In the lead-up to this weekend’s Earth Hour, Brock University is actively promoting the concept of environmental conservation to our youth – by word and example.
Biology professor and UNESCO Chair on Community Sustainability Liette Vasseur is fresh off the heels of a live stream session that she delivered to high school students across Canada. Her lesson explored the inter-relationship between climate change and agriculture sustainability.
Vasseur also supervises graduate students’ research on teaching environmental concepts to children in homeschools and elementary and secondary schools.
“High schools need to have a course – or at least a half-course – on protecting the environment and sustainability,” says Vasseur, adding that this basic education can lead to more awareness and action down the road.
At the university level, Brock has increased its “diversion rate” to 68.5 per cent in 2015.
“That means that 68.5 per cent of materials we generated ended up not going to the landfill because of our Blue Bin recycling and organic waste collections,” says Domenic Maniccia, director of Custodial and Grounds Services.
“It’s a collective effort between staff, faculty, students, food services, residence; everybody has a stake in it,” he says, adding that Brock University is among the Top Five environmentally sustainable universities in Ontario with respect to waste diversion.
In addition, Brock University will be taking a number of measures to commemorate Earth Hour, which this year will take place from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. March 19. These include:
- Parking Lots T, U, V in Zone 2: lights out (Zone 2 permit holders will be able to park in Zone 1 from 4 p.m. on March 19 as a result of lights out in Zone 2)
- Main Brock Entrance Sign: lights out
- Walker Complex: after hours required lighting only will be on
- Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex: will be turning off all non-emergency lighting as safe to do so. Lighting will be manually turned off in all labs that are able to participate
- Alumni Student Centre: lights to food court, offices and General Brock store turned off
- Guernsey Market: lights dimmed in the seating area of the Market
- Central Utilities Building: lights reduced to minimum for occupant safety
- Residence dining Halls during dinner time will be darkened in cooperation with Residence Services
- Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts: office, classroom and lobby lights off with essential lighting in hallways and stairwells
- Reminders will be sent to all staff, faculty and students to assist by switching off all unnecessary lighting within their areas during Earth Hour.
Earth Hour is organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature, a grassroots movement urging people all around the world to protect the environment. It started in 2007 as a “lights-off” event in Sydney, Australia.
The one-hour event calls on “individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the planet,” says the Earth Hour website.