Updated: Oct 27, 2020
GET TO KNOW US! MEET THE PRISTINE BLUE TEAM!
This week, we’re featuring Tashi Lhamo!
Tashi is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto Scarborough with a Bachelor of Science degree in International Development Studies. As part of her undergraduate co-op placement, she worked with an NGO in Uganda dedicated to making education accessible and affordable with income generating activities for almost a year; acting as a liaison between the international donors and the stakeholders on the ground. Tashi was also part of the 2018 Students on Ice Arctic Expedition, which was her primary motivation to join our Pristine Blue Initiative! Tashi is interested in climate change-related adaptation strategies with an emphasis on environmental justice and sustainable development. She advocates for ocean literacy and marine conservation efforts embedded within the larger climate change issues and hopes to foster urban community connections to nature through its waters!
PB: How do you consume news? Where do you get information from to stay updated on what’s going on with the environment and the oceans?
Tashi: Until recently, I have been getting most of my news on environment and water related issues from my school courses and the newspapers on my long commute to school. With a quick read on the subway, I try to get a better sense of the issues that catch my interest with further web browsing. With social media, it has been far easier to come across information related to water issues with its ubiquitous information sharing feature.
With a little digging, there are plenty of great resources online and across the city for learning about local and global water issues. The organization, Swim Drink Fish, with its Lake Ontario Waterkeeper initiative, monitors the health of our Toronto harbour and has been vital in shedding light on the sewage contamination affecting our waters..
The Toronto Public Library is also great resource as well, featuring its series “Our Fragile Earth”, with programs focusing on different environmental issues. One of its upcoming workshops, “From Macro to Micro: Products and Sources of Microplastics” is a fascinating one that I’ll be attending to learn about microplastics and how it enters Lake Ontario from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
The Pristine Blue Initiative likewise hopes to provide a platform for information sharing and engaging Torontonians on the critical issues facing our waters.
PB: How do you think we can protect our marine environments while also improving our standard of living?
Tashi: The state of our aquatic ecosystems and its biodiversity is closely intertwined with our socio-economic systems, not to mention our own wellbeing from our connection to nature and its waters. From the larger issues of plastic pollution in oceans, the threat of ocean acidification with climate change, and underwater seismic testing affecting marine life to the more local issues affecting our Ontario waterways, ravines and harbours, I believe protecting our aquatic environments is critical to maintaining and improving our standard of living.
We need to reclaim and emphasize environmental stewardship with focus on water literacy and education to better understand and protect our marine and freshwater ecosystems. At the individual level, we can start with sustainable consumption, such as using plastic alternatives in our day to day life, and work towards advocating meaningful policy changes to protect our aquatic environments and its delicate ecosystems. I think we all have a role to play.
PB: Describe a recycling tip people may not know about.
Tashi: You can drop off your electronic wastes at “inorganic markets” across the city where electronic wastes are collected to be recycled sustainably, instead of shipping them off to landfills. Or better yet visit Repair Café, where you can learn to repair items from community members. The basic idea is that instead of throwing away your household items or electronics, you can learn to repair it and prolong its usage, thereby avoiding disposing items needlessly. It is a great cost saving strategy, all the while bringing community members together to share their skills and knowledge.