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Sarah Allentuck Secter and Dov Secter.
Photo by Rhonda Spivak.

David Suzuki


Dov Secter and Sarah Allentuck Secter spearhead EcoShift Initiative by J-PEG

by Rhonda Spivak

Dov Secter and his wife Sarah Allentuck  Secter are spearheading  the initiative by J-PEG, the Young Leadership Division of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg to "go green" and become more environmentally aware, through a community wide program known as EcoShift.

EcoShift will be headlined by a leading environmental advocate and host of CBC’s The Nature of Things, Dr. David Suzuki. Dr. Suzuki will be speaking  this Sunday 26 at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, 561 Wellington Crescent, at 7:30 p.m. with a book signing to follow. Tickets for this community wide event can be purchased on line at for $20.00/person or at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, ANSWERS BOOTH at University of Manitoba or the Info Booth at University of Winnipeg. 

As Dov Secter told the Winnipeg Jewish Review, "We believe strongly that the Winnipeg Jewish community should be a leader among other communities in the area of environmental responsibility. Not just on a local level, but we should set the bar for other Jewish communities across canada.  We hoped to approach this challenge by inspiring individuals and organizations with our high profile event.  We sent liaisons to the various jewish organizations to help them adopt or expand upon their green policies, and we created EcoShift, the event to show individuals in our community the many green choices in their own back yard.  The keynote address by Suzuki, helps to raise the profile of the initiative.  Dr. Suzuki is one of Canada's most recognizable and trusted figures, and a natural choice to help inspire our community to live greener.  He has devoted his life to environmental causes and his foundation promotes exactly the kind of change we are hoping individuals will adopt.  The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg supported us 100% in finding the resources and people to help make the day a reality and without them, this event would not have developed beyond an idea.

Sarah Allentuck Secter added, "I'm hoping that as a result of EcoShift, people see how their actions can have a positive or negative impact on the earth.  As John F. Kennedy said, "There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction."  Each of us has a responsibility to do no harm.  Living sustainably does not mean sacrificing the things in this world we love.  It is simply a matter of considering the impact we have on this earth and finding a way to do things more ecologically responsibly. We have to be conscious of the footprint we leave behind. 

Suzuki told  the Winnipeg Jewish Review in a telephone interview that  globally we are going to have to greatly reduce the parts of carbon emissions in the atmosphere  and this  means "we are going to need to grow more of our own food near where we live.Wee can't continue to import and export the way we are doing." 

Airline travel also will have to be drastically reduced.  "More and more I am giving my talks by video conferences," Suzuki said. He suggested that those in the corporate world have less conferences and  meetings that require flying. He noting that he  still flys as he belives that "getting the word out" is important enough such that he flys on occassion.

Suzuki emphasized that we are confronting  ecological destruction and can not wait any longer to take the necessary steps to reduce carbon emissions.  "We are seeing the collapse of ice sheets and the loss of  over 80 per cent of our forests," he said.. He noted he  believes that  the solutiion is going to come from increased awareness by communities on a local level.

Organized by J-PEG’s Environmental Awareness Committee and generously supported by several local businesses and organizations, EcoShift is a full day of raising awareness of ecological sustainability within the Jewish and general Winnipeg communities.  Notable sponsors include Kohler Canada, the City of Winnipeg and the Provincial Ministry of Water Stewardship.
As part of the the evening with Suzuki, several Jewish community organizations will also be recognized for implementing green initiatives in response to EcoShift’s call to action.
A day of activities will also take place from 9:00 am – 2:30 p.m. at the Asper Jewish Community Campus, 123 Doncaster Street.  The program includes lawn care and water conservation demonstrations, an electronic waste drop off, an organic farmer’s market, activities for young Jewish families with environmental themes and a multitude of exhibits by local businesses.   Donald Knaack, popularly known as The Junkman, will conduct interactive musical workshops for young and old on instruments fashioned from recycled materials
As Sarah Allentuck Secter says: “People do not need to make huge changes in their daily routines to live more environmentally sustainable lives. They just need to be aware of their consumption on all levels, from the food they eat, to the things they buy,” 
To learn more about EcoShift, please visit

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.