                               Hindi Times                        1.2%

diversity research report 2012                                                                                   43
In terms of social media, the survey shows that of
the 88 respondents:
                                                         Table 34 — besT ways To share
                                                         environmenTal informaTion wiTh

• 90.9% use Facebook
                                                         chinese responDenTs

• 65.9% use YouTube
• 31.8% use Twitter
• Under 5% are using Pinterest and Foursquare.

In the comments section, respondents added Tum-
blr, Microblog or blogs. The survey also shows that
participants are more likely to read messages and
articles on Facebook and Twitter than they are to
post messages or links.

The majority of Chinese respondents selected the
sourCes of environmental information

internet as the first place that they go to get infor-
mation about an environmental issue. One partici-
pant suggested hosting environmental workshops in
libraries as this is a gathering place for newcomers.
Based on comments shared, respondents begin their
search in Google and also visit websites for specific
environmental NGOs.
     When asked how environmental information
should be shared with them, respondents chose
web-based resources and newspapers, as shown in
Table 34.

diversity research report 2012                                                            44
                                                        • Draw the connections and show interdependen-
In terms of the language of communication, sixty-         cies. For example, a sticker on a paper towel
language of CommuniCation

nine percent of respondents noted that they were          dispenser could read: “this sticker could save mil-
very comfortable and twenty-five percent were             lions of trees” or “save the earth, save yourself.”
somewhat comfortable receiving environmental            • Encourage people to ask new questions. For
information in English.                                   example, an advertisement of a cow and dog
                                                          could ask the question, “why do I love one and
                                                          eat one?”
                                                        • Encourage responsibility. For example, Hong
Chinese partiCipants refleCteD on

                                                          Kong is your home and environmental protec-
powerful environmental messages

                                                          tion is up to you (with the image of a senior and a
                                                          child picking up garbage together).
ConneCt messages to our lives anD

• “I am reminded of an incident when I saw an ad

                                                        • Remind us of our responsibilities to the next
  at the university bus stop, outside of China Town.
  I saw a Chinese lumberjack…I took the photo and
  shared it with friends.”                              • Stir emotion. For example, rescue earth, rescue
                                                          us with pictures of animals from a shelter.
• “The way environmental values are communi-
  cated within Canada doesn’t necessarily connect       • Show the impacts. Use the model of cigarette ads
  with values in the Chinese community.”                  that show the impact in stark images.
• “Share message that unites communities.”              • Show people how they are helping. Connect and
                                                          personalize their actions to resulting benefits.

• “Make the connection between saving money and
ConneCt messages to finanCial benefits

  helping the environment—saving money would
                                                        group-generateD examples of

  get my attention.”                                    • Protect your life and the environment.
                                                        powerful messages

• “Create a savings calculator—can we translate         • Spread the word and value water.
  savings if air conditioners are shut off?”
                                                        • Value every drop with the image of crystal water.
                                                        • Everything green; no cars.
• “Compel engagement through signs that warn of
ConneCt messages to the law anD fines

                                                        • Don’t stomp on me, I am hurt (in a garden).
  fines—five thousand dollar penalty if you throw
  garbage in Chinatown.”                                • Have you done something for your planet today?

• “Only warning and penalties will work.”               • Picture of the scales of justice and the question,
                                                          what do you want?
                                                        • Protect the environment, start from small things.
• Include an invitation to participate
elements of a powerful message

                                                        • Hong Kong is my home, keeping it clean depends
• Include a focused call to action: “I only have the      on you.
  attention span for a little bit so one very action-
  able focused message coming at me a hundred
  different ways.”
• Use humour and fun. For example, an advertise-
  ment for growing trees could have a person holding
  a piñata which would otherwise hang from the
  tree if there was one.

diversity research report 2012                                                                              45
                                                       The majority of respondents selected the internet
communicating with                                     sourCes of environmental information

                                                       as the first place that they went to for information
and reaching
                                                       about an environmental issue. Based on comments
                                                       shared, respondents obtained information from
hisPanic ParticiPants

                                                       the Discovery Channel, Environment Canada and
Hispanic respondents mainly read Metro, Toronto        National Geographic. Eight percent of participants
reaChing Communities through meDia

Star and 24 Hours. El Popular was the Spanish lan-     chose community organizations and social media as
guage paper that was most read. In addition to these   alternative sources of information.
newspapers, respondents also read a number of               When asked how environmental information
other Spanish language papers from their countries     should be shared with them, this particular group
and regions of origin.                                 of respondents spread their responses across a
                                                       number of tools. Table 36 shows that Hispanic
                                                       respondents chose newspapers, the radio and re-
                                                       sources on the web in equal number. Other popular
Table 35 — newspapers reaD by

                                                       mechanisms included community meetings, flyers/
hispanic responDenTs

    check all The PaPers ThaT you read reGularly:      posters, schools and workshops.

                                                       Table 36 — besT ways To share
     ansWer oPTions            resPonse PercenT        environmenTal informaTion wiTh

 Metro                              79.1%
                                                       hispanic responDenTs

 Toronto Star                       51.2%
 24 Hours                           48.8%
 El Popular                         32.6%
 Globe and Mail                     25.6%
 Correo Canadiense                  23.3 %
 Toronto Sun                        11.6%
 National Post                       7.0%

In terms of social media, the survey shows that of
the 33 respondents:

• 75% use Facebook
• 24% use Twitter
• 69% use YouTube
• 3% use Pinterest.

Respondents added Tumblr and hi5 as other ex-
amples of social media.
    The survey also shows that participants are
more likely to read messages and articles on Face-
book and Twitter than they are to post messages or

diversity research report 2012                                                                           46
In terms of the language of communication, fifty-
language of CommuniCation                               communicating with and
nine percent of respondents noted that they were
                                                        reaching south asian
very comfortable and thirty-one percent were some-
what comfortable receiving environmental informa-

tion in English.
                                                        South Asian respondents mainly read the Toronto
                                                        reaChing Communities through meDia

                                                        Star and Metro. Hindi Times was the Hindi-English
                                                        language paper that was most read. In addition to
hispaniC partiCipants refleCteD on

                                                        these newspapers, respondents also read on-line
powerful environmental messages

                                                        sources such as bbc.ca, Google news and national
• Know the community, see the community.                newspapers from countries of origin.
Create inClusive anD partiCipatory messages

• Messages should be persuasive and relate to
  them—show how you are able to benefit.                Table 37 — newspapers reaD by
                                                        souTh asian responDenTs

• Use music to catch attention.
elements of a powerful message

• Use active messages; show how a community can
                                                            check all The PaPers ThaT you read reGularly:

  contribute.                                                ansWer oPTions            resPonse PercenT

• Use simple ads. For example, “flick it off” for       Toronto Star                        54.4%
  turning off the lights.
• Use more visuals than text: messages need to be       Metro                               54.4%
  more than green and blue.
                                                        24 Hours                            36.8%
• Show the impact: consider using campaigns like
  they do for cigarettes with graphic warning labels.   Globe and Mail                      35.3 %
• Show how we are all vulnerable when the
  environment is in decline.                            National Post                       16.2%

• Use concrete examples of environmental                Hindi Times                         16.2%
• Show they are personally affected because people      Toronto Sun                         11.8%
  don’t know these affects.
                                                        South Asian Observer                 8.8%

                                                        Sunday Times                         7.4%
• “Get hands on.”
examples of powerful messages

• “Youth in control.”                                   Now Weekly                           5.9%

• “One world—save it!”                                  World Journal                        2.9%
• “Spread the word”
                                                        Vaikarai                             1.5%
• “Cool story bro, recycle more.”
• “Let’s care about our future.”

diversity research report 2012                                                                              47
In terms of social media, the survey shows that of
the 67 respondents:
                                                       Table 38 — besT ways To share
                                                       environmenTal informaTion wiTh

• 83% use Facebook
                                                       souTh asian responDenTs

• 62% use YouTube
• 22% use Twitter.

The survey also shows that participants are slightly
more likely to read messages and articles on Face-
book and Twitter than they are to post messages or

The majority of respondents selected the internet
sourCes of environmental information

as the first place that they went to for informa-
tion about an environmental issue. Environmental
organizations were the second source at twelve
percent followed by community organizations at
eight percent.
     When asked how environmental information
should be shared with them, this particular group
of respondents spread their responses across a
number of tools. They chose newspapers, schools,
the radio and resources on the web.

In terms of the language of communication, seventy-
language of CommuniCation

three percent of respondents noted that they were
very comfortable and twenty-two percent were
somewhat comfortable receiving environmental
information in English.

diversity research report 2012                                                          48
                                                      • Use statistics. Show me a chart, statistics, facts
                                                        I can use.
south asian partiCipants refleCteD on

                                                      • Share the benefits.
powerful environmental messages

                                                      • Show how everything is integrated and interde-
ConneCt messages to our lives, experienCes

• “Profile community role models—put the faces of       pendent.
anD stories

  the people we care about on posters.”               • Share the impacts on children and future
• “Change the face of the environmental                 generations.
  movement—create a different face and image
  of the environmental movement. We need
  to ask for that.”
                                                      group generateD examples of

                                                      • “Protect your life and the environment.”
                                                      powerful messages

• “Profile the stories that matter—I wanted to
  know about tsunami because it affected me.”         • “This is our future.”
• Use themes of food, gossip and aunties to talk
  about the environment. One participant noted,
  “we had a mint-chutney party using all the mint
  we grew in our yard.”

• “Share how you can spend so little on food if you
ConneCt messages to savings

  grow your own vegetables.”
• “Build ten dollar success stories of culturally
  appropriate meals prepared from the garden.”
• “Show cost benefit analysis: for example, what
  are the financial savings that result from less
  garbage pick-up.”

• Connect to values of respect and caring: respect
elements of a powerful message

  community, and neighbours.
• Be clear about acceptable and unacceptable
  behavior: for example, a picture of someone
  littering with an X through it.
• Use visuals and limit the number of words.

diversity research report 2012                                                                               49
section 2b—
primary research finDings
(leaDers rounD table)
The leaders round table brought together              happening in countries of the North and the impacts
seventeen leaders from the environmental and          of these actions and policies on countries of the
community service sectors. We also met with three     global South. Participants asked questions about
other community leaders individually. The round       power and observed that it is economically poorer
table included leaders from our three communities     communities in Canada and the global South that
of focus and leaders of environmental organizations   disproportionately bear the impacts of Northern
and/or projects. We used this meeting as an           policies and priorities.
opportunity to explore:                                    One leader observed that “the environment is
                                                      always tied to the economy” with economic growth
• Environmental messages, learnings or                being prioritized to the detriment of the envi-
  activities that were a catalyst for environmental   ronment. Noticing patterns of consumption and
  engagement.                                         overconsumption in Northern countries provides
                                                      the necessary context to a global reality marked by
• Driving and restraining forces affecting environ-   issues of food security and the right to water.
  mental engagement of diverse communities.                One leader, who grew up in East Africa,
• The needs of organizational leaders as they work    remembers visiting the UK and her feeling of being
  to engage their communities in environmental        “outraged by what I saw.” She names the double
  initiatives.                                        standards of Northern countries who speak to
                                                      conservation and sustainability while living with
                                                      “two cars, the lights on and huge financial debt.”
Driving & restraining
                                                      use integrated and
forces affecting envi-                                holistic aPProaches to
ronmental engagement                                  community develoPment
                                                      and conservation
                                                      Leaders spoke about the need to create even stronger
connect the
                                                      linkages between the environmental and commu-
                                                      nity development sectors, noting with hope that
environmental movement

                                                      “social justice movements are beginning to connect
to global issues
                                                      the dots.” One leader was concerned that the “move-
                                                      ment is disconnected from the social and economic
“Consumer society—the very criteria for de-

                                                      constraints” that newcomers and racialized commu-
velopment is problematic and we don’t know
                                                      nities face in the GTA. There was general agreement
—Organizational Leader
yet all the impacts on the environment.”
                                                      that there is a need to resist falsely compartmental-
                                                      izing issues, as these silos become a barrier to wider
In one small group, participants spent time           participation of diverse communities.
examining the global context in which the Canadian
environmental movement is situated. They argued
for the need to strengthen the link between what is

diversity research report 2012                                                                           50
One group explored what it would look like to tie        asked “how do we tap into practices that are not
environmental issues more explicitly to the health of    labelled environmental” and that they may get us
individuals and communities living in the GTA. They      closer to the “actual language of what environmen-
played with the language of social determinants of       tal means.”
health to consider the “environmental determinants
of health.”
                                                         The use of English was also considered a barrier,
                                                         use languages other than english

