Articles by author: ebreslow

  • How to Have a Sustainable 2022

    Blog Contributor: Madison Lepp

    The new year is always a great time to consider making positive changes – there are many small changes an individual can take on to create a more sustainable lifestyle. Here are some suggestions for living sustainably in 2022 and new year’s resolutions to take into consideration…

    1. Shop Smarter

    Aim to only buy what you need and will consume or use. Shifting your mindset to think of the resources we have as limited, will allow you to use them more conservatively in the new year. Aim to shop locally and support independent businesses where possible. Think about whether the item you are buying is sustainably sourced, ethically produced, high quality, and long-lasting. Ask yourself – Do I need it? Where is this product from, who made it, and what is it made of? How is it packaged? How can it be disposed of after use? Can I buy a used or thrifted version of the product? 

    New year’s resolution idea: Switch to buying Fairtrade and locally roasted coffee beans! 

    2. Save Energy

    Globally, about 78% of GHG emissions from human activity are from the production and consumption of energy. Wasting less energy is a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint and requires very little effort! Simply turn off light switches, switch your bulbs to LEDs, wash laundry on a cooler setting, and/or air-dry clothing to reduce your household energy usage. Properly insulating your home is also a great way to reduce the energy needed to keep your home warm this winter. A plus to this is that you will also lower your energy bill!  

     New Year’s resolution idea: Only wash full loads of laundry and wash on cold! 

    3. Slow Fashion Only

    Did you know that according to Fashion Checker, 93% of brands are not paying garment workers a living wage? Or that, Clothing production is the third biggest manufacturing industry (after automotive and technology) and that textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined. The hard truth is that more than 500 billion dollars of value is lost every year due to underutilization and lack of recycling. We oftentimes think of garments as short-term tools, contributing to wasteful consumption patterns that inevitably leading the world toward drastic climate change. We must shift this to thinking of garments as long-term investments. Try asking yourself: Is this an item I need and will use until the end of its lifecycle? How will I dispose of this clothing item at the end of its lifecycle? Will I love this item in 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years? Who made this item and were they paid fairly? A great resource to ensure the brand you are purchasing from has good intentions is the website/app Good On You.

    New year’s resolution idea: Only purchase one clothing item a month or have a one in – one out rule! 

    4. Waste Not

    Over the past 50 years, world plastic production has doubled – bringing the weight of production up to 300 million tonnes every year! To put that into perspective, that’s equivalent to the weight of the entire human population. To make matters worse only 9% of all plastic produced is recycled. At times plastic seems to be scary and unavoidable but it is still possible to reduce the amount of single use plastic you consume! Always pay attention to the products you buy and brands you support. Make sure to dispose of and recycle everything you use correctly; opt for compostable items where possible; and check out TerraCycle schemes. If you can: donate, pass on, or sell something before disposing of it – this is always your best option. Making zero waste swaps is a great way to reduce waste! Here is a list of 50+ Zero waste swaps to try!  

    New Year’s resolution idea: Commit to one zero waste swap a month or set a rule of thumb to only purchase 10% or 20% plastic items at the supermarket.  

    5. Embrace and Support Mother Nature

    It’s scientifically proven that spending time outside can reduce stress, encourage creativity, and promote better immune system functions. Studies have shown that even just 20 minutes per day spent in nature can lower stress hormone levels, boost self-esteem, and improve mood. Spend more time outside and show nature appreciation by planting trees, wildflowers, and pollinator friendly plants; picking up litter while you walk; adding bird feeders to your yard; and/or supporting a wildlife charity! 

     New year’s resolution idea: Create a regular date with nature! 




  • Facilities Management is Taking Action through a Holiday Sustainability Challenge

    Blog Contributor: Elenore Breslow

    Every day we make choices in our lives that impact the environment around us – from the food we eat to the car we drive. Leading a sustainable lifestyle is an important first step in taking climate action, and perhaps can become a precursor of wider change to help incentivise climate action on a larger scale 

    Staff members in Facilities Management (FM) are setting the tone across the University by taking part in their first Holiday Sustainability Challenge. Blackstone Energy Services and Brock partnered together to provide an innovative and interactive sustainability app to encourage adoption of more sustainable habits through friendly competition. This past fall a student-focused challenge was hosted but now staff are getting in on the fun too! 

