Metcalf Photo Essay: Graham Saul paper launch
2018

On Thursday November 1, 2018 members of Toronto’s environmental community gathered for the launch of Graham Saul’s Metcalf Innovation paper Environmentalists, what are we fighting for? Graham Saul has spent over 25 years working on social and environmental issues in Canada, Washington, and Mozambique, with high profile organizations like Oxfam, the Bank Information Centre, and Climate Action Network Canada, before joining Nature Canada as Executive Director.

The Metcalf Innovation Fellowship program provides critical thinkers with the opportunity to ask hard questions and propose solutions to systemic issues in the areas in which the Foundation works. Established in 1960, The George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation is a private family foundation, which invests approximately $5.6 million each year in charitable activity, principally to environmental causes, the performing arts, and inclusive local economies.

 

Metcalf Intern Molly Willats greets the guests and checks them in. The 150 seat house was at capacity.

Photo: Guntar Kravis

Designed to provoke a conversation, Graham’s basic argument is that the environmental movement has so far failed to follow the example set by earlier movements like the abolitionist, civil rights, and women’s movements, and come up with clear and compelling language behind which people and politicians can rally.

Photo: Guntar Kravis

Friends and colleagues have a chance to catch up before the talk began.

Photo: Guntar Kravis

Final sound check by Alliance Français Audio Visual and Stage Manager Marin Stemmelen (left) and CBC Radio Ideas technician Mitch Stuart (right).

Photo: Guntar Kravis

Metcalf President and CEO Sandy Houston welcomes the crowd and explains the vital role of the Innovation Fellowships to the Foundation.

“This body of work has challenged perceived wisdom, seeded new initiatives, and, on our best days, prompted a shift in the status quo.”

Photo: Guntar Kravis

Graham Saul conducted interviews with over 100 environmental leaders and his findings confirmed his original insight that environmentalists need and want to be able to simply and powerfully articulate their overall goal.

“It’s true that the environmental movement has grown into one of the largest social movements in the world today and yet I still find myself wondering what it’s going to take to get through to people. Do people not understand the scale of the threat or are they not connecting the dots? Are environmentalists not being clear about the ultimate goal of the environmental movement?”

Photo: Guntar Kravis

Graham’s hypothesis and findings resonate with other environmentalists.

Photo: Guntar Kravis

Following Graham’s talk, Cassie Barker and other audience members ask Graham a number of questions.

Photo: Guntar Kravis

Asked why some countries are doing better than others on the environmental front, Graham’s response isn’t complicated.

“I’ve learned what it is that explains those countries that are actually making more rapid progress than countries like Canada. And you know what it is? They’re trying.”

Photo: Guntar Kravis

Guests gather for a reception in the gallery of the Alliance Française for further discussion with Graham and one another.

Photo: Guntar Kravis

Metcalf Advisor Hannah Evans shares her thoughts with Metcalf Environment Program Director Andre Vallillee.

Metcalf Advisor Albert Koehl (centre) talks with Environmental Defence’s Patrick DeRochie (left) and Ian Klesmer of The Atmospheric Fund (right).

Photo: Guntar Kravis

David Suzuki Foundation’s Gideon Forman discusses the paper with another guest.

Photo: Guntar Kravis

Jeremy Guth of the Woodcock Foundation chats with Metcalf President and CEO Sandy Houston.

Photo: Guntar Kravis

Graham’s talk was broadcast on CBC Radio Ideas on November 23, 2018. The episode, Why Environmentalism if Failing, is available on the Ideas website or for download on their podcast.