                                                         hindering people’s ability to access environmental
                                                         information and opportunities within the move-
aDDress Class privilege anD

Leaders identified class privilege as a force that may   ment. It was felt that at the very least public infor-
eConomiC Disparities

hinder the participation of diverse communities in       mation about the environment should be distrib-
environmental initiatives. One leader shared that        uted in languages other than English and French.
his organization works to proactively address issues     Others believed that participation would increase
stemming from poverty and that has brought a focus       if programs were delivered in different languages,
on public transit in the GTA (Scarborough specifical-    noting that while “translation helps but even that
ly). A holistic approach asks us to consider not only    inhibits participation.” This leader explained that
what is good for the environment as well as what is      her community members were able to engage more
good for those living in poverty and with financial      fully when they were speaking in their own lan-
insecurity.                                              guage, without pausing for translation.

rethink language                                         recognize the knowledge,
translate “environmentalism”                             skills and exPeriences

The notion of language was explored from a num-
anD “environmental“                                      within diverse communities
ber of angles at the round table. Questions surfaced
around whether the terms “environmentalism” and
                                                         learn about anD from the environmental

“environmental” are themselves barriers. Similar to      Leaders described the potential for environmental
                                                         praCtiCes of Diverse Communities

our dialogue groups, participants discussed percep-      organizations to work effectively across differences
tions of the words and how they have been infused        of race, ethnicity and language. For this to happen,
with meaning; they wondered if there is a way to         they argued that the deficit approach to working
broaden understandings of what is considered             with diverse ethno-racial communities has to
“environmental.” One leader noted that “we need          change. They describe a context where the envi-
[a] more consistent and inclusive narrative on what      ronmental knowledge and practices of newcomer
environment means.”                                      communities are “diminished” or are “ignored.” One
     The principle concern was that there may be         leader worried and resented that this deficit ap-
many people engaged in environmental practices,          proach is informing programs that position “young
but by another name or with a different understand-      people…as the agents of change in immigrant com-
ing. It was for this reason that one leader stressed     munities” because the assumption is that parents,
the need to find ways to “communicate environmen-        with closer ties to places of origin, need fixing.
tal messages in ‘their’ language. Every culture has           One leader shared that “when we talk about the
nuances with language.” She stressed that commu-         environmental movement, we could bring more con-
nicating with diverse ethno-cultural communities         nections if we really acknowledge what is going on
does not automatically entail translation but that it    in places like India or Bangladesh and the strengths
does require cultural competency. Another leader         and knowledge of people who come here.” For the
                                                         movement to be more diverse, leaders believed that
                                                         there needs to be a sustained commitment to end
                                                         Eurocentric ways of thinking and engaging.

diversity research report 2012                                                                               51
strongly Disagree with the assumption                    recognize the caPacity
As the knowledge and practices of diverse ethno-
of Disinterest
                                                         of communities and build
racial communities is erased, it is then replaced by
a strong narrative that describes the “disinterest” of
                                                         A commitment to work in partnership becomes
these same communities in environmental practices        more likely if there is a shared belief that com-
and initiatives. One leader said:“I respectfully beg     munities and their organizations offer skills and
to strongly disagree” with the myth of disinterest       capacity. Leaders distinguished partnerships from
or any calls to change “their” cultures. One leader      outreach that positions communities as the targets
shared how the newcomer groups she works with            or “objects” of programs rather than as collabora-
worry about the environment even as they are             tors in delivering a program. As partners, the role of
trying to find jobs and secure housing, as evidenced     communities shifts to a more active one where they
by the number of listener calls on Voces Latina, a       are jointly negotiating the terms of engagement and
Spanish radio station. When environmental issues         priorities.
are discussed, listeners call in with questions about         The shark fin issue was raised by some dialogue
climate change, pesticides, organic gardening, non-      participants and an organizational leader; there
toxic cleaning products, etc. Another assumption         was some agreement that “the shark fin issue was a
that a leader challenged was the myth that “seniors      catastrophe. It was done the wrong way and did not
can’t learn new things.”                                 consult with the community.” Another leader work-
                                                         ing on issues of increasing access to public transit
                                                         for community members described how “downtown
                                                         activists” are coming to Scarborough, pushing for
                                                         the LRT but without having made any links with
One leader suggested we “flip the assumptions
builD an inClusive movement

                                                         activists of colour.
and look at how communities are being environ-
                                                              Working in partnership allows:
mental.” With this as the starting assumption, space
is created to engage with the complexities and
contradictions that exist in all communities. As one     • Partners to experiment with different
leader shared, there is a tendency to see newcom-          methodologies, including experiential learning.
ers as “either the purest in environmental terms or      • Smaller community-based groups to strengthen
the opposite.” To choose between romanticizing or          their social networks and build connections.
pathologizing communities misnames reality and
does nothing to advance the goals of sustainability      • Mainstream environmental organizations to
or learning across communities.                            benefit from existing linkages with diverse media
      The onus to build this inclusive movement is on      outlets, including radio, print and television.
those who are already a part of it, as insiders. One     • Smaller organizations to access financing for
leader suggested that the environment is something         projects.
that has such a potential to bring people together
but that if they are not “joining our movement then      • Staff in each organization to build capacity in
it is something we are not doing.” Leaders noted           different areas.
that building an inclusive movement relies also on
including women.

diversity research report 2012                                                                               52
                                                        Environmental leaders were interested in finding
                                                        ways to raise the profile of their own organizations
deePen and extend environ-
                                                        with a wider community. There was the observa-
mental engagement
The group acknowledged that environmental               tion that communities “know where their library
conversation has very much become a part of             is, where their CHC (community health centre)
everyday life for residents in the GTA though not all   is but, not where the local ENGO (environmental
leaders were comfortable attributing this lifestyle     non-governmental organization) is.” The hope is to
to Western environmental movements with one             “mainstream” environmental organizations in the
leader expressing that the idea that “the three Rs is   community.
Western is a mythology.”                                     One youth leader shared how he is “big on
     As these everyday actions become more en-          encouraging bigger organizations to support or fund
trenched in the lives of GTA residents, some leaders    smaller groups of youth to do a lot more. One of
wondered how to “raise it to a level of conscious-      the best ways of recognizing a movement is to help
ness” that connects practice and environmental          them. We need to profile and spotlight diversity.
outcomes more explicitly. Others explored how to        What are the diverse stories we can profile?”
move along the continuum of engagement so that
the voices of diverse communities could be heard at
the policy level. They worried about a whole set of
                                                        use an anti-racism lens
other barriers that block engagement at this level.
Some worried that the “environmental movement
                                                        to guide the work with

is built on feel good and short-term efforts” and
                                                        diverse ethno-racial
others shared that “if we only engage people on just
everyday change, we are not getting to the heart of     A few leaders shared their belief that the movement
the issues.”                                            and efforts to engage diverse communities could be
                                                        strengthened through the cultivation and applica-
                                                        tion of an anti-racism lens. There was a sense that
                                                        this analysis would help organizations work with
                                                        any ethno-racial community and understand the
leaDers iDentifieD
                                                        particular challenges they each face.
                                                             Anti-racism also shines a light on inequities
their neeDs
                                                        and forces us to ask questions about the current dis-
                                                        tribution of resources in ways that are profoundly
recognize their
                                                        racialized. One leader wondered how “stereotypes
Professional exPertise and
                                                        about communities’ relationships to the environ-
                                                        ment affected their engagement in the movement.”
Profile their innovations
Leaders asked that larger organizations recognize
their expertise and innovations in program design       Another wondered about how environmental
and delivery. This need for recognition comes out       activists of colour are treated within mainstream
of past experiences where methodologies and ideas       environmental organizations and the movement
have been borrowed without attribution. One             more broadly.
leader stated that “we want to be recognized as
experts in community animation—grounded in a

diversity research report 2012                                                                            53
                                                       ity while another leader noted her concern that
                                                       “ENGOs are often left out—they are not seen or
exPlore strategic
                                                       approached” and shared the example that when
PartnershiPs and
                                                       settlement organizations wanted to do environmen-
                                                       tal work they went to school boards rather than
coalition building
                                                       sector experts.
                                                            Partnerships and coalitions were explored by
“Need partnerships and resources to make

                                                       the group as a way to link larger organizations with
this work more meaningful. I don’t have the
                                                       more grassroots ones. Others also saw benefits in
capacity to go to the ‘mainstream’, like the
                                                       having mid-sized organizations partner with larger
Ministry of the Environment but perhaps
                                                       ones, including libraries and parks and recreation
—Participant, Leaders round table                      departments given their reach into diverse commu-
organizations such as Earth Day Canada do.”

                                                       nities across the GTA.
Leaders recognized that coalition building is neces-        Building trust and relationships with First
sary now more than ever but also recognized the        Nations communities was also named as a commit-
challenges in bringing together sectors that have      ment for diverse communities in Canada. One leader
not historically collaborated. One leader observed     said, “we need to acknowledge that we can learn.
how funders may require organizations to “choose”      We should look at First Nations as strategic part-
settlement or environment as criteria for eligibil-    ners. We are immigrants and we are on this land.”

diversity research report 2012                                                                          54
section 3—
seconDary research finDings
(interviews anD literature review)
The secondary research focused on diversity                   priorities, commitments, and values. According to
engagement undertaken across many sectors in                  Ahmed, in organizations, “the languages of diversity
Canada. The research explored the types of diversity          are mobilized in various ways by different actors
engagement being undertaken in government, non-               within them” (pp. 51–52).
profit and the private sectors in Canada in order
to determine the best practices employed by these
inclusion initiatives. Additionally, we looked at a           Inclusion is a term that has gained increasing
                                                              unDerstanDing inClusion

number of established and emerging environmental              popularity due to the way it can be distinguished
initiatives within diverse communities in the GTA in          from the notion of participation. Whereas participa-
order to learn how they became effective and what             tion involves inviting many people to provide input
keeps them sustainable.                                       into a given process or organization, inclusion “is
     This section is divided into three parts that include:   oriented to making connections among people,
                                                              across issues, and over time” (Quick & Feldman,
                                                              2011, p. 274). Enhancing participation implies
• What are diversity and inclusion?
                                                              bringing more (diverse) individuals into a currently
• Why are diversity and inclusion important?                  existing institutional framework, but enhancing
                                                              inclusion means involving people in ways that allow
• What does diversity and inclusion look like in
                                                              their input to transform the very structure of those
                                                              institutions. As Eckstein (1984) claimed, it involves
                                                              changing “subjects” into “citizens.” Thus, when
                                                              organizations talk about fostering greater inclusion,
                                                              it means not only bringing more diverse individuals
what are Diversity &
                                                              in, but doing so in a way that reflects and responds
                                                              to their unique issues, priorities, and interests.
a diversity and
inclusion aPProach                                            infusing diversity with