    “We’re so proud of the efforts and overall participation from the FM team in the challenge, said Drew Cullen, Manager, District Energy. “Not only was the competition a great way to inspire everyone to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, but it was also a fun team bonding exercise.” 

    Facilities Management Holiday Sustainability Challenge Winners – The Carbon Crushers. (left to right) Scott Johnstone (Senior Associate VP, Infrastructure & Operations), Mary Quintana (Director, Asset Management & Utilities), Mandeep Mukkar-Ippolito (Facilities Manager, MIWSFPA & Satellite Sites), Dave McArthur (Director, Facilities & Services), John Clutterbuck (Manager, CFHBRC).

    The weeklong challenge started on December 6 and ended on December 10, 2021. Six teams took part, which included team fun names like “Carbon Crushers”, “Captain Planet and the Paperless Posse”, and “Eco Warriors”. FM did not take the challenge lightly; and there may have been some sore losers. In the end the Carbon Crushers took first prize and won sustainable gift baskets from the Campus Store. Even though the competition was all in good fun, it does sound like the other teams are already looking for a rematch. 

    Impact Totals from the Challenge:  

    Over 3.6 tons of CO2 saved 

    270 kilograms of waste diverted 

    5300 gallons of water saved  

    Participants logged their actions in the Blackstone Energy App. Popular actions that earned points included: taking a shorter shower, having a vegetarian meal, carpooling, and visiting a park. The challenge encouraged FM to make more sustainable choices in their everyday lives and share the reasoning behind these behavioral changes with those around them.  

    “The holiday sustainability challenge was a fun experience and it also highlighted that many of us in FM already live sustainable lives, but there is always room for improvement,” said Dave Mcarthur, Director, Facilities & Services.  

    “It also illustrated that adopting sustainable habits doesn’t necessarily cost more, it just can require a little discipline,” he said. 

    Moving forward, there are plans to host more sustainability challenges for staff and faculty, as well as students. Individual action matters and when we choose to take public transit instead of driving, purchase local produce, or switch to LEDs, we have an impact. The goal of these challenges is to showcase how everyone can make their lives more sustainable, and hopefully continue the actions after the contest is over. 

    Categories: Sustainability

  • Sustainable Holiday Gift Guide

    Blog Contributor: Alexandra Cotrufo

    Holiday gifts surrounded by the title Sustainable Gift Guide

    It’s officially December, and if you haven’t already started, you’re probably getting ready to purchase holiday gifts for all your loved ones! The gift-giving season is an opportunity to show your appreciation for those who have been by your side throughout the year. While it’s fun to go out (or go online) and buy the perfect gifts for the people in your life, holiday consumerism has a negative impact on the health of the planet because we generate 30% more waste over the festive season. 

    Each year, the shopping frenzy seems to start earlier and earlier. This year, some retailers started marketing and displaying holiday gifts as early as September, with the reasoning being that gifts may take longer to arrive because of delays caused by COVID-19. While less money was spent on gifts last year due to gathering and shopping restrictions, Canadian holiday spending is expected to increase by 29% this year. The intention behind giving a gift is usually positive, but unfortunately, many gifts given during the holidays get prematurely thrown out and end up in landfills alongside excessive amounts of wrapping paper, tape, plastic, and decorations. In addition, the growing popularity of online shopping has resulted in more packaging waste and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. 

    But there is good news! Consumers are becoming more aware of how their shopping habits can contribute to climate change, and 45% of Canadians who participated in a Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwCsurvey said they are extremely likely to shop from socially and environmentally responsible retailers this year. If you’re looking to do the same, here is a gift guide of some sustainable and local products sure to bring a smile to anyone on your shopping list. If you’re interested in purchasing any of these giftsand if it’s feasible, try shopping in-person rather than online to further reduce your carbon footprint. Also be sure to check out our previous blog post about tips for green gift giving! 

