An unusually cold June afternoon did not deter people from attending St. Paul’s Anglican Church’s hosting of their first Sustainable Development Fair. Organized by the Outreach and Social Justice Committee, the fair was held to draw attention to, and educate people on the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals sent out in 2015. The objectives of the UN goals are in keeping with Christian responsibilities to love and care for all of God’s creations. The key focus of the UN goals is to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all”.
St. Paul’s Church has a strong, widely-shared reputation for social-justice outreach and activism, and for commitment to stewardship of resources, both natural and human. At every baptism the congregation promises to “strive to safeguard the integrity of creation — to respect, sustain and renew the life of the earth,” as well as to “strive for peace and justice, and respect the dignity of every human being.” As the Outreach and Social Justice Committee’s Mission Statement says, “We seek to achieve fairness for all through support, advocacy and education, with special concern for the disadvantaged and disenfranchised.”
25 organizations participated in the fair, including displays from the cities of Charlottetown and Summerside, the UPEI Climate lab, Island Waste Management Corporation, and Peers Alliance (formerly AIDS-PEI). Displays helped educate the attendees on important topics like making sure your home is energy efficient and alternative sources of electricity (wind turbines and solar panels). Howatt’s EnviroPaints displayed their line of paints, produced from paints colored but not sold, and mixed to give new colors in limited amounts. The Tool Library was there; it’s an organization that lets consumers borrow tools that they may only need occasionally or even just once, in return for a nominal fee.
Phil Ferraro, from the Farm Centre in Charlottetown, gave a presentation on corporate social responsibility to an enthusiastic audience. Following the presentation, a lively question and answer session further educated the audience.
Activities for children included face painting by the Wild Child (forest camp), and a coloring table was enjoyed by children and some adults!! Coffee, tea and lemon water were provided for the attendees thanks to donations from Lady Baker tea and Receiver Coffee Co. In the advertising for the event, the public were encouraged to bring their own reusable coffee mug and/or water bottle.
As a “thank you” for coming to the fair, attendees were offered a bag of bulbs donated by Vesey’s Seeds and a tree seedling from the Department of Forestry. The organizers are now evaluating the success of the event and thinking already about next year.