Earth Day at Toronto French School

April 27, 2016 – Estelle Codjovi, Ecoloodi Volunteer

Earth Week 2016 took place from Monday, April 18 to Friday, April 22, 2016. To celebrate the occasion, students from the Toronto French School (TFS)—a private bilingual school in Toronto—performed a number of ecological activities. On Monday, April 18, at 5:00PM, Ecoloodi had the pleasure of opening an evening conference with a presentation entitled, “Why is water important?”

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An audience of about fifty people attended the conference: students, parents, and school staff, but also members of the public. We invite you to revisit this beautiful evening full of songs, stories, travel, and quotes that helped the audience learn more about water.

Conference opening

“I ask and encourage students to act, the planet is counting on you.” Dr. González, Director General of the TFS.

In his opening remarks, Dr. González reminded the audience that water concerns each of us. Next, Catherine, a Grade 11 student and leader of the school Environment Club, presented Dr. Ludiwine Clouzot, founder of Ecoloodi, accompanied by Aboriginal storyteller Serge Gagnon.

“For me, water is an important issue that is not taken seriously enough by young people.” Catherine, TFS student

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From Canada to Benin…

Dr. Clouzot returned from her trip to Benin in January 2015, and spoke about difficulties there related to water: problems of hygiene, access to water, sanitation, and lack of access to education. And of the reality that women and children, some as young as 5 or 6 years old, must travel tens of kilometers each day to fetch water.

During her trip, Dr. Clouzot had the pleasure of meeting schoolchildren and teachers from 8 different schools, public and private, across the country. She even organized a Skype call among schoolchildren in Cotonou and students of the TFS. Abe, a TFS student who participated in this Skype exchange, recalls:

“Before, I didn’t know very much about water. Our teacher, Mr. Plantiveau, asked us to prepare some questions ahead of time. What surprised me the most was the daily walk to fetch water. I would never be able to make it! We are really lucky to have access to drinking water in Canada.” Abe, TFS student.

Return to Toronto, Canada

Dr. Clouzot reminded the audience that Canada is also facing its own water issues. Some regions, particularly in the North, don’t always have access to clean drinking water. But there is also a lot of wasted water, pollution, invasive species, and considerable consumption of bottled water, which can degrade ecosystems on a global scale.

“Toronto has excellent drinking water from the tap. Drink tap water and reduce your consumption of bottled water. Take care of water, and it will take care of us.” Dr. Ludiwine Clouzot.

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Virtual water

Do you know what virtual water is? This is the water required to manufacture consumer goods. Daria and Linda, two Grade 11 students, presented their work to the audience: it takes 20,000L of water to make a T-shirt, and 16,000L of water to produce 1 kg of beef. These students invited us to reflect on our buying habits.

“20,000L of water to produce a cotton T-shirt. Think about that before buying or discarding your clothing.” Daria and Linda, TFS students.

Videos, stories, and songs

Dr. Clouzot took us from the video H2O – the Story of a Little Drop, an animated story of the water cycle created by Ecoloodi, to the trailer of the film by Yann Arthus Bertrand, A Thirsty World. The conference concluded with a story and two songs honouring aboriginal people and water.

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“This kind of conference can help us make sense of issues that are often abstract.” Quentin Debecker, TFS teacher

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