    1. Aija Candle Studio Soy Candle from Bioterra Eco Shop 

    Hand-poured in small batches in London, ONAija candles are made with 100% organic soy wax and are free of petroleum, lead, paraffin, pesticides, phthalate, and dyes. Bioterra Eco Shop is located in St. Catharines and helps fantastic, ethically made products find their way into the hearts of eco-conscious individuals. 

    2. Small Scale Farms Produce Box Subscription 

    Located in Allanburg, ON, Small Scale Farms offers a produce box service where you can buy a crateful of local fruits and vegetables as a one-time purchase or signup for their subscription service to receive a box on a weekly or monthly basis. In addition, for every subscription box sold, they donate one box to someone in need within the Niagara region. 

    3. Beechwood Doughnuts Gift Card

    Beechwood Doughnuts is Niagara’s first and only 100% vegan doughnut shop. Located in the heart of Downtown St. Catharines, Beechwood Doughnuts proves that plant-based foods can be just as delicious as they are compassionate. Beechwood is a proud partner of YWCA Niagara Region and an Ontario Living Wage Employer. 

    4. Rise Above Restaurant & Bakery Gift Card 

    Rise Above is Niagara’s first 100% vegan restaurant and bakery and is located just minutes from Brock’s main campus! They specialize in delicious comfort foods, healthy choices, and fresh baked desserts. 

    5. {pocket}CHANGE Blue & Tan Waffle Weave Scarf 

    This local shop was created to support artisans in the St. Catharines community. A portion of every purchase, such as the purchase of this fair-trade and handmade scarf, is donated to organizations working to improve health and wellness, education, and the environment. 

    6. Guess Where Trips 

    Guess Where Trips is run by female Canadians who create exciting itineraries that allow travelers to discover new places across Ontario they would have never seen before. They even have some local trips within the Niagara Region! Be sure to reach out to the extremely kind business owners for details on local trips. (Tip: opt for the PDF version of the trip itinerary to save on packaging and delivery emissions!) 

    A final note to remember during this holiday season: while gift-giving can be a fun experience for many, it can also be an incredibly stressful time for others. Several factors such as cost, expectations to get the perfect gift, and large shopping crowds among others can make it difficult to purchase gifts. It’s important to remember that sometimes, the best gifts are priceless experiences which make memories that will last far beyond the lifespan of a materialistic gift. If you can’t afford to buy a gift this year, try making one with materials you have readily available to you or organize an excursion to a nearby town! There are plenty of ways to give joy this holiday season without adding stress to you or the environment. 

  • It wasn’t all blue skies at COP26: A look at the conference from the eyes of activists

    Blog Contributors: Alexandra Cotrufo and Madison Lepp


    COP26 – the conference aimed at tackling current environmental, social, and economic challenges which took place earlier this month – was an event that started with hope and ambition but ended with anger and disappointment for many. For a more thorough review of what happened over the two-week period, you can read our What Happened at COP26? The Summit in Review blog post. The annual conference aimed to bring world leaders together to agree on promises to reduce environmental degradation and provide relief and support for our most vulnerable communities. Concerned citizens and climate activists were hoping COP26 would be an opportunity for leaders to finally commit to ending the burning of fossil fuels by 2030, a critical decision needed to prevent global temperatures from rising above 1.5°C according to the IPCC special report. Instead, powerful governments settled on compromises which put the interests of the fossil fuel industry ahead of the survival of humanity.  

    From the very first day of the conference, activists were on standby inside and outside the front doors of the Scottish Event Campus to hold government leaders accountable for their actions and past promises. Over the following eleven days, many protests broke out on the streets of Glasgow in response to the lack of action being taken toward climate justice, the failure to provide accessibility to the conference, and the prominence of greenwashing. 