Diversity is a difficult and broad concept. The con-
unDerstanDing Diversity

cept includes things such as race, ethnicity, religion,
                                                              perspeCtives from Community

gender, class, sexuality, and ability. Moreover, these        The way diversity is defined often reflects institu-

are not static concepts, but processes that overlap,          tional objectives. For example, community organiza-
intersect, and take on different significance in dif-         tions incorporate the term in a broad sense, allow-
ferent interactions and different situations (James,          ing for the flexibility to interpret and reinterpret
2003, 25). Ahmed (2012) pointed out that diversity            their objectives to fit their changing requirements
is a ubiquitous term. It appears in many organiza-            and mandates. For example, some community
tions’ official statements and is represented in their        groups we spoke with described their diversity
promotional images. Diversity is used as a way of             work as a part of their commitment to incorporate
describing an organization, as a quality or attribute         antiracism into their organizational programming
of an organization, and/or as an expression of its

diversity research report 2012                                                                                   55
for Chinese community members living in the             know. Many of these organizations are based in, or
GTA. Others understood diversity through the            initiated by, diverse communities and the ability to
waves of Hispanic immigration and settlement in         provide culturally accessible service is a necessary
Canada and for others, diversity was a way to           aspect of their everyday work. In these organiza-
recognize the differences that exist within the         tions, what is often defined in educational institu-
South Asian community.                                  tions and organizations as “cultural competence”
                                                        was simply required in order to carry out their work.
perspeCtives from the publiC anD
                                                        diversity makes good sense
Governmental agencies and departments tend to           Governmental and non-governmental agencies have
private seCtors

ascribe the term diversity to officially designated     increasingly adopted work on diversity and inclu-
groups: Aboriginals, women, visible minorities,         sion as not only a moral imperative, but as key to
people with disabilities, and the LGBT community        the effective and responsible provision of services.
in order to comply with existing legislation. Private   While many government agencies have focused on
companies target specific communities under their       diversity and inclusion for decades, the people we
diversity initiatives in order to reach underserved     spoke with noted that this work has intensified in
populations.                                            the last ten years due to the recognition that the
     In all cases, the formal mandate and goals of      demographic makeup of Canada is changing and
an organization and their efforts, both formal and      the public service’s obligation to reflect and deliver
informal, towards greater inclusion affect the way      responsive services absolutely necessitates the
diversity is conceptualized.                            ability to effectively work with diverse communi-
                                                        ties. Increasingly, these agencies—and educational
                                                        institutions—are also recognizing that framing
                                                        diversity initiatives in managerial or business terms
                                                        is an effective way to elicit organizational and senior
why are Diversity &
inclusion important?                                    management support. Two participants at the City
                                                        and Provincial levels noted that senior government
While the organizations and sectors we engaged
                                                        responds more enthusiastically to the “business
have different incentives for incorporating diversity
                                                        case” for diversity.
and working towards greater inclusion, their ratio-
                                                             Private companies and organizations empha-
nales tend to converge. There was wide acknowl-
                                                        size the strategic business advantages of removing
edgement that reaching out to underrepresented
                                                        barriers and incorporating diversity into their or-
groups is important for two fundamental reasons:
                                                        ganizations. While the individuals we spoke with
1) It is the right thing to do and 2) It makes good
                                                        mentioned the moral and symbolic importance of
                                                        adequately representing the diversity of Canadian
                                                        society, they emphasized that their commitment
                                                        and constant search for innovative approaches to
                                                        incorporating diversity is very much good business
diversity as the right thing
                                                        practice. Internally, the goal is to attract, retain and
to do
The notion of incorporating diversity as the right      engage top talent and an open, collaborative and
thing to do speaks to the fundamental values of the     diverse workplace is considered more effective and
different companies and organizations. For commu-       dynamic because it allows the company to utilize the
nity-driven organizations, focusing on diversity and    broad range of skills employees bring to an organi-
inclusion seemed almost unremarkable because            zation. Externally, removing barriers and reaching
it has always been a fundamental aspect of their        out to diverse communities is an important way to
attitude and behaviour. One organizational leader       attract and retain new customers.
emphasized that diversity is built into everything
the organization does and is thus the only lens they

diversity research report 2012                                                                               56
In all sectors there was recognition that incorporat-    sources actually available to carry out the work. The
ing diversity and working towards greater inclusion      result is that individuals and communities become
is the right way to operate. It is also the smart, or    disillusioned and wary, especially since there are
strategic, way to do business in a diverse society.      often many different organizations approaching
                                                         community groups for their commitment and exper-
                                                         tise. One participant shared that “you can’t boil the
                                                         ocean,” emphasizing the necessity of maintaining
                                                         realistic and achievable goals. In addition, diversity
what Does Diversity &
inclusion look like in                                   and inclusion require time and sustained commit-
                                                         ment. Many of the organizations we spoke with
                                                         emphasized that it took years of work before they
                                                         started to really see the results of their work.
diversity statements and
A review of different organizations and government
                                                         dilemma of raising caPital
agencies across Canada reveals that diversity and
                                                         without “cultural caPital”
inclusion are explicitly stated commitments. Most of     Community-driven organizations are constantly
the organizations we spoke with had some written         seeking out new sources of funding. Often, the
statement or mandate emphasizing their commit-           money they receive is for short-term projects and
ment to diversity. But there was general agreement       much of the work these groups do involves writ-
that while these statements may be necessary and         ing and submitting proposals to multiple funding
important, they are not sufficient. The real success     organizations. This constant insecurity leads to high
of diversity and inclusion initiatives is determined     degrees of stress and a large amount of employee
by the sustained on-the-ground work of the or-           turnover. Some of the organizations we spoke with
ganization within targeted communities. In fact,         have dedicated staff time to work with and assist
too much focus on developing plans and written           community organizations in submitting proposals
statements leads to a sense of “document fatigue” in     and securing sustainable funding.
which employees in diversity and inclusion initia-            Both large organizations and smaller community
tives complain of “doing the document rather than        groups identified cultural capital as a significant
doing the doing” (Ahmed, 2012, p. 86). Repeatedly,       component to diversity and inclusion initiatives.
we heard that real accomplishments are made              Cultural capital refers to the accumulated knowl-
through the physical act of connecting with different    edge, education, and experience that are inherited
community organizations and leaders to establish         by dominant groups in any society (Yosso, 2005). It
relationships, form commitments and define priori-       not only includes formal education and experience,
ties. According to Bacchi and Eveline (2009), the        but all of the informal rules and practices that are
idea that diversity and inclusion are goals that are     encouraged and valued in social and economic inter-
not accomplished through policy documents, but           actions. In this context, the ability, or more likely
through sustained engagement, blurs the distinction      comfort to navigate bureaucracies and to advocate
between process and outcomes.                            for resources, funding, and support, is more familiar
                                                         to more established individuals and organizations
                                                         (to whom, additionally, the notion of exclusion may
                                                         also be unfamiliar). Therefore there is a need to
                                                         both facilitate capacity-building within community
defining frameworks

                                                         organizations and to foster a type of inclusion that
and goals
Governmental agencies and private companies did
                                                         can identify and utilize the cultural capital and
emphasize that an organization undertaking diver-
                                                         significant experience and skills that already exist
sity initiatives must have clear goals and priorities.
                                                         among members of diverse communities.
In their enthusiasm to work with new and diverse
communities, there is sometimes a tendency to
make commitments that exceed the time and re-

diversity research report 2012                                                                              57
caPacity-building vs.                                    a local focus
                                                         In terms of encouraging active participation, many
                                                         of the community organizations we spoke to em-
When we discussed involvement in environmen-
tal initiatives with many of the community-driven        phasized the importance of activities that focused
organizations, there was an interesting dichotomy        on people’s immediate surroundings and that had
between those who advocated for the need to create       the potential to bring families and communities
greater awareness among ethno-cultural communi-          together. Community gardens and neighbourhood
ties of the importance of the environment and those      beautification projects have the capacity to involve
who maintained that there is not only an existing        different generations and convey a sense of pride
awareness of the importance of the environment           and ownership in a community. The immediacy and
but that there are many individuals whose skills and     practicality of these types of initiatives appeal to
expertise have been unnoticed and unutilized by          community members. They provide a potential en-
the environmental sector. In some cases we actually      try into broader discussions about the importance
spoke with individuals who worked on environ-            of the environment.
mental initiatives in a professional capacity in other
countries but upon coming to Canada, began other
work because either that was where they were able
                                                         a global focus
                                                         Conversely, a broader global focus engages diverse
to find employment or that was where they recog-
                                                         communities’ symbolic and affective ties to other
nized their skills would be most useful in assisting
                                                         countries. Issues of environmental racism and food
others. This speaks not only to the persistent issue
                                                         security were mentioned as concerns of immedi-
of recognizing foreign credentials among Cana-
                                                         ate and recognizable importance in many areas.
dian immigrants, but to the issue of diversity more
                                                         The broader focus on global environmental issues
broadly as the Canadian context often creates differ-
                                                         also allows organizations to utilize the significant
ent priorities for racialized and ethnic communities.
                                                         expertise and experience of many individuals within
It necessitates that the environmental sector works
                                                         certain ethno-cultural communities. Global issues
to identify individuals from diverse communities
                                                         and global engagement are prominent concerns for
with knowledge and background in environmental
                                                         many Canadians, but are often structured and pre-
issues, as well as to appreciate how, for these indi-
                                                         sented in a way that privileges middle-class, often
viduals and communities, environmental concern
                                                         white, individuals. Charania (2011) writes, “While
intersects with issues of racism, health and quality
                                                         the global engagement efforts of Northerners are
of life.
                                                         often encouraged and applauded, symbolically and
                                                         materially, similar acknowledgement and payoffs
                                                         are rarely granted to community workers and pro-
                                                         fessionals from the South, particularly when they
resonance and relevance
In order to elicit and sustain the involvement of
diverse communities, both the community-driven           emigrate to the global North” (p. 357). Frequently,
organizations and the different agencies and sectors     mainstream discourses position people in other
emphasized the necessity of linking organizational       countries as victims in need of aid, rather than
objectives and projects to issues that have some         recognizing the significant potential to engage
practical resonance in the lives of individuals in       professionals, scholars, activists and community
focus communities. This involves consulting with         members as partners or leaders in their ability to
different communities to learn what they consider        define and organize around global environmental
important as well as designing initiatives that will     issues. Global issues, undertaken without the ac-
engage families and communities. For environmen-         tive partnership and participation of people who
tal organizations, we heard that this means aligning     represent these diverse communities, account to
organizational goals with the interests of diverse       little more than what Andreottia (2006) labels new
communities. Sometimes these interests are practi-       “civilizing missions” (p. 41) reminiscent of earlier
cal in that they are immediately local, and some-        forms of colonization.
times they are more global in their outlook.

diversity research report 2012                                                                             58
This is why inclusion is vital. We were repeatedly         that have had success in their diversity and inclu-
informed that it is a mistake to simply assume what        sion initiatives have had it largely through finding
will appeal to specific cultural communities. For          ways to effectively leverage these relationships. This
example, we were told that while food is central to        recognition has led to the popularity of the notion
many immigrant and ethnic communities, essential-          of embedding diversity. Both private corporations
izing this approach is reductive and patronizing.          and government agencies have recently emphasized
Instead, priorities need to be identified and devel-       the necessity of moving beyond diversity and inclu-
oped through continual consultation.                       sion as something that is simply added on to their
                                                           existing organizational structures and embedding
                                                           it within their day-to-day work. In large part, they
                                                           have accomplished this by relying on both internal
social caPital and
                                                           and external networks for constant feedback and
                                                           support in the development of all of their projects
organizational facilitation
Underlying all of these considerations, and central
to the success of all of the organizations undergoing      and initiatives. In essence, they utilize social capital
diversity initiatives, has been the effective develop-     to expand the cultural capital of their organization.
ment and utilization of social capital. While a degree          Two organizations have implemented a reverse
of cultural competence and the identification and          mentoring program where senior management
removal of barriers to participation is essential, the     is paired with more junior employees to learn to
key to eliciting greater participation of diverse and      appreciate various issues and potential barriers
ethno-cultural communities is little different than it     specific to equity-seeking groups. Another organiza-
is for individuals and communities in general. Social      tion relies extensively on their Employee Resource
capital refers to the value of all of an individual’s or   Groups to identify common concerns and to learn
organization’s networks, and the benefits that these       how to reach out more effectively to diverse com-
personal connections have in building relationships        munities. These types of practices not only engage
based on trust, reciprocity and cooperation (Li,           people far more actively than more formal diversity
2004).                                                     statements and commitments, but also foster a
     According to Hampton (2011), the extent               sense of inclusion by allowing people to realize their
and type of a person’s social networks accurately          ability to help shape and define the organization.
predicts levels of democratic engagement (p. 511).
Social capital operates through multiple channels
both formally and informally, and organizations

diversity research report 2012                                                                                  59
section 4—
best principles & best practice
                                                          working across differences. Diversity and inclusion
                                                          thrive as these principles are embedded as values
This section outlines best principles and best practice   and enacted as practice. Taken together, these four
recommendations for organizations to strengthen           principles ensure that engagement with diverse
their capacity to work with diverse communities           communities is sustained, authentic and rooted in
for healthier environments. These principles and          shared purpose.
practices are grounded in the collective insights,
experiences and recommendations of community
members, community leaders, diversity practitio-
ners and communication specialists discovered in
the primary and secondary research components.
                                                          builD inClusive relationships with

     We begin with establishing four best principles
                                                          Community organizations anD

for how to engage with communities and how to
                                                          There was a strong desire to cultivate individual and
                                                          Community members

practice inclusion. These essential principles
                                                          institutional relationships in support of community
provide the foundation for the best practice build-
                                                          building and environmental engagement. Implicit
ing blocks—described further in this section in the
                                                          in this is a desire to know and to be known by oth-
following three areas:
                                                          ers. We heard from community participants that
                                                          they were interested in building these connections
• Best practices in organizational development for        across communities as well. There was an invita-
  diversity and inclusion                                 tion to have conversations, to visit the spaces where
• Best practice recommendations in reaching               the community gathers and to understand the lives
  diverse communities                                     and living conditions of community members. The
                                                          environment was described as “one of those things
• Best practice recommendations in engaging               that bring all people together” and this notion of
  diverse communities.                                    coming together was expressed repeatedly in our
                                                               At the institutional level, leaders named their
                                                          interest in working along a continuum of collabora-
                                                          tion. In addition to one-off collaborations, they were
best principles
Out of the primary and secondary research, we             also looking for ways to come together through
identify four threads that tightly link values with       coalitions and partnerships to advance shared
practice. Community members, leaders, commu-              concerns and priorities. At the round table, leaders
nication specialists and diversity practitioners all      made explicit their desire to come together as part-
spoke to the value of relationships, the need for         ners rather than as targets or objects of outreach.
recognition, the spirit of reciprocity and the criti-     Partnerships would allow community organizations
cal importance of relevance. We offer these as four       to tap into new funding sources and increase the
best principles that provide a foundation from            scale of their work. The notion of relationship build-
which to explore ways of knowing and ways of              ing extended to communication and media entities
                                                          as well.

