Keep Canada Buzzing

Support native pollinators by purchasing a Bumble Tote. These natural canvas totes are perfect for a trip to the beach, park, or farmers market. They are also ethically made right here in Canada. The bumble tote design features seven bumble bee species found in Canada. Keep Canada Buzzing by supporting programs that help native pollinators.

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Canada is losing its native pollinators.

 

About 30% of bumble bee species in Canada are at risk of extinction. Habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change are all contributing factors but more research is needed to understand the full pictures.

Native bumble bees are one of the most effective pollinators because they are biologically adaptive to the ecosystems that they support. Many native plant species depend on bumble bees for fertilization, and if the bees disappear we’ll start to lose those plants. Some plants, including Canada’s native blueberries, can only be pollinated by bumble bees.

Wildlife Preservation Canada’s Native Pollinator Initiative is a nationwide, multi-species effort to save at-risk pollinators. Learn more.

What does ethically made mean?

EcoEquitable, Ottawa, ON

EcoEquitable is a non-profit organization providing a bridge to social and economic integration for people in need, especially immigrant women, while greening the community. EcoEquitable offers intensive 5-month sewing programs to immigrant women – allowing them to join the Canadian textile industry, by selling recycled fabric in our boutique, by offering contract sewing for conference bags and small designer lines, as well as repairs and alterations on site.

Want to learn more? Read the story of how EcoEquitable started.

The story of EcoEquitable begins with a nun, a play, and a little extra space. Lucile Champagne is a French Catholic nun, a trained psychotherapist, the first female chaplain of Saint Paul University, and the founder of EcoEquitable.

In the early 2000s, she realized that her office in the basement of the Bronson Centre had some extra space.  That just wouldn’t do for Lucile, so she helped begin a women’s support group that could use the room as needed. After a donation of used sewing machines and with a play coming up, it seemed natural for the group to offer to sew the costumes for the production.  As the women worked together — shoulder to shoulder, not face to face — Lucile noticed something profound.

Working together towards a common goal gave the women a renewed sense of meaning and purpose. On top of that, they were talking. They were talking about child care and immigration status and social assistance and many other things — they were talking about the real issues that were directly affecting their lives. They were talking openly about these problems that are usually so difficult to discuss. Work created a safe space for these women.

Lucile didn’t waste any time. In 2002, EcoEquitable was founded as a co-op. It has evolved over the years, for example becoming a charity in order to apply for grants and donations, but the core of EcoEquitable has always been the principle that Lucile founded it on — work creates dignity.

She saw the best in people — what they brought to the table, not what made them awkward or closed off. She was intensely empathetic. Her ability to truly appreciate and understand people, even if she had never lived their experience, was a gift. She was deeply uncool. Her motivation was always to do what was right, and her goal was always to help others. She marched to the beat of her own drum. She was a serial entrepreneur. In addition to EcoEquitable, she also founded a beekeeping co-op. She saw the value of community and was always brainstorming creative new ways to help make a difference in people’s lives. More than that — she acted on those ideas.

“Our vision was to build a world in which dignity and the unique gifts of each person are valued and promoted — a community whose members stand with one another in justice and hope.”

– Lucile Champagne