    Many delegates and activists travelled long distances to get to COP26. To their surprise, many barriers came in the way of them entering the venue. Organizers, who issued accreditation for 39,000+ people to access a 10,000-person capacity venue, were criticized for not accommodating the capacities. Participants who traveled far distances were told to return to their hotels and watch the event from the online broadcast. Although the organizing groups blamed the pandemic, those who planned to attend the conference virtually were also let down by the limited opportunities to interact in the various events. Participating virtually only allowed for viewing and did not allow for the raising of hands or asking of questions. This limited the number of members who were able to participate from the Global Southparticularly Indigenous communities. Furthermore, despite the conferences promotion of ensuring inclusivity, little work was done to uphold this. With no wheelchair access and no sign language interpreters on stagemany accused the conference of being exclusionary and ableist. 

    Marginalized groups and minority communities are those most hit by the harsh effects of climate change while also being the least responsible for it. For this reason, their voices should be at the center of climate action. CNN interviews with dozens of underrepresented groups revealed the harsh truths of COP26Throughout the conference, underrepresented groups were placed at the back of auditoriums and were asked to leave the rooms when capacity levels were reached. A representative from the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus was asked to leave negotiations on carbon markets – the very issue that impacts their lands the most. Many felt they were being tokenized, given the observer status to perform dances and prayers, but unable to voice their opinions when negotiations started. 

    Not only was the presence of country delegates outnumbered by the presence of fossil fuel industry membersit was also clear that members of this industry had an agenda – and this agenda involved a lot of greenwashing. Within the exhibitions, many noticed that the European Union’s events were being run by lobbyists. Examples include events such as Global Guarantees of Origin for Clean Hydrogen” which was run by Hydrogen Europea lobbyist group with members including the likes of Shell, Total, and Equinor. And the European Union (EU) was not the only one, further events were being run by gas giants in the attempt to employ a key strategy of the fossil fuel industry. 


    Large protests broke out over the course of the conference in response to the lack of accountability and action being taken toward the climate crisis, as well as the presence of fossil fuel lobbyistsWell-known youth activists such as Vanessa NakateDominika LasotaMitzi Tan, and Greta Thunberg released an open letter, which has received more than 1.8 million signatures, urging political leaders to step up and use their position of power to make the decisions needed to save the planet from further devastation. Just a couple days later, hundreds of protestors gathered outside a nearby shopping center to demand that companies take ownership for their contribution to rising greenhouse gas emissions and end greenwashing tactics. This protest came after the news that since 2010, a large portion of the $1.1 trillion invested in the energy sector went towards funding the fossil fuel industry. 

    A mass rally of over 10,000 people was also held by the Fridays for Future Scotland activist group on November 5th, where protestors marched throughout the city’s west end to call for immediate action from world leadersThis was one of the largest protests that took place in response to COP26, and activists from all over the world gave speeches about how climate change is affecting the places they call home, including Greta Thunberg who called the conference a failureMany students skipped school to join the protest in an effort to bring discussions about climate change out from enclosed spaces and onto the streets. 

    An even bigger protest took place the following day, which included more than 100,000 participants according to event organizersDespite the rainspirits were strong among the crowd as banners were held high and bagpipes were playedPeoples from Indigenous communities from North and South America joined the march, many of whom did not have adequate representation inside the conference, to fight against the environmental destruction caused by mining and deforestation.  

    These are a few examples of the many protests that took place in response to the events at COP26. Activists fought to make leaders aware that they are not backing down in the fight toward climate justice and they will continue to push back until promises are turned into progress. 

    How You Can Take Action

    Every one of the climate promises to come out of COP26 must be kept if we are going to have a chance at restoring the Earth. You may be thinking “how can I help Canada and the world stay on track to meeting these promises?” Here are some ways you can take action in the fight for climate justice: 

    Follow “on the ground” activists

    Ensuring the right voices are being heard is paramount to winning the race against climate change. Supporting activists that are doing the work through following and spotlighting their actions is something we can all do. Our Instagram post has highlighted various pages and activists who deserve attention and support. 