diversity research report 2012                                                                               60
                                                         In naming this need, community members and leaders
                                                         extend an invitation to mainstream organizations
builDing authentiC anD

Our leaders were clear that relationships take time      to learn with and from their environmental prac-
sustainable relationships

and a sustained commitment. One young leader             tices here in Canada and in their countries of origin.
from a Chinese dialogue noted that “what hinders         There is a commitment and responsibility that
the participation of environmental organizations in      comes with accepting this invitation. The challenge
diverse communities…[is that] they need to build         is to reach a place where the insights, practices and
capacity to know the players and they need to take       participation of diverse Canadians are valued and
time, they need to have grassroots organizations on      considered essential to the Canadian environmental
speed dial and be talking to them.”                      movement.
     Relationships also require that partners bring
an understanding of their own organizational
identity, culture and relative power through size,
funding and cultural capital. In circumstances where
                                                         reCognize the professional expertise anD

organizations are “outsiders” to a community, it         Leaders asked that larger organizations recognize
                                                         innovations of Diverse leaDers

was recommended that connections be cultivated           their professional expertise and innovations in pro-
through local organizations. In a communications         gram design and delivery. This need for recognition
interview, one participant shared that even where        comes out of past experiences where methodologies
there are social identities and experiences in com-      and ideas have been borrowed without attribution.
mon it is still hard to build trust with community       They are seeking opportunities to share their own
members given some of their lived experiences.           areas of expertise within the environmental sector
For those entering relationships as outsiders, trust     and in the spaces where environment, settlement
building is that much harder and closely tied to         and community development converge.
skills in cultural competence.
     Organizations we met with observed that in
their enthusiasm to work with new and diverse
                                                         refleCting on anD letting go of

communities, mainstream organizations may make
                                                         Efforts to transform relationships and move to an
                                                         the assumptions we holD

commitments that exceed the time and resources
                                                         asset driven approach relies on critical reflection
actually available to carry out the work. The result
                                                         and analysis on the part of mainstream organiza-
was that individuals and communities become disil-
                                                         tions. There needs to be an opportunity to think
lusioned and wary, especially since there are often
                                                         through and deconstruct the assumptions that may
many different organizations approaching commu-
                                                         be framing the design of engagement strategies,
nity groups for their commitment and expertise.
                                                         communication tools and programs. In our round
                                                         table, the call to action was to end Eurocentric
                                                         ways of thinking. Specifically, leaders questioned
                                                         the practice of using “young people…as the agents
                                                         of change in immigrant communities” because the
                                                         assumption is that parents, with closer ties to places
reCognize the knowleDge, skills

                                                         of origin, need fixing or need training. Others spoke
anD experienCes of Communities

Leaders and dialogue participants named their            of the absences of diverse points of view and ques-
anD their leaDers

need to be recognized for their knowledge, skills        tioned why mainstream organizations are not more
and experiences. In many ways, this becomes not          open to learning from and profiling the environmen-
only an essential condition, but the foundation for      tal work of international and diaspora communities.
building relationships, partnerships and collabora-
tive engagement across differences of race, ethnicity,
language and place of origin.

diversity research report 2012                                                                              61
A participant also noted that “Earth Day Canada         of their participation. Others described reciprocity
could collect more information on how to protect        in terms of incentives for volunteering in support of
the environment from different countries—compare        an environmental initiative. These incentives could
and share different practices to protect the environ-   include food at events, coverage of transportation
ment from around the world.”                            costs and program designs that would ensure that
     Leaders and participants were most explicit in     volunteers are able to advance other needs like
challenging the assumption that diverse ethno-racial    language learning and networking.
communities are less interested and less engaged in          In recognizing diverse community members
environmental work. One leader asked that we flip       and leaders as insightful and engaged actors, we
this assumption and begin the conversation with         have the basis for building relationships grounded
“how are you involved?” and another young leader        in integrity and reciprocity.
asked that we reframe the question and ask, “what
hinders the participation of environmental orga-
nizations in diverse communities?” This puts the
onus on the larger more mainstream organizations        To elicit and sustain the involvement of diverse

to rethink their own assumptions and strategies for     communities, both the community-driven organiza-
building relationships with diverse communities.        tions and the different agencies and sectors em-
     In moving to an asset based approach that is       phasized the need to link organizational objectives
grounded in relationships, we also create space to      and projects to issues that have practical resonance
work through the complexities, the nuances and the      in the lives of individuals in the focus communi-
contradictions of environmental engagement within       ties. For environmental organizations, we heard
any community. As one leader shared, “there is a        that this means aligning organizational goals with
tendency to see newcomers as either the purest in       the interests of diverse communities. Sometimes
environmental terms or the opposite.” The reality is    these interests were practical in that they were
more in the “in-between.”                               immediately local, and sometimes they were more
                                                        global and conceptual in their outlook. To be able to
                                                        understand and contextualize these priority issues
                                                        and needs depends on connections to these same
The spirit of reciprocity was explored in both          communities, bringing us full circle to the principle

tangible and intangible terms. Reciprocity was          of relationships.
understood to be a valued quality of relationships.
We heard community members and leaders speak
from a place of humility that suggests their open-
ness to be learners and teachers at once. Implicit in
the principle of reciprocity is that individuals from
diverse ethno-racial communities have insights to
offer mainstream organizations. One senior partici-
pant from our Hispanic dialogue shared her hope
that programs could engage “my people in discus-
sions about the environment and all they bring
to Canadian discussions” and another said that “I
would love it if the government of Canada would
give the Hispanic community a chance to teach them
what it means to care for the planet.”
    Reciprocity was also understood in more tan-
gible terms and understood as the mutual benefits
that flow out of relationships. In a communications
interview, one participant described a scenario
where people are “sick and tired of being consulted,
researched” without ever experiencing the benefits

diversity research report 2012                                                                             62
best practices in                                         define diversity—what
                                                          diversity means to us
                                                          The secondary research findings surfaced the
                                                          different ways in which diversity is defined by
                                                          organizations across the public, private and non-
Development for
                                                          profit sectors and how these understandings are
                                                          tied closely to institutional identity and priorities.
Diversity & inclusion
                                                          The organizations we met with use the term
                                                          diversity to reference:
Diversity and inclusion are achieved through
continual practice, “with arrangements that

                                                          • An organizational value that speaks to the
are worked out in coalitions of engagement,”
                                                            benefits of diversity generally
rather than simply implemented or added to

                                                          • An applied lens through which the organization
(Bacchi & Eveline, 2009, p. 13).
existing organizational structures
                                                            conducts its internal and external operations
Due to the broad nature of the term diversity and         • Differences within ethno-racial groups, for
the varying goals of organizations, institutions, and       example supporting a movement away from
sectors working towards diversity and inclusion, it         Indo-centric perspectives of South Asian
is difficult to define a concrete set of best practices     communities
related to organizational development. Indeed,
when it comes to working with diversity, it has been      • A commitment to anti-racism
argued that the need for continual adaptation and         • A list of priority dimensions of diversity that may
the lack of a truly comprehensive means of measur-          include race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orien-
ing success has meant that “best practices” in di-          tation, age, ability, language, religion, etc.
versity really amounts to what could be considered
“best guesses” (Kalev, 2006, p. 590). Nevertheless,       Governmental agencies and departments tend
from speaking to a range of organizations in differ-      to connect diversity to five officially designated
ent sectors it is possible to outline some common         groups: Aboriginals, women, visible minorities,
notion of effective practices and a critical path for     people with disabilities, and the LGBT community in
internal organizational capacity for diversity and        order to comply with existing legislation in support
inclusion. This process follows the advice of one         of employment equity and accessibility for people
communication specialist who stressed that organi-        with disabilities.
zations “must have their own house in order before             In many cases the selection and naming of
doing outreach.”                                          priority dimensions or designated groups provides
                                                          insight into how organizations understand the social
                                                          context in which their work is situated. In one organi-
                                                          zation, an initial list of priority dimensions shifted in
Table 39 — criTical paTh for

                                                          response to changes in organizational culture and
inTernal capaciTy builDing for

                                                          priorities over a ten-year period. Another organi-
DiversiTy anD inclusion

                                                          zational leader described how in her organization,
                                                          diversity and inclusion are a part of the mandate,
                                                          embedded in the values, practice and people. She
                                                          shared that diversity “is how we do things; it is the
                                                          only lens we know and it is a diffused lens that looks
                                                          at more than colour.” In another instance, three or-
                                                          ganizational leaders chose to move the conversation
                                                          away from diversity and introduced the concept of
                                                          anti-racism to describe their entry point into their

diversity research report 2012                                                                                     63
work with community members. They described               Regardless of the reasons for undertaking this work,
the need to notice and name how race and racism           organizational leaders must be able to speak to the
structure the economic, social and environmental          vision and to the value of diversity and inclusion for
realities of communities of colour in the GTA.            their organization. These messages need to be en-
There was a sense that diversity frameworks may           trenched from senior executives and shared widely
not maintain a critical gaze on oppression and            as a way to sustain and share commitment over the
inequality.                                               long-term. One communication specialist noted that
     Organizations undertaking diversity and inclu-       it is important to have the involvement of middle-
sion work will benefit from early conversations that      management in diversity and inclusion initiatives.
allow stakeholders to explore what diversity means
and to surface assumptions about what it includes
and what it does not include. These early dialogues
                                                          create cultures of
can inform how an organization chooses to define
diversity and articulate its priorities and mandate.
                                                          inclusion— what we do
                                                          aDvanCe Diversity anD inClusion within

                                                          As a best practice, more organizations are focused
                                                          organizations anD programs
value diversity and
                                                          on advancing diversity and inclusion priorities
                                                          in their workplace and programs. Diversity and
inclusion—why diversity
                                                          inclusion extends the mandate from ensuring the
matters to us
Our conversations show that just as the concept of
                                                          participation of diverse communities to also ensur-
diversity is stretched and shaped by organizational
                                                          ing their full inclusion. If enhancing participation
context and priorities, so too are the reasons for
                                                          implies bringing diverse individuals into a currently
valuing diversity and inclusion. In asking why this
                                                          existing institutional framework, then enhancing
work matters, organizations are in a position to
                                                          inclusion means involving people in ways that allow
discover the different reasons that bring people to
                                                          their input to transform the very structure of those
this work. It is in these “why” conversations that a
                                                          institutions. Thus, when organizations talk about
vision for diversity and inclusion is cultivated. This
                                                          fostering greater inclusion, it means not only ensur-
cultivation happens because people are given the
                                                          ing the participation of more diverse individuals,
space to imagine and describe the change that they
                                                          but doing so in a way that reflects and responds to
are seeking, the opportunities they are pursuing or
                                                          their unique issues, priorities and interests.
the problems they wish to remedy. In naming why
                                                               In our dialogues, participants confirmed that
this work matters, organizations are able to estab-
                                                          both diversity and inclusion matter to them. Begin-
lish necessary parameters for the work and ensure
                                                          ning with diversity, they described their wish to see
coherence between vision, strategy and tactics.
                                                          greater diversity in environmental initiatives and to
     Practically, these explorations offer an opportu-
                                                          see themselves represented in the environmental
nity to build the case for diversity and inclusion. For
                                                          movement. But participants also expressed a desire
some organizations, diversity and inclusion work
                                                          to be actively engaged and to be recognized for the
was a means to create a more equitable organiza-
                                                          knowledge, skills and experiences that they bring.
tion and society by addressing inequalities and
                                                          Consistent with the dialogues, the survey highlights
removing barriers to employment and services. This
                                                          the inadequacy of enhancing participation only.
has been described as the moral case for diversity
                                                          Respondents shared that they would be more
or as “the right thing to do.” Other institutions
                                                          likely to participate in initiatives if they were able
understand it to be the right thing to do and they
                                                          to choose the issues to focus on and use their first
are motivated by a commitment to deliver relevant
                                                          language. Both examples underline the importance
and responsible programs/services for community
                                                          of being open to absorbing and adapting to a com-
members and clients of diverse backgrounds. In the
                                                          munity’s preferences.
private and public sectors, there is the “business
case” for diversity where companies are motivated
by a desire to attract and retain the best talent and a
                                                          antiCipate, reCognize anD

loyal customer base.

