“Trent University was green before green was cool,” said Mr. Jon Grant to the appreciative Toronto area alumni gathered at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) for the second annual Ideas that Change the World Conference on Monday, November 5.
Mr. Grant, past chair of the Board of Governors of Trent University and current chair of the Ontario Biodiversity Council was the emcee for the evening. He welcomed the crowd along with Trent University chancellor Tom Jackson, who also joined in on the presentations around the theme of biodiversity.
“Biodiversity is what is all around us and it is important that we as individuals make this a cornerstone of our lives,” said Mr. Grant.
The featured speaker for the event was Trent alumnus, Mr. Dave Ireland, managing director of biodiversity programs at the ROM, who provided his animated talk “Life in Crisis” and also shared some personal experiences and warm memories of Trent. He provided insight to his current work at the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity at the ROM, which explores biodiversity through the three core themes of, “Life is Diverse”, “Life is Interconnected”, and “Life is at Risk”. Mr. Ireland graduated from Trent with a Master of Science in Watershed Ecosystems, a program now known as Environmental and Life Sciences.
Dr. Bradley White, professor in the Department of Biology at Trent, gave a heartfelt presentation on his historical experience in international research on the North American Right Whale. The resulting collaboration with NGOs and industry brought about the voluntary change of an international shipping route that was threatening the species. While Professor White’s story exposed some gruesome truths, he demonstrated that, “things can be done when people get together. Academics can work with industry and others to make change.”
Dr. Steven E. Franklin, president and vice-chancellor of Trent University was in attendance at the event and also spoke about the importance of sustainability in Trent’s future when he provided examples of success in his institutional update for the alumni gathered in the room.
Mr. Steve Hounsell, president of Trees Ontario, who also presented on Trees Ontario and Ontario Biodiversity Council goals and initiatives, responded to President Franklin’s sustainability plans for Trent. “It’s right on the money,” he said. “It’s urgent and it’s needed.”
Tom Jackson brought the presentations to a close with a musical performance and an engaging address that challenged the audience. “If we don't find a way to communicate what we believe with passion and commitment of love, then the challenge is going to be more difficult. Not impossible, but more difficult.”
“Ideas that Change the World” is envisioned as a conference of speakers and presentations that will culminate “in a good party,” in honour of Tony Storey, who values so highly the learning that takes place outside of the classroom. “The conference was established in 2011 to honour Mr. Storey, who retired as director of Alumni Affairs after 33 years at Trent.
This event is made possible thanks to the generosity of the many Tony Storey Fund donors as well as sponsor TD Insurance Meloche Monnex.
Posted on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.