Aditi Garg, an outstanding teacher, environmental activist, and community leader.
Aditi Garg is an outstanding teacher, environmental organizer, facilitator, and leader. She is an inclusive community builder and brings people together in a time when that is needed more than ever. She gently challenges racism and other forms of discrimination and erasure in effective and engaging ways, through her social media presence and in-person. Aditi works toward goals that fit her values including environmental/outdoor knowledge and builds bridges to bring everyone along.
Aditi has been involved in many organizations including as past president of SaskOutdoors, member of the Saskatoon Environmental Advisory Committee, volunteer and board member with the Saskatoon Symphony, and program consultant for Girl Guides of Canada. As an educator, Aditi has moved from teaching high school to supporting university curriculum development, specifically the internationalization of curriculum. She has an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and French Education from the University of Regina, and a Master of Science in Environment, Culture and Society from the University of Edinburgh. Additionally, Aditi has training from the Climate Reality Project and Next Up Saskatchewan. She has facilitated workshops on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), on goal setting for non-profits, and on math education with the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation.
Aditi is generous with her time, often taking on intensive tasks that others shy away from. For the first five months of the pandemic, she did a minute of stairs for each positive COVID case (about 1500 minutes), and encouraged people to follow protocols to reduce risks for all.
What does Global Citizenship mean to you?
To me, a global citizen is an individual who thinks about the global impact of local actions. They work towards nurturing their community in a way that benefits the world. As an environmental advocate, I sometimes negatively associate ‘global’ with industrialization and ‘citizen’ with conformity. However, when I think of the students I've taught and the values I wanted them to develop, many of the attributes correspond collectively to positive global citizenship. I want students to apply their critical thinking skills to the systems of power around them, to have empathy and respect for difference in their lives, and to respond to injustices with action. One of the most inspiring moments of my teaching career was when my students developed a blog about the SDGs in Saskatoon. I saw that their critical reflection on local actions helped them see how they too could contribute to lofty global goals.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from my grandmothers. They were both housewives who nurtured their families for most of their lives. They volunteered their time to support literacy programs, access to potable water and sanitation, job training for marginalized youth, food and nutrition programs, and many other initiatives. They taught us to care for children in need and to help those whose needs were greater than ours. My other inspirations are my parents. They taught my sisters and I to always help those less fortunate than us and to question the status quo. In our family, the least we could do is feed someone - whether it’s a guest in our home or those in need at a local soup kitchen. Growing up, my parents encouraged debate and discussion on difficult topics. Overall, this made our home a safe place to share.
What do you see as one of the most encouraging or innovative trends that is creating positive change in our world right now?
Due to COVID-19, all SaskOutdoors plans for 2020 changed with short notice. We transitioned to hosting virtual events. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work because of spotty online attendance in the past. However, we had amazing uptake from all corners of the province, including rural members. We hosted a virtual speed mingling event attended by over 100 outdoor and environmental educators eager for connection. We have sustained engagement as we re-affirm the need for outdoor education in an online world. More than ever, folks are looking online for how to be offline! I am encouraged by how learning communities are gathering remotely and how innovative our organization has been to meet their needs. Post-COVID, I hope we can remember these lessons and continue connecting. I think this will be a trend for at least the next decade – finding meaningful ways to connect both remotely and in-person.