Read the response I got tolast week’s call for readers to share a ” CSR Moment of the Week“. It’s a remarkable story from Venezuela about an organization called Banco del Libro(Bank of Books in English) that is dedicated to promoting the importance of reading among children.
I’ve had a week full of great CSR moments but the best CSR moment is easy to choose: Paddle the Don.Once a year, the Toronto and Region Conservation, the Conservation Foundation of Greater Toronto, the Wilderness Canoe Association, and the Don Watershed Regeneration Councilprovide a unique opportunity for people to paddle the Don River (a river at the bottom of a ravine in the heart of Canada’s largest urban region) and to see first-hand what’s worked and what hasn’t in terms of conservation.
I grew up in Toronto and often ride my bike on the path next to the Don River but never had a chance to be on the river itself. This year, I was fortunate to be invited by Nelson Switzer, Director of Corporate Responsibility for Direct Energyto join the company’s team (really more of a flotilla).
The experience was extraordinary. At our launching-off point, the river seemed pristine and it really felt like we were in the wilderness. However, by the time we reached the waterfront (about 15K from the start) we were surrounded by industry, the water looked dirty, and you could clearly see where homeless lived under the bridges.
On a lighter note, my canoe partner, Mary Thomas from the YMCA of Greater Torontoand I actually managed to stay upright for the entire route which included three sets of rapids. I can only attribute to our success to a total lack of experience and the mantra “go straight down the middle and paddle like hell.”Also, the Direct Energy Team came in 2nd place!
Paddle the Don illustrated that you can raise awareness, raise money, and also have fun. I’ll be doing this again next year for sure.