    Get active where you can

    Throughout history, social groups have created transformational change. Protests have played a vital role in laying the groundwork for systematic change. If you haven’t already, reach out to organizations in your area that host these rallies and find out how you can get involved 

    Sign petitions

    Signing petitions can be an effective way to raise awareness on climate issues and communicate public opinion to leaders and decisionmakers. Join millions of others in signing the emergency appeal for climate action! 

    Remind your leaders

    One of the most impactful ways of reminding the Canadian government about their climate and social promises is through your local MP – so take a minute out of your day and let them know about the issues you believe deserve greater attention. If emailing your MP seems a bit dauntingWWF has created an easy template to help you craft and send an email to newly elected officials. 


  • What Happened at COP26? The Summit in Review

    Blog Contributors: Alexandra Cotrufo and Madison Lepp

    A general view of the Action Hub is pictured during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on November 11, 2021.(Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

    The Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate due to anthropogenic activity, causing more extreme weather events than ever before in human history. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, human emissions and activities have caused almost 100% of the warming observed since 1950. Climate change affects us all, but developing countries are being affected at a disproportionate rate and many of the most vulnerable communities are also the least responsible for the impacts of climate change.  

    Many scientists and citizens from around the world argued that COP26 was our last chance to get the climate crisis under control. COP (Conference of the Parties) is a series of United Nations climate change conferences, which have been running since 1995. The 26th COP summit took place in Glasgow, Scotland and was attended by countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This year’s summit aimed to reach a national agreement on how to tackle the current environmental, social, and economic issues brought on by climate change.  

    The summit took place from October 31st – November 12th, 2021 and involved discussions and presentations from world leaders. COP26 goals included improved mitigation, adaptation, finances, and collaboration. In addition, the COP26 Green Zone was open to the public which hosted in-person and virtual events including art installations, film screenings, interactive discussions, and more. 

    Let’s look at some of the main changes and commitments that came out of the two-week-long conference. 

    Week One Round Up

    The first week of the COP26 summit brought signs of hope, but now the big promises made must be followed up with action. Indigenous activist Txai Suruí gave a powerful speech as part of the opening ceremony. Speaking on her experiences with climate change and calling for Indigenous communities to be at the center of decisions being made at the conference. Not only are Indigenous communities disproportionately affected by climate change, but their deep-rooted traditions hold the keys to invaluable knowledge that can safeguard our earth. 

    A World Leader’s Summit was held on Monday, November 1st and Tuesday, November 2nd. The following days focused on themes including Finance, Energy, Youth & Public empowerment, and Nature, with new initiatives being announced for each of these themes.  

    During the two-day World Leaders Summit, leaders gathered to kick start a decade of accelerated climate action. Notably, over 40 major coal-using countries, including Poland, South Korea, Ukraine, Indonesia, Vietnam, and – yes – Canada, joined the Breakthrough Agenda, agreeing to phase out their use of coal for electricity generation. Another big promise was made with over 100 leaders including Brazil, China, and Indonesia – representing over 85% of the world’s forests  endorsing the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests & Land Use to reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030. This deal has been criticized for mirroring the 2014 New York “declaration on forests to end deforestation by 2030” which has failed thus far to even halve tree clearance.  

    Genuine hope came from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who announced India’s pledge to target net-zero emissions by 2070. India is the world’s fourth biggest emitter of carbon dioxide after China, the US, and the EU, but its large population means its emissions per capita are much lower. The pledge was backed with nearer-term targets to generate 50% of its energy from renewable sources and reduce the economy’s carbon intensity by 45%. Although the target misses a key goal of the COP26 summit – for countries to commit to reach that target by 2051 – the target sent signals of strong hope and is in line with what many climate experts have modelled as the most feasible scenario for India to achieve net zero. 

    Another climate promise breakthrough was made on Finance DayRishi Sunak, one of UK’s MP’s, announced new rules to make it mandatory for big UK firms to show plans on how they will achieve their climate targets. Announcements on energy day held more hope as 25+ countries and finance institutions – including the US, Canada, and the European Investment Bank – signed a commitment to end fossil fuel investments and redirect them to clean technologies.  

