By: Kassie Burns
Day by day more horror stories continue to be released about the world being on fire or underwater and it is time we heard the earth’s plea. The International Day of Climate Action took place on October 24th, where we were all challenged to participate in taking climate change actions. We list several ways you can make a difference down below, but first we thought it is important to celebrate the climate action achievements that have been undertaken over the past year. This year alone several major accomplishments have been made and we would like to recognize the hard work and dedication given through some of the many stories that exist across campus.
Celebrating Climate Action Achievements 2022
The first ever Niagara Climate Change Summit was held late June that brought together partners of Brock University, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, and hosted by the Niagara Region. The event was streamed online for all community members to view morning discussions that was followed by offline conversations of stakeholders to understand the local impact of climate change.
International Development Week, was hosted by Brock that provided a week-long series held virtually that brought awareness to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Brock University continues to foster education in sustainability after the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre launched their PhD in Sustainability Science, the first of its kind in Canada. The inaugural candidates in the program started their studies this fall 2022!
Additionally, a new program in Earth and Planetary Science Communication will be added for Fall 2023 that allows students to explore space and climate change while promoting global communication through storytelling.
Brock University Master of Public Health student, Shannon Bird, has been developing an educational lesson plan to help engage youth in sustainability through artwork. The program allows youth to have their voice heard in conversations. She recently won the National Collaborating Centres for Public Helath Knowledge Translation Graduate Student Award for her work!
On Earth Day, Brock University students in the course Climate Crisis raised funds to plant a Ginkgo biloba tree outside of Mackenzie Chown to help elevate some of the emissions caused from time spent on laptops.
Baharak Razaghirad, research assistant, and Marilyne Jollineau, lead of Brock’s Lincoln Living Lab, created an urban tree canopy assessment for the Town of Lincoln in the summer. Together they communicated the socio-environmental benefits of trees, mapped current tree locations, identified priority locations in need of planting, and more to help the community adapt to climate change.
New ground was covered in The Purdhommes Project as a workshop was held in June to develop a tool to assess multifunctional landscapes in the Town of Lincoln. It will specifically help the Town acquire criteria to establish these landscapes in hope to promote resilience and sustainable community development.
Brock took great pride in announcing Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) was credited as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building! The certification is recognized globally that looks for efficient energy in carbon and green buildings, which is especially difficult to achieve with older structures.
We hosted two sustainability challenges this year to encourage Brock students to participate in sustainable actions by everyday lifestyle choices. The challenge gave students the opportunity to track actions that also brought awareness to the impact individual actions. Together the last challenge alone saved approximately 15,000 kg of CO2, diverted 1,100 kg of waste from landfills and saved 128,000 L of water!
Two Brock University Master of Sustainability candidates received a grant from the World Wildlife Fund – Canada (WWF) to form a seed library. The seeds are available at James A. Gibson Library on campus free of charge! Students are kindly asked to plant the seeds and then return harvested seeds from the plants they have grown to continue the cycle. The library helps collect and distribute rare and native seeds to promote genetic diversity in the region!
This year the winners of the Sustainability Poetry Contest was announced at a virtual event that created an inspirational discussion on sustainability and promotes the power of language in art.
A webinar series to discuss the climate emergency and sports through a partnership with Brock University’s Centre for Sport Capacity and University of British Columbia’s Centre for Sport and Sustainability took place in February. The conversation took a critical lens at how sports will be impacted by the climate crisis and how to offset changes.
Initiatives to Take Climate Action
Everyone can act on climate change; see how you can participate today with some easy initiatives from the United Nations!
- Eat more vegetables
- Walk bike or take public transit
- Throw away less food
- Consider an electric vehicle
- Try repairing items instead of replacing them
- Reduce the amount you travel by airplane
- Use less water (be mindful of shower times, turn the tap off while brushing teeth, and use appropriate laundry load sizes)
- Be aware of eco-conscious products/services
- Save energy at home (unplug electronics, dress appropriately to lower heating/cooling, use LED light bulbs, wash clothes with cold water and hang them to dry)
- Let your voice be heard (seek out climate strikes, join clubs, vote for people who support the environment)
Whether it is joining climate rallies or using less water, we all have the power to make a difference each and every day! Tag us at BUsustainable to shows how you are taking action and making a difference in your community.
United Nations. (N/A). Start with these ten actions. Retrieved October 12, 2022, from https://www.un.org/en/actnow/ten-actions