Green Action Centre: A Source of Vigour

According to Niko Roorda, humanity has a large number of sources of vigour at its disposal. These sources can be diverse and might include international organizations or individuals sharing inspiring ideas.

Green Action Centre is most certainly a source of inspiration and if you are a teacher looking to green your school community, look no further....

Green Action Centre is a non-profit non-governmental organization in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is also our “Green Living Hub” encouraging all Manitobans to live green and live well. I had the opportunity to meet with Neil Bailey and the team at the centre located on the 3rd floor of the LEED Gold certified MEC building.  There were several moments that really reinforced the positive work that they do. They offer diverse  initiatives related to sustainable practices and a variety of public workshops that can be tailored to fit the specific goals of organizations and communities around the city.  Educators will find resources and support to reinforce sustainable practices and teach sustainability within the curriculum and beyond. Neil emphasizes the unique role they play in developing programs and policy that are accessible to all. Their role is to work with government at all levels and the community as a whole to affect positive environmental solutions. Though every member of the team is an environmentalist at heart, their role is to respectfully inspire and motivate youth, the business community and local families to seek a greener way of living everyday.

This is Neil. He is the Living Green Living Well Coordinator at the centre. He is responsible for:

  • Marketing and communications

  • Waste reduction programming  

  • Blogging and DIY for green action at home in your day to day life

  • He also provides an aspirational tone for people to shift towards sustainable living.

So what exactly do they do?

Below are some of their key initiatives

Active Transportation: active and safe routes to school


This program encourages schools to find safe routes for kids to walk and bike to school including the walking/cycling school bus with adult supervision. Their goal is:

  • To get kids moving and physically active

  • Reduce emissions that come with every parent driving their child to school

  • Reduce congestion on the roadways and raise environmental awareness

Green Action has also been involved in research to determine how many Manitoba children are using active transportation to get to school and to determine safe routes in Winnipeg.

Bicycle Education Skills Training (B.E.S.T) was launched this year and is a program that teaches bike skills and safety. It was launched in partnership with MPI, Bike Winnipeg and W.R.E.N.C.H and targets Grade 5, 6, 7 and 8 students through their Physical Education curriculum. Hopefully teaching them cycling skills at a young age will get them out on the road more often and considering cycling as a viable mode of active transportation in the future. This program is the first of its kind in Manitoba and second in North America


Green Action Centre educates individuals and communities about composting for waste reduction. They will offer presentations and a variety of workshops ranging from beginner composing to master composting and community composting to vermicomposting.

Green Living Presentations

Some possible topics:

·         Recycling

·         Litter less lunches

·         Composting,

·         Climate change,

·         Water and air quality

·         The ecological footprint concept.

The commuter challenge and workplace commuter options:

Looking to promote greener transportation in your workplace or on your street?

The commuter challenge in June and the Jack Frost challenge in February are great options organized by Green Action Centre. They are very proud of this competitive but friendly event and hope to have more people participating each year.

I asked Neil and the team if there was any one particular success story that resonated. They called their work a snowball of successes and I must agree.

Here are their top 5:

Working to successfully get pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in place

Reducing speed zones

The cosmetic pesticide ban in which they took a lead role through speaking and convening

The annual commuter challenge with more and more Manitobans signing on to participate each year

Composting programs

Neil asked Tracy Hucul, the Executive Director of the centre to speak to the challenges they might face moving forward. She spoke about staying true to their mission and vision while balancing the number of programs they offer. They want to continue to grow their sustainable education programs but in a modest and manageable way. She also talked about shifts in government creating changes for their organization. They always work to maintain dialogue and advocate for sustainable solutions for Manitobans.

Green Action Centre is a powerful resource in our community and I look forward to working with them in the future.

To listen to the full interview, click on the link below and watch the snow.

Interview at GAC - Neil Bailey