    Week Two Round Up

    The second week at COP26 focused on themes including Adaptation, Loss and Damage, Gender, Science and Innovation, and Transportation. There were more financial promises made for developing countries as government leaders pushed for compensation for damage caused by climate change. According to the World Economic Forum, the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change called for $1.3 trillion of financial assistance per year from wealthy nations starting in 2025. In addition, the European Investment Bank and Allianz Global Investors made a promise on November 7th to raise 500 million euro for climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.  

    An impactful presentation from the second week involved the Tuvalu foreign Minister Simon Kofe standing knee-deep in sea water while giving a speech about how his island nation is at the forefront of climate change as sea levels continue to rise. Images of Minister Kofe were circulated widely on social media as they presented a visual representation of the harsh realities many small communities are faced with. This powerful moment demonstrated how immediate action is needed to protect our most vulnerable populations. 

    On November 10th, China and the United States – the world’s two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases – reached a joint commitment to make more of an effort to reduce emissions. This “Glasgow Declaration” was praised by many leaders at the conference, however, others felt it was simply not enough due to the lack of measurable targets set by both countries. That same day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a promise to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from some international shipping routes. In addition, Canada’s Transport Minister signed a pledge to make heavy trucks and buses emission-free over the next two decades. 

    In the final days of the summit, one theme was clear: fear of failure. Will delegates and leaders be able to keep the promises and the pledges they made over the last two weeks necessary to cut CO2 emissions? These questions remain unanswered, as a final agreement has not been reached by all countries on what next steps will be taken to avert further global warming.  

    Many activists have also been questioning the events, or lack thereof, that took place over the last two weeks. According to the Guardian, campaigners and civil society groups staged a walkout on the 12th day of the conference condemning legitimacy and lack of ambition. They created a People’s Declaration which outlines 10 demands of global northern countries to pay their climate debts for loss and damage. 

    Things to Keep in Mind

    Despite the conference’s efforts, space at the event was very limited. This required most delegates and journalists to watch COP26 from livestreams. Young activists from vulnerable countries have also noted that they were ignored by leaders and media coverage made a poor effort to voice their stories. Organized protests broke out through the weeks of the conference in the streets of Glasgow, calling on leaders to listen.  

    It’s also worth mentioning that there were more delegates at COP26 associated with the fossil fuel industry than from any single country. An analysis found that 503 delegates (of the 40,000) with links to fossil fuel interests had been accredited for the climate summit. If nations across the globe are serious about making change, fossil fuel lobbyists should not be welcome at COP summits. While COP26 was an important moment in our path toward tackling the climate crisis, the summit itself was likely to have emitted the equivalent of 102,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which is double the amount emitted from the last climate summit. For reference, Canada has an annual average per capita footprint of 15.6 tons of carbon dioxide. This is a startling statistic that showcases how efforts to solve sustainability issues may actually be contributing to them. We hope more consideration is taken during the next summit to substantially reduce this number. 

    Concluding Thoughts

    COP26 has brought forward many ambitious agreements that will pave the way for much-needed climate action. Nonetheless, these agreements are only promises and past events have shown us that agreements are not always met. While the long-term promises made at COP26 are consistent with limiting warming below 2°C by 2100, the lack of near-term commitments is concerning. Unfortunately, long-term net-zero promises by countries are less likely to be met without tangible near-term commitments. And even if net-zero promises are met, we are still falling short of the Paris Agreement goal to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C. So far, the outcome of COP26 has proven to be disappointing with lots of talk and limited action. World leaders need to follow through with these agendas during this pivotal time in history. It’s time to put words into action.  


  • A Closer Look at Brock’s Soon-to-be Certified Green Building

    Blog Contributor: Elenore Breslow

    Did you know that the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Building (MWS) will soon be targeting LEED® certification for existing buildings?  

    Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, commonly known as “LEED ®” is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Not only is LEED® available for new construction projects, but it is also used for existing buildings – like MWS. This type of certification is known as LEED® for Operations & Maintenance (O+M) – Existing Buildings.  Located in the heart of St. Catharines, there are many features that make MWS so unique and the ideal building to be certified under LEED® O+M. 

