b&E Collective Activist Proposes Blog

by Lia Gudaitis

Lia Gudaitis, like Chantal Brundage and Arlita MacNamee, was part of the incoming MES cohort of Sept. 2004, which formed the business & Environment Collective.  Lia developed and maintained the Collective’s website, and since graduation has been mainly working in Africa.  She will soon be heading for a planning job in United Arab Emirates, but wants to maintain some connection with the FES B&E program.  Her offering here provides an interesting account of some recent B&E student experience, besides an invitation for current FESers to dialogue with Collective alums on  B&E issues. 


The Business & Environment Collective came about from a group of enthusiastic students in the Business & Environment Diploma program at FES.  Though all of the founding members have since graduated, many of us are working in green business and related fields and are attempting to keep the spirit of the b&E alive by starting a blog to replace our now defunct website and listserv.  Anyone can visit the blog and write comments (at http://becollective.blogspot.com/); and people who are interested in posting to the blog can email <lia.gudaitis[at]gmail.com> to become a blog author.  Your energy and enthusiasm will make the blog a useful resource for colleagues and people interested in green business.


b&E Collective: Who We Are

The b&E Collective is primarily a group of current and former Master in Environmental Studies students at York University in Toronto, interested in encouraging sustainability via environmental applications for businesses. We encourage consumer and business participation in a new economy that reflects a triple bottom line of Environmental, Social, and Economic responsibility.


Past Events

During the 2004-5 academic year, the business & Environment Collective at FES was very active in organising events which benefited York and our surrounding community.  These events included:


Signatures for the “Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for Clean Energy”

In November of 2004, b&E members collected hundreds of signatures for the “Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for Clean Energy” in cooperation with our neighbours down south for Energy Action day.


Holiday Shopping Alternatives

In early December, the b&E Collective held a bake sale and information session to present holiday consumer alternatives which reflect environmentally- and socially-conscious alternatives for holiday shopping.


Greening the Campus – Making York an Environmental Leader

On January 19th, 2005, the b&E Collective helped launch the Student Network on Greening York University by organising a panel discussion entitled “Greening the Campus – Making York an Environmental Leader” where invited panellists representing FES and York University’s administration discussed past, current, and future initiatives aimed at greening York’s campus under the facilitation of FES PhD candidate Nadine Gutz.

As a follow-up, we helped Andrew Wilson, York University’s campus planner, in organising a planning and design session for the York University Landscape Master Plan on March 11th, 2005. Some of our members also took part in the York University Landscape Master Plan Charette, providing our input on how to make York a leader in implementing sustainability.


Oil on Ice

131UnnamedLakeAs part of Environmental Awareness Week at York University, the b&E Collective screened the film Oil on Ice on March 8th, “a vivid, compelling and comprehensive documentary connecting the fate of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to decisions America makes about energy policy, transportation choices, and other seemingly unrelated matters.” This screening was organised to draw attention to MacKenzie Gas Project in Canada’s north, a project which could prevent Canada from meeting its Kyoto emission reduction targets.



Fossil Fool’s Day - adopted a car dealership

For “Fossil Fool’s Day” on April 1st, 2005, b&E members adopted a car dealership by writing letters to address our concern about protecting global security and preserving the environment for our future generations. b&E then joined the Raging Grannies, Toronto at a demonstration in front of a dealership on Yorkville Avenue


Books and Beers

In addition to our higher profile events, we have hosted “Books and Beers” evenings where we discuss a featured book over beer, and we are also in the process of establishing stronger ties between local organisations and students interested in doing research which could directly help them.


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