July’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Akil Mesiwala to support worm farm benches that drive discussions about climate change.
“Climate change is happening,” says Akil, “and it’s really scary. There are many young people who are anxious about it, and this is not great for mental health, nor does it spur any positive action to solving the problem.”
“I want to install two benches in my community of Little Italy where people can come together and have conversations about climate change and think about solutions together,” he explains. “The cool part about these benches is that they are also inconspicuous worm farms – a real solution towards a sustainable future. These worm farms will be used by neighbours to compost their kitchen scraps – and there won’t be any bugs or smells whatsoever!”
“I want to help people validate their climate feelings and get their creative juices flowing by showing them an example of an urban solution to our food waste problem. I will manage both benches,” he adds, “and redistribute the compost back to the soil by feeding neighbourhood trees.”
Akil is a self-described climate warrior and compost hero. He’s also the founder of the local social enterprise, The Box of Life. “I want to make vermicomposting mainstream,” he says, “and show people that earthworms make great pets inside homes. I also want to educate people about the importance of healthy soils in the fight against climate change, as healthy, living soils have an incredible capacity of storing atmospheric carbon beneath our feet.”
Awesome Ottawa is part of a global movement of self-organizing chapters forwarding the interest of awesome in the universe, $1,000 at a time. At each chapter, ten or so “trustees” each contribute $100 monthly and review short applications received online to decide on the recipient of the pooled funds — usually a local project, but occasionally a particularly awesome one far away from home. Almost $6 million has already been awarded globally – $153,000 by Awesome Ottawa. For more information, visit awesomeottawa.ca.