diversity research report 2012                                                                                64
                                                          belief that we must each spend time reflecting on
Movement towards more diverse and inclusive               our own social identities, our frames of reference,
transform exClusions

organizations depends on the ability of leaders to        how we are situated in relations of power and the
anticipate, recognize and transform exclusions. It        patterns of inclusion and exclusion we have expe-
involves identifying barriers to accessing employ-        rienced in our lives. Diversity and inclusion learn-
ment and services, exploring a team’s openness            ing is an opportunity to think through the effects
to doing things differently and assessing how the         of stereotypes on our efforts to build relationships
engagement of new actors changes priorities and           and inclusive programs. In some cases, our energy
strategies. This work is a continuous and seamless        may be first spent on unlearning world views and
process of asking critical questions, making our          assumptions about communities that we are not
frames of reference visible and working within our        a part of in order to create space for new ways of
spheres of influence to advance cultural changes.         working across differences. One leader wondered
     In the workplace, we can transform exclusions        how stereotypes about communities relationships
by learning about the barriers equity seeking groups      to the environment affected their engagement in the
face. In programs, we apply our skills in cultural        movement. Other leaders challenged the assump-
competence to ensure an alignment of programs to          tion that diverse communities are inherently less
community needs and realities. In our dialogues,          interested in engaging in environmental initiatives
we heard examples of everyday exclusions that can         and require fixing. Diversity and inclusion work-
be transformed through awareness and creative             shops are a formal space in which groups can name
program design. Examples included participants            and trace the impact of stereotypes on their work
asking that programs be parent-child friendly, offer      with colleagues and community members.
child-care services and be financially accessible.
                                                          Diversity anD inClusion statements

                                                          Statements and policies are a way to define and
embed diversity and                                       anD poliCies

                                                          entrench an organization’s commitment to diver-
inclusion— our five
                                                          sity and inclusion in its foundational and governing
supporting pillars
The following are concrete mechanisms that sup-           documents. It is a way to embed diversity and inclu-
port organizational efforts to value diversity and        sion as priorities for an organization over the long-
create cultures of inclusion. These supporting pillars    term. These statements are a way to connect with
are a way to institutionalize the values and behav-       community members, to empower those staff and
iours in support of diversity and inclusion.              volunteers who are doing the on the ground diversi-
                                                          ty and inclusion work and to hold a leadership team
                                                          accountable for enacting the values and the vision
                                                          of the statement. Diversity statements can come in
                                                          the form of a policy, a statement of purpose, change
organizational learning for Diversity

Organizational learning supports efforts to embed         framework or a vision statement. While important
anD inClusion

diversity and inclusion in the culture, practices and     as a supporting pillar, organizations are cautioned
policies of organizations. Educational programs are       against mistaking policy work alone as sufficient
an opportunity to cultivate diversity leaders and         and not also concentrating on the on-ground work
engage them in explorations of diversity concepts,        of people who enact the principles of inclusion on
inclusive practices and organizational culture. Some      a daily basis.
of the round table leaders named cultural compe-
tence as a specific area of learning and skill building
                                                          Defining goals, plans anD buDgets

that would strengthen communications with and
engagement of diverse communities in environmen-
tal initiatives.
Diversity and inclusion learning is grounded in the

diversity research report 2012                                                                               65
No different than other forms of organizational           diversity and inclusion initiatives have had it largely
change, diversity and inclusion work is better            through finding ways to effectively leverage these
served when there is a multi-year strategic plan that     relationships and internal networks. We heard
broadly informs the goals, objectives and desired         examples of a “reverse mentoring” program that
results. These strategic priorities then need to find     connects senior management with more junior
their place in annual operating plans and budgets         employees as a way to foster understanding of the
that include dedicated resources. Organizations will      various issues and potential barriers specific to
need to be sure that activities align with available      equity-seeking groups. Another organization relies
resources and that they pace their efforts as a way       extensively on their Employee Resource Groups
to ensure follow-through and sustained energy.            to identify common concerns and to learn how to
Many of the organizational leaders emphasized that        reach out more effectively to diverse communities.
it took years of work before they started to really       In other cases, organizations rely on diversity work-
see the results of their work, reminding us that          ing groups or task forces to create cross-cutting in-
diversity and inclusion are long-term organizational      stitutional linkages. These types of practices engage
commitments.                                              people actively and foster a sense of inclusion by
                                                          allowing people to realize their ability to help shape
                                                          and define the organization.

This pillar involves aligning organizational systems
align systems anD praCtiCes

and practices in ways that advance diversity and
inclusion priorities. This involves a close examina-
tion of hiring practices, methodologies for program
                                                          best practice recom-
design, design of communication tools, choice of          menDations in reaching
partners, etc. Organizational systems can be as-
sessed using a diversity and inclusion lens or audit
                                                          Diverse communities
tools and changes made according to those find-           These best practices were offered by the commu-
ings. In regards to hiring practices, we heard from       nication specialists, by leaders at the round table,
organizations that the mainstream environmental           through secondary research interviews and by com-
sector must work to identify and recruit individu-        munity members themselves. We asked our com-
als from diverse communities with existing back-          munication specialists specific questions around
grounds and knowledge of environmental issues.            strategies for reaching community members with
There are many individuals whose wisdom, experi-          a range of English language skills, approaches for
ence and expertise should be accessed. This allows        building communication partnerships and the role
environmental organizations to not only attract and       of language in different cultural contexts. round
retain talent, but brings an additional element to the    table leaders explored communications and lan-
organizational dynamic by potentially incorporat-         guage in their discussion as well.
ing a broader and more diverse set of issues and
                                                          name and know your
                                                          Communication specialists stressed the need to be
leverage relationships anD

Cultures of inclusion are also cultivated when social     clear in naming the intended audience for informa-
strategiC partnerships

capital is used to drive change. Social capital refers    tion sharing and engagement in environmental
to the total value of an individual’s or organization’s   initiatives and for environmental resources. It
networks, and the benefits that these personal con-       begins with the question: “Who will be engaged?”
nections have in building relationships based on          Organizations can choose to work with a macro or
trust, reciprocity and cooperation (Li, 2004).            broad view to the audience or a segmented ap-
Organizations that have had success in their              proach that identifies shared characteristics that
                                                          are used to inform and shape the communications

diversity research report 2012                                                                                66
approach. For example, organizations can decide to        by diverse audiences. A round table leader advised
segment their market by geographic location, ethno-       that even as we work in English, we need to find
racial identity, language, etc. The notion is that the    ways to “communicate environmental messages
message becomes increasingly relevant and cus-            in their language…every culture has nuances with
tomized for that segment of the population. While         language.” She stressed that this work does not au-
macro messages are less customized, they are just         tomatically entail translation but that it does require
as strategic and intentional in design. With a macro      cultural competency.
view, organizations have the challenge of generating           Our specialists note that organizations can build
creative outreach and “reach in” strategies that al-      their competence in trans-creation through strategic
low them to connect with a demographically diverse        hiring that prioritizes these skills and through part-
audience. The challenge is managing nuances while         nerships with community organizations.
still working in the spaces where there is common
ground across communities.                                use english to reach
                                                          diverse communities
move from translation
to trans-creation of                                      english language skills anD

                                                          The survey shows that the seventy percent of all
messages                                                  Comfort with english

Our communication specialists stressed that a literal
                                                          respondents are very comfortable receiving en-
translation of materials is not enough to reach or
                                                          vironmental information in English, with more
engage diverse communities. Instead, organizations
                                                          respondents able to read English than they are able
need to build their capacity to “trans-create” or
                                                          to speak it. The majority of survey respondents are
“trans-adapt” communication tools and messages.
                                                          fully able or functionally able to read and under-
Trans-creation and trans-adaptation are processes
                                                          stand English. This opens space to critically explore
that begin with the assumption that mainstream
                                                          using English as the language of written communi-
messages may not resonate with all communities in
                                                          cation with diverse communities.
the same way or in the intended way. Our communi-
                                                               The research shows that a majority of com-
cation specialists advised that we work to translate
                                                          munity members rely on the internet as their first
the spirit or the integrity of the message rather than
                                                          source of environmental information and would
the precise wording. The focus is on “capturing the
                                                          like to receive environmental information through
full essence of language” as it relates to the message.
                                                          web resources, the internet, schools, flyers/post-
One organization we met with distinguished trans-
                                                          ers and the radio. For these print-based messages,
creation and trans-adaptation from “adaptation in
                                                          the recommendation is to apply skills in cultural
the trade” that relies more on “replacing faces” in an
                                                          competence and principles of trans-creation to cre-
existing mainstream message rather than ensuring
                                                          ate inclusive and relevant messages in English for
the message itself will resonate with communities.
                                                          diverse and multilingual audiences.
     We can apply these same principles as we
                                                               It is worth remembering here that our com-
consider how to design English-language com-
                                                          munity leaders believed that language remains a
munication tools for audiences that are diverse in
                                                          barrier, hindering peoples’ ability to access environ-
terms of their first language, place of origin and
                                                          mental information and opportunities within the
lived experience. Trans-creation offers us a way to
anticipate and assess the extent to which the spirit
of an English environmental message will resonate
as audiences “translate” messages through the
lenses of their own lived experience and knowledge
                                                          other language preferenCes of survey

systems. Working in this way allows us to consider
how a message will be understood and internalized

diversity research report 2012                                                                                67
If resources permit for trans-creation of materials in
responDents                                               reach community members
languages other than English, within the three com-
                                                          through on-line resources
munities of focus there is a strong preference for
Spanish materials and some preference for materi-
                                                          and newsPaPers
                                                          Table 40 shows that survey respondents prefer to
als in Mandarin. Where choices need to be made,           receive information about the environment pri-
we recommend focusing on trans-creating materials         marily through web-based resources and through
in Spanish given that Hispanic respondents were           newspapers. Primary sources of on-line information
less comfortable receiving information in English         include search engines such as Google, Wikipedia,
and their strong preference for Spanish materials.        on-line news such as CTV and CITY TV. Some survey
See breakdown of language preferences below:              respondents visit specific websites of environmental

• 87% prefer to receive information in English
Chinese responDents:

• 52% prefer to receive information in Mandarin
                                                          Table 40 — besT ways To share

• 31% prefer to receive information in Cantonese
                                                          environmenTal informaTion for
                                                          all communiTies.

• Newer immigrants prefer simplified Chinese
   while older generations prefer traditional Chinese
   according to one communications specialist.

• 97% prefer to receive information in Spanish
hispaniC responDents:

• 70% prefer to receive information in English

• 69% prefer receiving information in English
south asian responDents:

• There was no clear second language preference,
  with respondents splitting their preference
  between Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati and Tamil
• One institution we met with confirmed that their
  research shows that South Asian community
  members mainly use English and they shared their
  choice to use English as their language for outreach.

diversity research report 2012                                                                             68
The top two newspapers for our survey respondents         • Building relationships with media through
were Metro (59%) and the Toronto Star (56%). Our re-        existing relationships with community partners
spondents also read the following community papers:
                                                          • Learning about the priorities of these community
                                                            papers and how they understand their audience
• Chinese respondents—Sing Tao (30%),                       and stories of interest
  Ming Pao (21%), World Journal (16%)
                                                          • Offering background information and briefing
• Hispanic respondents—El Popular (32%), Correo             packages on those issues of interest to the paper
  Canadiense (23%)
                                                          • Applying knowledge of the papers and their read-
• South Asian respondents—Hindi Times (16%),                ers to pitch stories of relevance that move beyond
  South Asian Observer (8%)                                 the editorial
                                                          • Inviting media to events and community
A best practice recommendation is to invest energy
in having a strong web presence with the applied
lens of diversity and inclusion and raising the profile   • Accepting invitations from media sources to par-
of Earth Day Canada in a select number of newspa-           ticipate in and support their events and
pers. Decisions made around naming and knowing              initiatives.
your audience will inform which newspapers will be
approached as potential partners. For example, one
communication specialist we met with opted to use
                                                          create a structured
a segmented approach and worked specifically with
Chinese media.
                                                          Process for community
                                                          members and/or community
                                                          organizations to add
build relationshiPs with                                  user-generated content
                                                          The survey highlights the following about how
diverse media and
community Partners                                        respondents use social media:
Communication specialists shared that organiza-
tions that have had more success in communicating         • 15% of respondents are very interested in
with and reaching diverse communities have strong           writing a blog about environmental issues. This
relationships with media representatives from com-          percentage holds steady regardless of age and
munity papers. Relationship building takes time, a          English language ability.
proactive approach and clarity of purpose.
     Our communication specialists shared the             • 23% of respondents are very interested in shar-
following strategies for relationship building:             ing ideas about the environment using social

• Inviting diverse media for breakfast and briefing       • 86% have a Facebook account, 64% have a
  on the organization. Use this time to share priori-       YouTube account and 27% have a Twitter
  ties and the vision for engaging their readers            account

• Using the phone to develop relationships with           • Respondents do not often post or read articles
  journalists from these papers. One communica-             via social media
  tion specialist stressed that sending press-            • Respondents are more likely to read articles that
  releases alone amounts to nothing more than               others post on social media than they are to post
  junk mail                                                 articles themselves.

diversity research report 2012                                                                               69
Given these findings, it is unlikely that this profile      It is in these spaces where perceptions influence de-
of community members would spontaneously add                cisions, that organizations must be attentive to how
user-generated content about the environment. That          they define, perceive and display the environment
said, those fifteen to twenty percent of respondents        and environmental actions in their communication
who are interested could be seen to represent a poten-      tools. In the spirit of inclusion, diverse communities
tial early majority, according to the law of diffusion of   want to be involved in shifting the framework and
innovation, that could be engaged through a structured      growing understandings of environment and envi-
internship or volunteer program focused explicitly on       ronmental action. As this happens, the hope is that
sharing environmental ideas and initiatives using social    organizations and communities can move towards
media. Environmental organizations also expressed an        a more inclusive narrative on what environment
interest in raising the profile of their organization and   means.
a structured, partnered social media initiative could be
a vehicle for sharing their initiatives and the environ-
mental work of diverse communities.
                                                            elements of a Powerful
                                                            message 8
use communication tools
                                                            Dialogue participants offered insights into the
                                                            present Clear anD Consistent messages

                                                            qualities of a powerful environmental message. We
to grow understandings
                                                            learned that strong messages are clear, simple and
of environment and
                                                            that they have more visuals than text. One key in-
Our leaders described the current use of the terminolo-     formant from the private sector stressed the crucial
gy and language of “environment” and “environmental”        principles of marketing: “keep it simple, get people
as one barrier preventing the participation of diverse      excited.” Some participants believed that using facts
communities within a larger movement. There was             and statistics is a simple but powerful way to com-
concern that these words have been defined in ways          municate impacts and create a lasting impression.
that limit the possibility of what might be considered
“environmental practice.” Leaders were hopeful that
the frames of reference around these words could be
expanded to include the lived experience and knowl-         We heard from dialogue participants that messages
                                                            extenD the invitation

edge of diverse communities. There was a call to            should include a specific call to action that speaks to
broaden understandings of what the term “envi-              the individual and that recognizes the transforma-
ronment” means, with one leader asking “How do              tive power of that individual. The survey showed
we tap into practices that are not labelled environ-        that thirty-eight percent of our respondents would be
mental and that they may get us closer to the actual        more likely to participate if they were invited. We can
language of what environmental means?”                      begin to explore how communication tools can be
    Some community dialogues surfaced a similar             used to extend the invitation to diverse communi-
theme. Participants described experiences of not            ties to learn and engage together.
being recognized for their contributions or the
contributions of their parents to environmental
conservation, they described being excluded from a
movement because of different relationships to na-
                                                            8 For community specific ideas, see the following sections: Chinese

ture and there was a sense that perhaps what they
                                                            participants reflect on powerful environmental messages; Hispanic

did was not enough to merit membership in a larger
                                                            participants reflect on powerful environmental messages; and South
                                                            Asian participants reflect on powerful environmental messages.

movement. At the same time, some first generation
participants acknowledged that their parents might
not describe or name their own actions as envi-
ronmental, despite their careful and creative use of
resources in the home.

diversity research report 2012                                                                                               70
profile the many faCes that                             environmental issues of ConCern

Our dialogues, round table and survey confirmed         The survey shows that community members were
make the movement                                       anD learning

that members of all three communities are already       either very concerned or somewhat concerned about
engaged in environmental actions in their homes         the environment. Specifically, the top six environmen-
and for some in their neighbourhoods, schools,          tal issues of concern by all communities were 9:
faith communities and workplaces. The challenge
for mainstream environmental organizations is to        1. Water
find ways to be closer to the work that is happening
in communities across the GTA, to recognize this        2. Food Safety
work as environmental and to showcase this work         3. Air Quality
in media messages. One youth leader asked that
mainstream and larger environmental organizations       4. Climate Change
“profile our role models. Put the faces of the people   5. Industrial Pollution
we care about on posters.” As the movement be-
comes more inclusive, and once a wider segment of       6. Waste
society feels included in the narratives surrounding
the environment, it will become easier to cultivate a   In part, these were raised as issues of concern
broader and increasingly shared understanding of        because community members have witnessed a
concepts such as environment and environmental.         decline in air quality and food safety. As well, these
                                                        environmental issues were concerning because they
                                                        had experienced the harmful impacts of these issues
                                                        in their lives. This was particularly true for issues
                                                        like food safety, air quality and industrial pollution.
ConneCt environmental messages to

Every community spoke to the need for inclusive         There was most concern around health impacts
Community values anD experienCes

and relevant messages. They asked organizations         of these environmental issues. In other cases, the
such as Earth Day Canada to “know the community,        issues were seen to be of concern because of their
see the community” and in doing so, to profile the      primary importance at a global level and there was
stories that matter to them. Participants valued        concern for their impact on plants and people more
messages that related to their lives and that showed    generally. The survey also shows that community
how they benefit from their engagement. One com-        members are interested in learning more about
munity leader shared an example of a campaign to        these same issues. Given the convergence of issues
encourage people to use public transit and keep the     across three communities, there is an opportunity
car at home. While an important message, these          to design resource materials to support learning
community members, by necessity, used public            about these environmental issues, their impacts and
transit daily. The campaign in many ways highlight-     strategies to manage health risks.
ed the economic gap between themselves and the
actual, but assumed universal, target audience.
                                                        9 We reference a list of top six concerns in Section 4 in order to in-
                                                        clude the issue of waste since, when all
                                                        three communities are considered together, waste was ranked as the
                                                        sixth most pressing environmental issue of concern (and for Hispanic
                                                        respondents, waste ranked second as an issue of concern).

diversity research report 2012                                                                                              71
                                                        This section outlines best practices in the following
The dialogues, round table and surveys surfaced a       areas:
offer a powerful anD unifying message

number of shared values across the three communi-
ties of focus. Survey respondents from all commu-       • Best practice recommendations within five
nities shared a concern for the wellbeing of future       spheres of environmental engagement
generations. For Chinese and Hispanic respondents,
the well-being of their own families was also identi-   • Best practice recommendations for building
fied as one of three top concerns. The drivers of en-     healthy communities
gagement across all three communities were a sense      • Best practice recommendations for program
of responsibility to families, communities and the        delivery.
planet and a strong desire to “do my part.” These
universal themes have the power to bring people
together despite other differences. There is a strong
message of shared concern and shared purpose for
                                                        best praCtiCe reCommenDations in five

engagement. Saving money, not wasting and being         In Table 41, there are five spheres that represent
                                                        spheres of environmental engagement

creative with resources were values that surfaced       the breadth and complexity of environmental
often in our Chinese and South Asian dialogues.         engagement as described by community members
                                                        and leaders. In many conversations, these areas of
                                                        engagement were presented as a continuum, with
                                                        engagement unfolding in sequence. The reality of
ConneCt environmental messages to

Saving money and careful spending were named as
                                                        lived experience is much more complex and so we
finanCial savings

values in a number of dialogues. Participants sug-
                                                        moved from a linear description to using intersect-
gested using this value as an incentive for people
                                                        ing spheres in order to capture the simultaneity,
to deepen or extend their environmental practices.
                                                        depth, shifts and lived experiences of environmental
One participant suggested having an environmen-
tal savings calculator that could translate certain
actions into financial savings. Others suggested
sharing how much money a family could save if they
were to grow their own foods.
                                                        Table 41— five spheres of environmenTal

best practice recom-
menDations for engag-
ing Diverse communities
These best practice recommendations are a synthe-
sis of the many insights that surfaced through the
primary and secondary research. Guided by the four
best principles, organizations can begin to make
strategic choices around the right grouping of best
practice recommendations for their organizations.       We learned that dialogue participants and lead-
We anticipate a move from best practice recommen-       ers understood connections to the environment as
dations to verified best practices as these recom-      a critical factor for sustained engagement. These
mendations are tested and piloted.                      connections were often named as the catalyst for
                                                        engaging in homes and communities. The research
                                                        also showed that the majority of participants are

diversity research report 2012                                                                             72
already engaged in home-based environmental ac-         For many, connections to the environment came
tions, with some also engaged in their communities.     out of early experiences as children growing up in
Most interesting were the ways in which partici-        Canada or in countries of origin. The childhood
pants explored their place in the political sphere.     experiences were grounded more in a physical
They asked questions about the potential and limits     connection to the environment that in many ways
of personal power to make a difference and they         was an extension of connections to home and fam-
wondered if their voice would be heard. In other        ily. For example, we heard stories of visits to farms
cases, participants negotiated their ambivalence,       with grandparents, studying animal behaviour in
mistrust and perceptions of the environmental           the backyard, camping trips, cultivating gardens,
movement which they understood to be one aspect         volunteering in a community space and caring for
of political engagement. In some cases, attempts to     animals. It is these early connections that helped to
engage politically were not positive and participants   sustain the engagement of the leaders that we met.
chose to concentrate their efforts in home-based        From our dialogues, we also learned about disrup-
actions and living sustainably within their own         tions to these connections as families left places of
spheres of influence. The spheres also represent the    origin or experienced other changes in lifestyle.
proximity and intersection of local communities and          Participants and some leaders believed that
global communities, capturing the lived experience      youth, adults and seniors would all benefit from
of some participants who are closely connected to       experiential programs that would allow them to be
countries of origin.                                    in nature, whether by going to rivers, working with
     The spheres of engagement represent the po-        the soil or planting seedlings. One Chinese partici-
tential to both broaden and deepen the engagement       pant shared that “being outdoors makes you want to
of diverse communities in environmental initiatives.    take care of it.” We heard of one grassroots organi-
Each circle of engagement is explored for program       zation that organized day trips for families where
possibilities based on insights and recommenda-         they were able to try canoeing and swimming. One
tions of community members and leaders.                 participant also described how “when we were
                                                        young we connected with Outward Bound and now
                                                        my brother takes my whole family on canoe trips.”
                                                        This participant has continued to be engaged pro-
                                                        fessionally in environmental education and outdoor
Cultivating ConneCtions to

                                                        education activities.
the environment

“We are disconnected from the natural
environment and therefore do not respect

                                                        There was agreement among dialogue participants
it and care for it enough. We don’t learn               engaging in my home

                                                        across the three communities that everyone has a
—Participant, Hispanic Dialogue
enough from it.”
                                                        responsibility to care for the environment and act
We heard from a number of participants and leaders      within their sphere of influence (which was under-
about the many ways in which they were able to          stood to be the home). Survey findings confirmed
cultivate connections to and curiosity about the en-    that activities that were done most often were home
vironment. If we understand the different relation-     based and involved elements of reducing, reusing
ships to the environment, there is an opportunity       and recycling. For most dialogue participants and
to conceptualize how programs can be designed to        survey respondents, this responsibility was framed
support and nurture this process. We heard from         in terms of a personal responsibility or a respon-
participants and leaders that these connections         sibility tied to citizenship. Our round table leaders
have helped to sustain and even deepen their com-       framed this as an environmental lifestyle that is
mitment to environmental engagement.                    gaining ground in many communities.

diversity research report 2012                                                                             73
                                                        Participants described the movement from home-
Continue to invest resourCes in                         engaging in my Community

