Four Toronto changemakers working toward a more sustainable future

With Earth Day around the corner, it’s the perfect time to shine a spotlight on sustainable initiatives making waves in Toronto, but for these trailblazers, it’s just another day in the life. Here are four Toronto-based leaders who have made it their mission to lead the charge in creating a more sustainable world.

Building sustainable communities

Roya Khaleeli, Director, Sustainability and Innovation at Minto Communities

“When I was 12 years old, I was told polluting lakes was ‘just the cost of doing business.’ That never made sense to me. That early experience inspired my path forward, though I didn’t know it yet. As a young engineer, I was searching for direction on how I could apply my skills in an area that I was passionate about. I came across the idea that we choose the problems we want to focus on, and it was from there I pursued a master’s degree in sustainability in Sweden. I worked in the U.K. as a consultant in the sustainability sector for five years before returning to Canada to join Minto Communities. I’ve been here for the last nine years, working to influence and change lifestyle factors I noticed through my travels like energy consumption, simplifying recycling, and less reliance on cars through better community planning.”


Turning conversations into action

So happy to share the 2020 Terrera Earth Award with Carbon Conversations Toronto co-funders Amy Castator and Tara…

Posted by Brianna Aspinall on Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Brianna Aspinall, Founder, Carbon Conversations TO

“In university, I was a volunteer for the natural landscaping team, planting and caring for native plants. Towards my last year of studying, I was feeling pretty upset because I kept learning how our system prioritizes profit over people and the planet. A friend told me about Carbon Conversations UK — they had a proven model that approached climate action through a psychological lens. I reconnected with two amazing women from the University of Waterloo, Amy Castator and Tara Wilkie, and since then we haven’t looked back. Carbon Conversations Toronto (CCTO) is a volunteer-led group founded to help people find hope in the climate crisis. Climate change can leave people feeling hopeless and unmotivated, so CCTO helps them find the motivation to take action. Talking is part of the journey to begin building a coalition and creating the world we want to live in and leave behind for future generations.”


An eco-shop for eco-conscious homes

Megan Unay, Founder, Green Way Co.

“There are a lot of factors in my life that have made me live a minimalist, eco-friendly lifestyle. My mom taught me about natural products, essential oils and clean living, and she always made sure I took my vitamins. At the time I kind of hated it, but as I grew up, I realized she did the right thing — not only do all of these chemicals affect us, but also our planet. I started my e-commerce store Green Way back in March 2020, right before COVID hit. I used to own a brick and mortar store in Milton, so I knew it would be a great way to spread information and positivity while meeting people along the way. I have a simple message: start small and go at your own pace. Every change, even the small ones, makes an impact. The Green Way is about empowering people at every stage of their sustainable journey. Knowledge is power!”


From litter to long-term change


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by One Piece A Day 🌎 (@onepieceaday1)

Dmytriy Pereklita, Founder, One Piece a Day app

“About six years ago, I was running on the beach in Mexico when I noticed quite a bit of litter underfoot. I started picking up small bits at a time, and within 45 minutes I had probably picked up over 500 pieces of litter. For every piece I picked up, I was leaving thousands behind. I kept thinking, what if everyone on the planet could just pick up one piece of litter a day? The idea for the One Piece a Day litter app was born. We’re here to tell you that there is hope. Through self-education, taking an honest look at our personal habits, and switching our behaviours from using single-use plastics to reusable water bottles, shopping bags and coffee mugs, and finding refill stations near you for soaps and shampoos, we can curb the blind dependence on single-use plastic, which some scientists are calling the biggest threat to the planet after climate change. Since we launched the app, our global community has picked up and logged 1.1 million pieces of litter worldwide!”

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO