Mindshift Sustainable Education Keynote

IMG_9723-wMindShift is a powerful theatrical and multi media performance designed and performed by youth working with the Halifax Regional Adventure Earth Centre that asks all of us to shift our awareness and actions to make sustainability a core value in our lives, workplaces and communities. It begins in a darkened theatre with a dramatic entry by the Captain and five Lieutenants of Spaceship Earth, which is on a vast journey through the galaxy from 1890 through to 2030. The audience is challenged with a passionate, startling and scientific rendition of human impacts on the planet in the past century. Happily, the youth performers suddenly wake up in their current lives, and the audience is treated to a humorous and insightful look through the eyes of a sixteen year old as to how each of us can live more sustainably through our everyday actions. Humour, passion and interactive theatre can be powerful medicine to facilitate a mindshift. The performance ends with the youth sharing from the heart as to why they have embarked on MindShift, and how they are making a difference in their communities, before turning to ask the audience how they can make a difference in their own families, workplaces and communities.

010The Halifax Adventure Earth Centre MindShift team has provided numerous large keynote presentations over 8 years, including for the national Canadian Environmental Education conference and the provincial Recreation Nova Scotia conference, as well as to more than a thousand HRM staff, council members, the Mayor, Nova Scotia Premier, plus a wide range of smaller conferences. They have toured Ontario and Quebec. They have consistently received standing ovations and elicited deep emotion and commitments among audience members to make a difference in their lives, workplaces and communities. They were awarded the 2009 provincial youth environment award for their work. The Adventure Earth Centre MindShift team is on its 5th generation of youth (high school passes very quickly), each generation tweaking and updating the performance with their own spin on the issues and solutions.

Here is an example of the power of MindShift to shift it…

ShiftItDance_colour-w“I was so overwhelmed yesterday by the MindShift presentation that I could not speak afterwards. The emotional response to the performance and message from those youth was absolutely profound. This morning, the HRM Manager of Facility Development called myself and our Energy Project Manager to the office with the simple question: How can we take what we experienced yesterday and apply it to the selection process for the designer/architect for the new Library? We already have a high environmental standard on our new construction (LEED Silver), but his challenge was: “how can we go beyond that? The discussion was to ask the proponents how this building can inspire and educate the visitors and community about the environment, or be as much of an educational piece as the books and programs offered inside. We have some of the absolute best designers in the world going to respond to this – and answering that simple question will have an impact on the selection of who designs this building. Now it will be a LEED gold building. That group of youth have made an impact on a $50 Million Library. How’s that for a Shift It?”

Richard McLellan
Chief Administrative Officer, Queens County
(Formerly Sustainability Manager, Halifax)