This week, Top Drawer celebrated the holidays at Gio Rana’s Really Really Nice Restaurant (aka “The Nose”). Plaid dress pants and tuxedo t-shirts aside, the night’s focus was the silent auction featuring goodies from clients including Callaway, Golf Town, Danier, Sirens, Fitness Depot and QMI Sales. Collectively employees bid $2,117 on Leaf and Green Day Tickets, golf clubs and gear, and fitness equipment, and Howard personally matched that amount for a total of $4,234 going to Toronto Environmental Alliance and Camp Oochigeas.
Last Friday, Top Drawer presented a donation to the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA). Howard is a longstanding friend of TEA, and admits up front that his support is a self-concerned proposition. “Local engagement is really important, and the great thing about it is that we can feel the impact of our involvement,” he said. “The Beach is not known for its great air quality, so supporting TEA selfishly helps those us who work and live in this neighbourhood.”
TEA directly impacts critical environmental issues that have a direct impact on our health and well-being – including air and water quality – through education and advocacy. While in our office, Executive Director Franz Hartmann, Canvass Director Justin Conley and Public Transit and Greenbelting Toronto Campaigner Jamie Kirkpatrick shared insights with Top Drawer staff into local air quality, and some of the ways that we, as an agency and as individuals, can help improve it.
“The way we make sure that our air quality is improved is through engagement,” Franz said. “Go to our website – www.torontoenvironment.org – where we have a link to a petition that allows you to send a letter to a councillor to ask them to preserve our air quality.” If your councillor is already supportive of environmental initiatives, Franz suggests talking to friends, colleagues –people you know in other parts of the city – particularly in the suburbs.
“When we canvass, we’re not there just to solicit money, we’re here to engage with people,” Justin said. “It’s looking somebody in the eyes, [and saying] ‘Look, this is what we work on, would you say in principle you agree with these ideas?’ Very few people can look us in the eyes and say, ‘I don’t agree with greenbelting, preserving our air, and making sure people can get around safely.'”
Justin also spoke to the role TEA plays in environmental myth-busting.
Questioning what you hear, getting informed and using your networks are things we can all do to impact our world. And TEA is more than willing to step in – with workshops and representatives at local events, whether a dinner party or a workshop – to provide resources and ideas.
For more information on the Toronto Environmental Alliance, visit www.torontoenvironment.org or call 416-416-596-0660