Our summer staff members Billie Rose and Monica reflect on their time with the INHALE Project and how that impacted their understandings of environmental change and community engagement.
Even though our time at TEA was short, creating connections within local communities enhanced our understanding of how change on a local level can evoke change on a larger scale, starting with local conversations and awareness. The INHALE project, our main project of focus this summer, is a pilot project and the first of community air monitoring initiative in Canada. It aims to create awareness and a dialogue about air quality issues in Toronto. By training volunteers on how to use air quality monitoring equipment and by educating the general public at outreach events, we helped create a forum by which people can think and talk about the air we breathe on a daily basis.
We learned that environmental change takes time, tools and effort, and as the pilot period for the INHALE project nears its end, we will also be able to see growth in awareness on air quality issues in Toronto. Through our community outreach work with INHALE we felt part of movements much larger than ourselves. Our work at TEA has inspired us to focus on urban sustainability in our future studies, and continue to promote community-driven solutions to our urban environmental issues.
Monica De Vera: Monica has been volunteering with TEA for the past two years and this was her second summer as an Outreach Coordinator with the Canada Summer Jobs Program.
Billie Rose Owen: Billie Rose is studying political science and human geography at the University of Toronto, with a special interest in urban agriculture. She worked at TEA this summer with the INHALE project in Toronto's downtown core.