Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shad Valley: Synthetic 2 Organic Campaign

This past July I participated in a student enrichment program called Shad Valley. It involved being with 45 other top high school students for one month, staying at a university campus (I spent my month at Memorial University of Newfoundland) We were split into six teams, and one of the main projects during the month was to design a product and company that followed under the provided theme of "Looking to Nature and Natural Fibres." At the end of the month each team competed and one winner was decided. That team, named Siseel Corporation created a product which is artificial eelgrass made of sisal, a natural fibre. They chose to create this product to address the issue of cod fish populations declining due to natural eelgrass being unrooted by strong ocean currents. Eelgrass is a very good habitat for cod fish to live and spawn in, and when it is non-existent the cod populations suffer. That is why the artificial eelgrass could be a viable alternative.

By the end of the month, after the competition between the six teams, all teams were disbanded except for the winning team, which moved on to compete against nine other winning teams from their respective nine Canadian university campuses (Shad Valley happens at ten separate campuses across Canada). Siseel Corporation has been given one month (this August) to further enhance and improve on the existing product and company and add features such as a company website. I was allowed to join the winning team.

I (and several other Shads) decided that we would begin an environmental campaign (named Synthetic 2 Organic) to try to curb and eventually ban the use of synthetic fertilizers. We chose to create a campaign focusing on this issue because synthetic fertilizers contaminate land, water, and when it runs off from land to water it causes uncontrollable growth of algae in water. This causes oxygen concentrations to be depleted, thus killing living organisms in the water that require specific O2 concentrations.

Our team has been working on this campaign for the past month of August. We sent a formal letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, explaining the nature and dangers of synthetic fertilizers. I also produced an awareness video about synthetic fertilizers and organic fertilizers. We also have a campaign website. Check it out at:
Our website introduces the reasons behind why we have started the campaign, and has background information to learn about fertilizers. So check it out! :)

This is the awareness video on synthetic fertilizers:

This is the letter we wrote to the Prime Minister: (its ideas can be used by you to send to your municipal government, members of parliament, or members of provincial parliament)
Campaign Letter

And this is an informational brochure educating the public about synthetic fertilizers:
Synthetic Fertilizer Informational Brochure

Please promote reducing the use of synthetic fertilizers and to use organic fertilizers and other organic products/foods. Switch from Synthetic 2 Organic!!

Andrew Wong
Shad Valley MUN 2009

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