This year WHEN led several important initiatives for our health and environment. Though your participation and your donations, we have been able to achieve great things!
As you know, WHEN successfully uses film and accompanying resource guides, such as Exposure: Environmental Links to Breast Cancer, and Toxic Trespass: How Safe are Our Children? in community workshops and screenings (excellent resources available for sale on our website). In the spring, WHEN and Planet in Focus co-sponsored the Toronto premiere of Living Downstream, a film based on Sandra Steingraber’s book by the same name, to great acclaim. In early 2011, Living Downstream will be added to our repertoire when it is released on DVD. WHEN will be partnering again with Planet in Focus in 2011, for the Toronto launch of Breathtaking, a film by Kathleen Mullen on another timely issue, asbestos.This year, WHEN raised the issue of the toxics in our everyday household and personal care products. The edgy WTF! Campaign (wannabetoxicfree.org) challenges the composition of these products, particularly the hidden toxins labelled as “fragrance”. By combining information and action, this campaign encourages everyone to raise these issues with the policy makers who regulate these projects.
Examining the full lifecycle of consumer products, WHEN also piloted a new collection program, Lower Your Doses, which raises awareness of the impact that discarding household and beauty products (and the parabens, phthalates, tricolsan, propylene glycol they contain) can have on our health and on our environment. Working with South Riverdale Community Centre, we introduced collection bins into two Toronto Grassroots stores, and disposed of this toxic waste at the City of Toronto’s environment days. We hope to broaden the program next year and offer a year-round option for safer disposal, while at the same time encouraging municipal collection as household hazardous waste.
WHEN rounded off a year’s work on these issues with Connect Beauty, an event promoting ethical, eco-friendly fashion through a partnership with Fashion Takes Action. The event was both beautiful and educational. Many of the chemicals that go into making clothing affect all of us, but particularly the production workers.
We also engaged individuals and groups in a very personal way. In partnership with Live Green Toronto, WHEN presented the Leaside Eco-Fair, a local example of how we can bring together organizations that offer alternatives to the toxic chemicals in our household cleaning and personal care products, and even teaching us how to “do it ourselves”! We also partnered with the Multicultural Inter-Agency Group of Peel, working with immigrant women in Mississauga and Malton to share practical information about environmental health risks and how to make better choices for themselves and their families. Also new in 2010, WHEN’s Book Club offers another avenue for learning about the issues. Once a month, activists gather to discuss a new book on the environmental scene, such as, Slow Death by Rubber Duck, Not Just A Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry, Pink Ribbons, Inc., Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis, Living Downstream and Disconnect.
As always, WHEN welcomes your participation! Join our volunteer team. WHEN’s work is largely carried out by volunteers – the more we have, the more we can do. And with social media, the possibilities for raising awareness grow and grow!
Another way to support WHEN is to become a monthly donor. Supporting us this way, a little at a time, may be easier for you to manage, and at the end of the year, you will receive a charitable donation receipt for the entire year’s amount. This method of supporting us is efficient and cost-effective, as we have a more predictable monthly income to match our highly predictable monthly expenses!
In the spirit of peace and solidarity, on behalf of the WHEN Board, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season and a good year in 2011.