KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – There will be less light summer reading for people associated with the Ecology Action Centre (EAC) this year. Instead, they will be taking the summary report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to the beach or the cottage.
The environmental organization is challenging its staff, board, membership and the public to read the report that documents the horrific history and legacy of residential schools in Canada. It is organizing a monthly reading group to support the challenge.
“When the TRC report came out, the commission suggested that it’s everybody’s responsibility to read it, digest it it, and implement its recommendations,” says Joanna Bull, Volunteer & Events Coordinator at the EAC.
“We take that responsibility seriously, and the first step obviously is to read the report. Lots of people here have had that on their to-do list for a long time, so we thought if we start a reading group we will actually read it,” says Bull.
There are good reasons for environmentalists to engage in this effort, says Bull.
“The hope is that by more fully understanding the history and legacy of residential schools we can better understand current issues of our indigenous neighbours, and forge stronger and more genuine relationships with them. We share many of the same goals around protecting mother earth,” she says.
The interest also reflects a bit of an evolution in how people at the EAC think about environmental issues, Bull believes.
“Environmental harms such as toxic pollution and climate change disproportionately affect people who are already marginalized by class, race, income or gender. We have a responsibility to recognize that and bring that understanding into our work,” says Bull.
“It’s been an ongoing process here at the EAC to learn, to relearn and to unlearn,” she says.
The reading group will meet once a month, starting July 6th at 5:30 PM, at the EAC on Fern Street, probably ending in November. Discussions will be facilitated, and there may be guest speakers, says Bull.