    According to LEED®, it can take up to 80 years to make up for the impacts of demolishing an existing building and constructing a new one, even if the resulting building is extremely energy efficient. This is one of the many reasons why the collaboration between Brock University and the City of St. Catharines to revitalize this space, was such an important factor in making MWS eligible for certification.   

    The building was initially constructed in 1888, as the Canadian Hair Cloth Factory that served as a textile factory for over 150 years. In 2008, famed textile artist Marilyn I. Walker donated an unprecedent $15 million to Brock University to help transform and revitalize the space. The heritage building was then preserved and rehabilitated, in addition to constructing the new Studio Theatre and Gallery. 


    Marilyn I. Walker building.

    Demonstrates the revitalized Marilyn I. Walker building.

    Heritage entrance at Marilyn I. Walker Building. Person walking in front of building.

    Heritage entrance at Marilyn I. Walker building.









    The former Director of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Derek J.J. Knight noted that the building is “a blend of heritage features and new, state-of-the-art learning facilities provide inspiring spaces for students of music, dramatic and visual arts.”  

    This adaptive-reuse project fits the standard for LEED® O+M in many ways including: Energy use, water consumption, waste reduction, occupant satisfaction, and more. One of the main goals through certification is to maximize operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts; and LEED® provides the tools to help navigate this process.  

    Not only will this certification showcase the existing sustainability features at MWS, but it will also highlight areas for continuous improvement to become more resource-efficient, healthy and resilient. This helps provide optimal conditions for students, staff, and faculty, for health, comfort and productivity. 

    LEED® O+M is not a one-time certification, as Brock must resubmit data annually and recertify every three years. Brock is targeting LEED® O+M certification by early 2022! The Marilyn I. Walker LEED® certification will be the 3rd building at Brock to become certified, along with the Plaza Building and International Centre.  

    Keep a look out on Sustainability at Brock for all updates. 

  • The Best Green Study Spaces at Brock

    Blog Contributor: Alexandra Cotrufo

    Photo of Pond Inlet at Brock University.

    Photo of Pond Inlet at Brock University.

    Whether your classes are online or in-person this semester, you’re bound to end up on campus at one point or another to get some studying done. Brock University has many study spaces available to students including bookable rooms, quiet and silent areas, group spaces, and more.  

    But what are the best campus study spaces for when you’re looking to get some fresh air and surround yourself with nature? Keep reading to find out!

    Canadians spend over 90% of their time indoors, an alarming statistic that shows how unconnected with nature we are. Studying outside is a perfect way to strengthen your information retention and connection with the environment. 

    There are many benefits to studying outside or in a scenic and naturally lit area. According to an article from Harvard Health Publishingif you’re having trouble concentrating, spending time in a greenspace may help you refocus.  

    Lighting can also affect the productivity of your studying. Lighting plays an important role in your brain’s ability to focus, and poor lighting can reduce your ability to retain information. Studies show that working in natural light increases productivity and reduces stress. 

    Here are our top picks for the best green study spaces at Brock:

    1. Pond Inlet

    Photo of Pond Inlet at Brock University.

    Photo of Pond Inlet at Brock University.

    Wherever you choose to setup your study space at this location, you’ll have a beautiful view of the waterfall and fish-filled pond. The rushing sound of the water is also very relaxing and calming which is sure to make your study experience an enjoyable one. The pond is also a great space to visit when you need a break from studying to clear your mind and spend a little time outdoors! 


    2. Mac Chown C Block Hallway

    Photo of study space located in Mac Chown C Block hallway at Brock University.

    Photo of study space located in Mac Chown C Block hallway at Brock University.

    If you’d prefer using a chair and desk to admire the pond, check out the study space located in the Mac Chown C Block hallway. The big windows looking out onto Pond Inlet provide lots of natural light and is a great option for the cooler months when studying outdoors may not be possible. 


    3. Mac Chown A Block Hallway

    Photo of study space located in Mac Chown A Block hallway at Brock University.