                                                        based actions to community action as the starting
raising awareness about

Participants across all three communities spoke of      point for a more political engagement in environ-
reDuCing, reusing anD reCyCling

the need to continue raising awareness about the        mental work. This can also be seen as moving from
three Rs. Participants described this as particularly   personal responsibility towards social responsibil-
important for newcomers to Canada, not necessarily      ity. The principle of relationships applies to any
because these practices were new to them but be-        recommendations for community-based work and
cause the infrastructure supporting these practices     there were many reminders that this work needs
in Canada might be different. There was a sense         to be driven by community organizations with the
that this recommendation came out of wanting to         support from larger organizations. This is an area
help newcomers to integrate into their new home         for potential growth since participants expressed in-
country.                                                terest in this area though they are currently engaged
     Some leaders also observed that as everyday        less at the community level and more in their own
actions become more entrenched in the lives of          homes.
GTA residents there may be a need to explore ways
to raise it to a level of consciousness that connects
practice, values and environmental outcomes more
                                                        Cultivate Cultures of inClusion in

explicitly. This point also became a focus of one       The survey shows that community members value
                                                        Community-baseD aCtivities

conversation involving Hispanic community mem-          diversity and inclusion when they imagine engaging
bers who were negotiating the extent to which the       in community-based activities. They shared that
motives for environmental actions matter. One par-      they would be more likely to participate in envi-
ticipant believed that organizations should continue    ronmental initiatives if they experienced a culture
to emphasize the benefits of saving money whereas       of belonging and if there were opportunities to be
another felt that there needs to be more focus on       meaningfully included. To enhance participation, it
cultivating a shared value for conservation.            is important to ensure that environmental activities
                                                        take place in local communities that involve com-
                                                        munity members and where people are able to use
                                                        their first language. Organizations we met with also
Design workshops anD resourCes to support

Of the three Rs, participants acknowledged that         emphasized the importance of activities that fo-
the prinCiple of “reDuCe”

reducing may be the hardest given high levels of        cused on people’s immediate surroundings and situ-
consumption associated with a Western lifestyle         ations that had the potential to bring families and
and the shift from needs to wants as communities        communities together. Referencing the principle
become more economically stable. There may be           of relevance, some community members were also
a place to address the ideal of reducing through        interested in having a say over the issue of focus
resources or workshops that focus on media literacy     and action. Locally based environmental initiatives
that develop skills in critical analysis of media       would allow community members to move from a
messages that promote consumerism and consump-          more abstract caring for the environment to caring
tion. One dialogue participant spoke to the need for    for their environment.
consumers to become more educated and informed.
One leader observed that in “consumer society the
very criteria for development is problematic and we
                                                        support existing anD new Community-baseD

don’t know yet all the impacts on the environment.”
                                                        environmental initiatives that bring families

Exploring how to address the principle of reduction     For some participants there was a real sense of ur-
                                                        anD Communities together

represents an opportunity for future programs.          gency for community action, driven by strong hopes
                                                        for what their community could be. There was a
                                                        desire to maintain clean and healthy public spaces
                                                        for their children to play. In these conversations,
                                                        we heard how actions extended from the home into
                                                        shared spaces like parks, schools and gardens.

diversity research report 2012                                                                            74
Participants from all three communities of focus
identified the following as initiatives of interest:
                                                        Create mentorship or pathways programs
                                                        to support the leaDers from Diverse Communi-

• Volunteer for an organization that is doing work      At the round table, leaders explored the need to
                                                        ties to engage politiCally

  on environmental issues that they care about          create conditions so that the voices of diverse
                                                        communities could be heard in leadership roles and
• Join a neighbourhood project                          at the policy level. There was some concern that
• Attend community meetings, workshops and              work is needed to dismantle barriers to engagement
  talks about the environment.                          at the policy and political levels and that until this is
                                                        done, we may be missing the heart of the issue.
                                                             While in most cases participants in our dialogue
Community gardens and neighbourhood beautifi-
                                                        groups chose to invest their energy in home-based
cation projects have the capacity to involve differ-
                                                        and community-based actions, there were a few
ent generations and convey a sense of pride and
                                                        who named their interest in engaging in leadership
ownership in a community. Community members
                                                        activities that included applying for a grant to fund a
suggested beginning with a small idea that can be
                                                        local environmental project, applying for an intern-
done in a morning. Others warned against too many
                                                        ship and using social media to share environmental
one-off initiatives. Community events were also an
                                                        ideas. Others were interested in influencing govern-
opportunity for community members to build new
                                                        ment and policy. In one group, we heard how they
relationships with neighbours and deepen existing
                                                        were successful in changing government regulations
relationships with children and family. For some,
                                                        related to the scattering of ashes in Lake Ontario. In
community engagement was also a way to build
                                                        other instances, participants named their dissatis-
communities of support and shared interest. One
                                                        faction with policies and practices at different levels
participant described how he “realized that I was
                                                        of government. They questioned:
not the only one who felt this way and I met pas-
sionate people.”
     Community-based activities, language, nam-         • Urban planning in the GTA, noting an overemphasis
ing issues for engagement and engaging with other         on condominiums and loss of green space
community members were all tangible indicators of       • Canada’s position internationally and its with-
inclusion in practice which need to be kept in mind       drawal from Kyoto
when designing programs.
                                                        • The environmental, health and social impacts of
                                                          tar sands in Alberta
                                                        • Government policies that seem to favour industry
In some of our dialogue groups, participants negoti-
engaging politiCally

                                                          over the environment.
ated a move towards environmental activism and a
more explicit political engagement. As they moved
into the political sphere, there were questions about   While some participants felt less able to effect
what can be considered as political and whether         change at this level, others believed that they were
there is space to talk about the extent to which        powerful and capable of influencing change. One
everyday actions matter. One participant was hope-      participant shared, “As individuals we can call for
ful that there is space within the movement to value    the government to do something to change the
every person’s viewpoint and contributions. She         environment. Many individuals can be loud.” There
noted, “If the movement could embrace what people       could be ways to develop programs that allow or-
are doing even it is not politicized then it would be   ganizations to tap into and support this energy and
good.”                                                  conviction.

diversity research report 2012                                                                                75
                                                         ognizing the significant potential to engage profes-
The survey shows that over twenty-eight percent          sionals, scholars, activists and community members
engaging globally

of respondents were concerned about the impact           as partners or leaders with the ability to define, and
of environmental issues on people in other parts of      organize around, global environmental issues.
the world and twenty-five percent were concerned
about the impact of environmental issues on their
community and family back home. While not a con-
                                                         best Practice recommenda-
cern for the majority of respondents, these numbers
                                                         tions for building
do convey the link that some community members
have to global communities. Programs and resource
                                                         healthy communities and

materials with a global focus could potentially
engage these symbolic and affective ties to other
countries while infusing the Canadian environment
                                                         Design programs that inCorporate

movement with multiple perspectives and practices.
                                                         Community Development

                                                         Embedding environmental engagement within a
                                                         work in holistiC anD integrateD ways

                                                         community development context helps to create
Design resourCes anD programs that ConneCt

                                                         more ideal conditions for the engagement of diverse
loCal environmental issues to global issues

A global focus would also afford the space for
                                                         communities and for the advancement of their
anD impaCts

learning and critical reflection on the economic and
                                                         priorities. The survey shows community members
social contexts in which environmental practices are
                                                         are either very concerned or somewhat concerned
situated in Canada and in the global South. There
                                                         about the environment. The top six concerns for
is a need to trace the impacts of individual and
                                                         our three communities were:
government decisions on the lives of people living
in the global South. Leaders asked questions about
power and observed that it is economically poorer        1. Water
communities in Canada and the global South that          2. Food Safety
disproportionately bear the impacts of northern
policies and priorities.                                 3. Air Quality
                                                         4. Climate Change
                                                         5. Industrial Pollution
globalize environmental knowleDge, skills
anD expertise through web-resourCes anD

The invitation from leaders and community mem-           6. Waste

bers is for larger, mainstream organizations to
recognize, profile and offer material benefits for the   The survey also shows that community members
expertise, practice and experience of environmental      are concerned about a range of social, economic and
workers from diverse ethno-racial communities and        health issues. In fact, when we compare their concern
countries of the global South.                           for specific environmental issues and specific social
    Leaders believed that, to have a more diverse        issues, we find that community members place more
Canadian environmental movement, there needs             emphasis on issues of health and education over their
to be a sustained commitment to end Eurocentric          concern for water, food safety and air quality. In our
ways of thinking. This involves creating space for a     dialogue groups, these social issues were implied and
diverse assembly of actors, opportunities for new        embedded in their accounts of their environmental
ideas and ways of working to surface programs and        concerns. They spoke of their worry about bugs and
resources that benefit all participants. Frequently,     the transmission of diseases in apartment buildings,
mainstream discourses position people in other           the inability to find meaningful work here in Canada,
countries as victims in need of aid, rather than rec-

diversity research report 2012                                                                               76
the struggles to keep communal spaces free of gar-       munity and environmental leader –with the context
bage and their resilience even as they acknowledged      being a recycling project for residents in an apart-
that life in Canada “is not what we dreamed of.” It is   ment building. The goals of the initiative included
in these accounts that social, economic and environ-     the classification of garbage and increased recycling
mental concerns are intimately bound together. The       by the residents. Although the residents agreed in
leaders we spoke with were much more explicit in         principle, they questioned how the building manag-
naming these connections. One leader was concerned       ers would use the savings generated from reducing
that the “movement is disconnected from the social       the number of garbage pick-ups per week. Ulti-
and economic constraints” that newcomers and             mately, residents and managers agreed to reinvest
racialized communities face in the GTA and leaders       a portion of the savings into the building and they
warned against developing programming in silos.          negotiated a list of building improvements. The
     In theory, working within a community de-           process highlights how principles of reciprocity
velopment context entails mapping where social,          and relevance were enacted to create an inclusive
health, economic and environmental issues inter-         process with a mutually beneficial outcome.
sect and tracing the impact of these issues on the             Throughout we are reminded that environmen-
lives of community members. It is in these places        tal work and programs cannot assume a hierarchy
of convergence that we may begin to conceive new         of needs. The challenge is to work in ways that are
programs that are holistic, integrated and inclusive     holistic and integrated. A holistic approach asks
in design and delivery. We learned of examples and       us to consider not only what is beneficial for the
best practices in community organizations that have      environment but also what is beneficial for those
found ways to work with community members                who may be experiencing economic and social
that recognize and respond to environmental, social,     constraints on a daily basis. An integrated and
economic and health priorities.                          holistic approach would allow people to work with
     Some leaders are exploring ways to tie envi-        and through the complexities of “either/or” thinking.
ronmental issues more explicitly with the health of      This was modelled by a Hispanic participant who
individuals and communities living in the GTA. They      was exploring ways to reduce consumption while
played with the language of social determinants of       still maintaining a focus on those who are working
health to consider the “environmental determinants       in precarious conditions. He shared: “Society must
of health.” One leader described how environmental       be critical about level[s] of consumption and we
initiatives can be used to advance a number of key       must find a balance…balanced and equitable level of
priorities for community members, including health       consumption so that no groups are compromised.”
promotion and the management of stress, including        This approach recognizes the complexity of needs
post-traumatic stress. Perhaps just as importantly,      and values innovative strategies that advance mul-
environmental activities can be useful in fostering      tiple priorities.
social cohesion and offering opportunities to net-
work, build relationships and reduce isolation. One
leader described how their garden project facilitat-
ed connections that enabled community members
                                                         Develop inter-institutional CapaCity

to address housing, language learning and employ-        Implicit in this best practice recommendation is the
                                                         builDing relationships

ment priorities. Another leader spoke of his efforts     recognition that in order to grow and sustain the
to connect newcomers with employment                     participation of diverse communities in environ-
opportunities within the green economy.                  mental initiatives, there is a need for a strong and
     In practice, a community development frame-         healthy community development sector. A second
work prioritizes the involvement of community            assumption is that larger environmental organiza-
members in designing the program and its priori-         tions, smaller environmental organizations and
ties. True inclusion requires working with commu-        community-based organizations have unique entry
nities to determine the issues that resonate in their    points into environmental work. The best practice
daily lives. One story stands out from the many that     recommendation is to establish capacity building re-
we heard. It was shared by an experienced com-           lationships between organizations that have shared

diversity research report 2012                                                                             77
environmental and community development priori-
ties. This recommendation flows from the research
                                                         best Practices in Program
and assumes that larger environmental organi-
zations are well positioned to support grassroots or-    The following list of best practice recommendations
ganizations to build their capacity to be financially    for program delivery is grounded in the conversa-
sustainable and to deliver innovative and integrated     tions we had with community members, leaders and
programs for their communities.                          through the survey tool.
     Community and environmental leaders de-
scribed in detail the uncertain landscape that
shapes their work with communities across the GTA.
They negotiated eligibility criteria for funding, par-
                                                         nurture inClusion anD Cultivate

ticularly when they are smaller organizations and/       Building on the principle of relationships, com-
                                                         ConneCtions between people

