The central focus of this gathering is the River, an important fluvial system for past, current, and future generations. As the main objectives for the River Talks include: educating citizens about the river and environment, encouraging water activism & protection, and restoring relationships with people & the land working on water issues - sustainability becomes a recurring theme throughout the event.

In the context of the gathering, sustainability is described as meeting the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, while simultaneously upholding ecological balance and inclusivity for all those engaging in the resource.  As sustainability is a recurring theme in our discussions throughout the River Talks, it follows that we demonstrate sustainability in all facets of design and implementation of the conference itself. This involves identifying and prioritizing sustainable practices relevant to the gathering and putting these practices into action to demonstrate our commitment to local sustainability initiatives, or as we like to call it - “Walking the Talk”.

Our Sustainability Plan for The River Talks: A Gathering at Deshkan Ziibi is organized into 4 Sustainability Outcomes, these are the overarching sustainability goals we have set to achieve for the gathering. Within each Sustainability Outcome, we have shared the practices we have put in place to help us achieve the respective Sustainability Outcome. 

Sustainability Outcome #1 - Waste-Free

We are striving to achieve a waste-free gathering by reducing single-use items. This is achieved by:

  • encouraging attendees to bring their own reusable water bottle & filling up water from the fountain or pitchers provided,
  • encouraging attendees to bring their own reusable mug for complimentary coffee,
  • reducing packaging for food items. 

These alternatives allow us to make the event free of plastic water bottles, single-use coffee cups and plastic packaging - all of which are single-use items that require large amounts of energy to produce, transport & recycle (or, not recycle). Additionally, we will be placing three compost bins in the Centre Gallery for attendees to place organics & other compost materials into these bins. 

Sustainability Outcome #2 - Locally Sourced Food & Beverages

Complimentary coffee and vegan baked goods provided at The River Talks are sourced from Museum London's catering partner, North Moore Catering Co.. Coffee provided is Fair Trade Certified, and snacks provided are vegan with locally sourced ingredients where possible. By not serving animal products, we are significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the gathering and refusing to engage in the animal agriculture industry, which is a significant contributor to land use change, greenhouse gas emissions, eutrophication, and ultimately, climate change. 

Sustainability Outcome #3 - Reduce & Reuse Materials

We are committed to reducing materials involved in the coordination of The River Talks. We are doing this by:

  • reducing paper usage for promotional materials,
  • using FSC Certified paper products for paper materials (such as programmes, posters, schedule), and;
  • reducing packaging wherever possible.

Electronic promotion is an amazing tool that greatly reduces paper demands. 

Sustainability Outcome #4 - Energy Reduction

Our carbon footprint for this gathering is greatly reduced by Museum London's energy efficiency practices. The light bulbs at Museum London are energy efficient and motion-detected. But, there is much more to it than just light bulbs. We are encouraging active, public, and shared transportation to the gathering to reduce vehicle emissions related to the event. Personal vehicle emissions (ie. gasoline) accounts for 37% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by Londoners. Therefore, reducing vehicle use whenever possible can lead to significant reductions in our city's GHG emissions.

Museum London is very accessible by the TVP bike path and transit routes. We have provided reminders and helpful links for people to walk, cycle, bus, or carpool to Museum London - you can check this out here. In addition, there is a daily door prize draw for all attendees that took active/public/shared transportation to the venue, providing incentives for those that seek out these environmentally-friendly transportation options.

Lastly, we are estimating carbon emissions generated from personal transportation to the event and the emissions from the building during the event as Carbonzero is offseting them for us for the event.

Attendees are encouraged to use the Project Neutral website ( and related tools to track and manage their own carbon footprint.

If you would like to connect with us regarding our sustainability initiatives, share your feedback and/or suggestions, please contact [email protected]


Walking the Talk: Our Sustainability plan for the River Talks: A Gathering at Deshkaan Ziibi was created by LEN's Communications Coordinator Leah Derikx, and approved by Executive Director, Skylar Franke.