    Photo of study space located in Mac Chown A Block hallway at Brock University.

    Another indoor space on campus with lots of natural light can be found in the Mac Chown A Block hallway. The huge floor to ceiling windows makes the hallway the perfect sunny spot to sit and stare out at the greenspace below. If it gets too bright for you, use the blinds to adjust the lighting to your preference! 


    4. Jubilee Court

    Photo of Jubilee Court at Brock University.

    Photo of Jubilee Court at Brock University.

    Jubilee court is one of our favourite outdoor study spaces on campus! There are lots of picnic tables and benches in the court which are surrounded by lush trees. The leaves are even more beautiful around this time of year and the crisp air refreshes your mind to help increase concentration. 


    5. Walker/Scotiabank Courtyard

    Photo of the Walker/Scotiabank courtyard at Brock University. Photo credits belong to Brock GSA.

    Photo of the Walker/Scotiabank courtyard at Brock University. Photo credits belong to Brock GSA.

    The final outdoor study space is the Walker/Scotiabank Courtyard. Pick a table under a big yellow umbrella to protect you from the sun and enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature while you study. 

    What are your favourite study spaces at Brock? Let us know over on our Instagram @busustainable! 


  • What to Watch & Read This Fall: A guide to sustainability-focused books & documentaries

    Blog Contributor: Madison Lepp

    Taking some time away from your studies can be a great opportunity to learn about new things. These books and documentaries are the perfect additions to your fall reading and must-watch list.   

    Must Read:

    1. All We Can Save (2020)

    All we can save book on grass.

    All We Can Save Book. Source: All We Can Save Project

    All We Can Save is an anthology of writings by 60 women at the forefront of the climate movement. The book honours the complexity of the climate crisis while intermixing essays with poetry and art. Highlighting that women and girls are vital to the climate movement, the book itself serves as space for these voices. Using hard facts, personal essays, calls to action, and thoughtful perspectives the message is clear: to change everything, we need everyone. Past the book itself, “All We Can Save Circles” are self-organized small groups committed to reading the book together over the course of 10 sessions, with open-source facilitation materials designed to build connection and seed action. 

    Available locally: Someday Books

    2. Consumed (2021)

    Consumed book.

    Consumed Book. Source: Hahette Book Group

    Consumed: On colonialism, climate change, consumerism & the need for collective change asks you to change your consumer identity through a two-part reading of ‘learning’ and ‘unlearning.’ The book sheds light on the uncomfortable history of the textile industry; one riddled with injustices, racism, and inequalities. Aja Barber helps you understand why you consume the way you do, whose pockets your money actually goes into, and why we fill voids with consumption rather than compassion. CONSUMED will teach you how to be a citizen rather than a consumer.  

    Available locally: Someday Books (special order)

    Must Watch:

    1. There’s Something in the Water (2019)

    A poster for the film - There's Something in the Water.

    There’s Something in the Water film cover photo. Source: IMDb.

    There’s Something in the Wateran expository documentary, confronts the inaccurate view of what Canada is like. Beneath the perfect image lies the truth of unjust inequalities, dominating corporations, and disregard for human health. It is common knowledge that the climate crisis is inextricably linked to environmental racism, social injustice, and health; this documentary helps connect the facts to real-life situations. It takes place in the province of Nova Scotia, exposing the disproportionate effects of water pollution on low-income, Indigenous, and Black communities. Exploring some of the most pressing environmental issues and their impact on everyday lives.  

    Available on: Netflix, Apple TV

    2. Ice on Fire (2019)

    A poster for the film Ice on Fire.

    Ice on Fire film cover photo. Source: Fantastic TV.

    Ice On Fire examines the potential for global catastrophe as a consequence of Arctic thawing. The film follows scientists and visionaries who are working together to mitigate climate change. The film brings you concrete facts on the rising temperature of the Earth but also a list of the world’s most promising solutions. The film provides hope through the exploration of carbon capture solutions that may just give us a chance at reversing climate change.   

    Available on: Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Prime