or where they are working cross-sectorally. Actually     munity members were interested in environmental
accessing funding remains a constant challenge and       initiatives that could:
they described the many volunteer hours they have
contributed to cover funding gaps.                       • Build connections and understanding across
     It is in this economic and social context that        diverse cultural and faith groups
there may be an opportunity for inter-institutional
capacity building between organizations that have        • Build bridges within communities
shared priorities and different areas of strength.       • Build connections with neighbours as these rela-
There may be a role for larger, mainstream environ-        tionships may not already exist
mental organizations to support smaller organiza-
tions in their efforts to plan for financial sustain-    • Build communities around shared interests and
ability, to grow their networks, to extend their           support
reach within their own communities, to form new          • Get to know the community first and move away
institutional relationships while learning about how       from one-time engagements
funding is accessed. Specifically, one youth leader
shared that he is “big on encouraging larger organi-     • Ensure activities engage adults and children.
zations to support or fund smaller groups of youth
to do a lot more. One of the best ways of recognizing
[them] is to help them.” Larger organizations can
benefit from these capacity building relationships       In the dialogue groups, community members elabo-
                                                         ensure inClusion anD aCCessibility

as well. They will gain an understanding of realities    rated on the practical need for accessible programs
at the grassroots level across many communities          that could:
and there may be an opportunity to act as a learning
hub for environmental innovations piloted at the         • Ensure participants are able to use their first
community level by community groups. Through               language
these relationships mainstream organizations will
                                                         • Offer programs in places where communities
be able to apply and deepen their skills in cultural
                                                           gather (apartment buildings, libraries, commu-
                                                           nity organizations)
     Interestingly but not surprising, community
leaders are also working to grow the environmental       • Offer participants incentives such as TTC tokens
movement by engaging more of their own mem-                and healthy snacks
bers. They too face the dilemma of “seeing the same
                                                         • Ensure programs are financially accessible par-
faces” and acknowledge that “we need to keep com-
                                                           ticularly where excursions are involved
ing back, sharing information, and it is a long term
commitment.” These capacity building relation-           • Provide financial incentives for participation.
ships can support shared goals of diversifying the
movement within and across communities.

diversity research report 2012                                                                               78
reaCh Community members in                               use experiential anD aCtivity-baseD

                                                         When asked to share significant moments of learning,
english while engaging them in their                     learning

While there is a high level of comfort with receiv-      participants often described experiences where they
own languages

ing and reading information in English, thirty-four      were engaged actively. Examples include:
percent of respondents expressed a preference to
participate in initiatives where they can use their      • Working on fundraising for environmental
own language. The invitation is for organizations to       projects
consider how they can design and deliver programs
that leave room for multiple languages to be used        • Working on projects that connect home and
and where people can choose to move in and out of          global communities
their own languages.                                     • Volunteering on an environmental project in
                                                           Canada or overseas
promote intergenerational learning,                      • Planting and caring for trees
                                                         • Participating in workshops
In our dialogues and round table discussion, story-
storytelling anD mentorship

telling surfaced as one of the ways that ideas were      • Organizing activities that involve families and
shared. Participants and leaders used stories as a         trips out of the city
way to explain and convey their connection to the
                                                         • Having community members go to schools to
environment. We saw how stories from parents
                                                           share knowledge with school children and stu-
and grandparents reinforced values and shaped
behaviours. In the dialogue groups, seniors and
youth expressed an interest in being engaged and
storytelling was raised as one way to reach diverse
communities through their own members and often
                                                         For some people, their connections to the environ-
                                                         raise ConsCiousness anD share the faCts

in their own language.
                                                         ment came in their twenties and could be understood
     At the same time, youth were looking for mentors
                                                         as more conceptual connections. For some, this
to help them deepen their learning and cultivate their
                                                         connection was the realization that human existence
own ideas. Our leaders and dialogue participants
                                                         is closely tied to the environment. For many these
described the role of mentors and allies in forming
                                                         connections were often sparked through mentoring
their connection to environmental work. In some
                                                         relationships with teachers, peers and researchers.
cases, it was a deepening of their connection to the
                                                         For others, the connection was cemented through
environment as they found others “like me” and in
                                                         facts and statistics. Yet others describe specific
other cases the spark was a mentor who was able to
                                                         moments when they were able to draw linkages
share their experience and their learning.
                                                         between environmental issues, issues of social jus-
     These program delivery recommendations also
                                                         tice and relations of power. One leader described this
provide a way to formally integrate the knowledge,
                                                         as a wake-up call and another leader describes their
experiences and wisdom of diverse communities in
                                                         fear at the size of Canada’s environmental debt. For
environmental work.
                                                         many these facts and statistics that provide a wake-up
                                                         call opened spaces for continued learning and values-
                                                         based action.

diversity research report 2012                                                                               79
section 5 — conclusion
Earth Day Canada undertook this Diversity Research       en or extend the engagement of diverse communi-
Project to identify best practices in communica-         ties in these spheres. Organizations can explore
tions with, and engagement of, diverse communi-          where they may be able to add value by supporting
ties in environmental initiatives. This multi-faceted    existing community initiatives or by venturing into
research involved primary and secondary research         new program areas.
components through which we engaged 329                       This research project refutes the myth that
participants, including Chinese, Hispanic and South      diverse communities are not interested or engaged
Asian community members, community leaders,              in environmental initiatives. We learned that par-
environmental leaders, diversity practitioners and       ticipants in all three communities are concerned for
communication specialists in the Greater Toronto         the environment, with sixty-two percent being very
Area. The research also included an on-line review       concerned and thirty-six percent being somewhat
of organizational diversity initiatives across Canada    concerned and that they are already engaged in
and a literature review on the subject.                  environmental activities.
      The collective insights gathered from the               The dialogues, Leaders Round Table and
research participants informed the identification        surveys surfaced a number of shared values and
of four best principles as essential to framing the      interests across the communities of focus. Survey
vision and operationalizing the goal of full inclusion   respondents from all communities shared a concern
for diverse communities. These principles—               for the wellbeing of future generations, as well as
relationships, recognition, reciprocity and              water and air issues. Drivers for environmental
relevance—are the foundation blocks required to          action included a sense of responsibility for the
ensure alignment between values and practice. As         planet, their community and their families. They
organizations embrace and enact these values they        were also motivated by a desire to do their part to
will cultivate cultures of inclusion internally and      help the environment and by a notion of citizen-
in their work with community members of diverse          ship in a global world. Every group identified the
backgrounds.                                             need for environmental education as a way to raise
      The research also showed that organizations        awareness and deepen environmental conscious-
undertaking diversity and inclusion work must first      ness. These universal themes can bring people
look inward with an explicit focus on internal capac-    together despite other differences.
ity. Efforts to work with diverse groups of external          Participants provided a number of key sugges-
stakeholders require organizations to build their        tions for how they could be further engaged. These
capacity to engage diversity through internal inclu-     were tied to both the mix of people present and also
sion initiatives.                                        to the quality of their experience. They also named
      With strengthened internal capacity, organiza-     factors like being invited, being able to use their first
tions can begin to explore and assess the program        language and having some say over the issues of
areas where they are best suited to work with            focus. The research also recommended program
diverse communities. Research participants named         designs that included experimenting with storytell-
five program areas which are presented as spheres        ing circles, offering mentorship programs and
of environmental engagement. These five spheres          engaging people in experiential activities that culti-
are: cultivating connections to the environment,         vate connections to the environment.
engaging in home-based activities, engaging in com-           Engaging diverse communities is closely tied to
munity initiatives, engaging politically and engaging    the engagement of community organizations. Lead-
globally. Findings from community dialogues,             ers provided a number of key recommendations for
surveys, round table discussions and interviews          future collaborative work and community members
support the development of program ideas to deep-        offered concrete suggestions for effective program

diversity research report 2012                                                                                 80
delivery. We also learned that partnerships and         based resources and a mix of English-language and
coalitions are needed in order to work across           community papers. There was also a recommenda-
sectors to advance broader community develop-           tion to design communication tools and resources
ment goals. Besides environmental concerns,             that speak to messages that are universal and
respondents from all communities identified health,     broadly relevant.
education and food security as very important.               Since the environment was described as “one of
     Key recommendations in this report include         those things that brings all people together” and the
connecting environmental and social issues theoret-     notion of coming together was expressed repeat-
ically and programmatically, creating sector linkages   edly in our conversations, it is important to also
between ENGO and community development agen-            note that leaders were explicit about their desire to
cies, using integrated and holistic approaches to       come together as partners rather than as targets or
program design and letting communities name their       objects of outreach.
needs and interests. Leaders also identified their           Diversity and inclusion are long-term orga-
needs, which included recognizing their profession-     nizational commitments. Taken together, the best
al expertise and profiling their innovations.           principles and best practice recommendations in
     Finally the report provides direction on how       this report can guide organizations in their strate-
to reach diverse communities. We drew these best        gic planning to cultivate inclusion internally and in
practices from interviews with communication            their environmental work with diverse communi-
specialists, community dialogues, survey responses      ties. As one participant noted, when fully incorpo-
and conversations with leaders. We explored how         rated, diversity and inclusion initiatives shift from
English could be used to reach diverse communities      being something that is “added on” to something
using principles of trans-creation. There was a focus   that “adds value.”
on reaching community members through web-

diversity research report 2012                                                                             81
section 6—references
Ahmed, S. (2012). On being included: Racism and             Kalev, A., Dobbin, F., & Kelly, E. (2006). Best practices
diversity in institutional life. Durham: Duke               or best guesses? Assessing the efficacy of corporate
University Press.                                           affirmative action and diversity policies. American
                                                            Sociological Review, 71(4), 589–618.
Andreotti, V. (2006). Soft versus critical global
citizenship education. Policy & Practice:                   Li, P. S. (2004). Social capital and economic
A Development Education Review (3), 40–51.                  outcomes for immigrants and ethnic minorities.

Bacchi, C., & Eveline, J. (2009). Gender mainstream-        5(2), 171–190.
                                                            Journal of International Migration and Integration,

ing or diversity mainstreaming? The politics of
“doing”. Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender              Peck, C. L., Thompson, L. A., Chareka, O., Joshee, R., &
Research, 17(1), 2–17.                                      Sears, A. (2010). From getting along to democratic
                                                            engagement: Moving toward deep diversity in
Charania, G. R. (2011). Grounding the global: A call        citizenship education. Citizenship Teaching and
for more situated practices of pedagogical and              Learning, 6(1), 61–75.
political engagement. ACME: An International
E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 10(3), 351–371.         Quick, K. S., & Feldman, M. S. (2011). Distinguish-
                                                            ing participation and inclusion. Journal of Planning
Dhillon, C., & Young, M. G. (2010). Environmental           Education and Research, 31(3), 272–290.
Racism and First Nations: A call for socially just
public policy development. Canadian Journal of              Yosso, T. J. (2005). Whose culture has capital?
Humanities and Social Sciences, 1(1), 25–39.                A critical race theory discussion of community cul-
                                                            tural wealth. Race, Ethnicity and Education,
Eckstein, H. (1984). Civic inclusion and its                8(1), 69–91.
discontents. Daedalus, 113(4), 107–145.

Gorrie, P. (2007). Why are the greens so white?
Toronto Star. Retrieved from http://www.thestar.

Hampton, K. N. (2011). Comparing bonding and
bridging ties for democratic engagement: Everyday
use of communication technologies within social
networks for civic and civil behaviors. Information,
Communication & Society, 14(4), 510–528.

James, C., Este, D., Bernard, W. T., Benjamin, A., Lloyd,
B., & Turner, T. (2010). Race & well-being: The lives,
hopes, and activism of African Canadians. Halifax:
Fernwood Publishing.

James, C. E. (2003). Seeing ourselves (3rd ed.).
Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.

diversity research report 2012                                                                                    82
appenDix 1—
community partners involveD in
the community Dialogues
The following organizations recruited, hosted and
in some cases offered translation services for 14
community dialogues across the GTA:

• Association of Spanish Speaking Seniors of
  the Greater Toronto Area
• Catholic Crosscultural Services
• Centre for Information & Community
• Chinese Scouting Association
• Community Environment Alliance
• CultureLink
• Devi Mandir
• FutureWatch Environment & Development
• La Casa Dona Juana
• Settlement Assistance and Family Support
• South Asian Women’s Centre
• University Settlement

Equity Matters Consulting
primary researCh:

Selom Chapman-Nyaho
seConDary researCh:

We’d also like to thank all other participants for
their time and input into this research project.

diversity research report 2012                       83

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