Student Contributor

  • The O-Week Sustainability Challenge Is Back!

    Image preview

    By: Thurkkha Thayalalingam and Evan Rodenburg

    Back by popular demand, the O-Week Sustainability Challenge initiative is calling on Brock University students to track their sustainable actions for the chance to win one of five prizes. 

    In partnership with Blackstone Energy Services, Brock University is hosting its third annual Welcome Back Sustainability Challenge! From September 11 to 15, students can log their sustainability actions, ranging anywhere from taking public transportation to turning off the lights, onto the EcoBoss app. 

    The five students with the most actions logged by the end of the challenge will be entered into a draw to win one of the three Apple products: an Apple iPad, Apple Watch or Apple AirPods. The two students not chosen in the draw will automatically win a $50 Campus Store gift card. 

    Register to participate in the challenge between September 5 and September 10 on the EcoBoss App following the instructions below: 

    1. Once the free EcoBoss app is downloaded, review and accept the app’s privacy policy
    2. Create an account using your Brock email and enter Brock’s challenge code: badgers
    3. Click the badge icon to join the Brock “Welcome Back Sustainability Challenge”
    4. Press the green “Join Challenge” button and you’re all set!

    The challenge will open at 12:00am on Monday September 11, and close at noon on Friday September 15. The winners of the challenge will be announced at 3pm on September 15! 

    The goal of the sustainability challenge is to encourage environmental stewardship throughout the Brock community by encouraging students to adopt more sustainable habits. The result of this challenge has garnered substantial participation over the years, resulting in large reductions in CO2 emissions, increased amounts of waste diverted from landfills, and significant savings in water use.

    Categories: Challenge/Contest, Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • The Niagara Escarpment

    Niagara Escarpment | The Canadian Encyclopedia

    By: Thurkkha Thayalalingam

    Brock University is proud to be located atop the Niagara Escarpment, an incredible topographical feature spanning southern Ontario and the United States. Officially designated as a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Biosphere Reserve, the escarpment is a focus for biodiversity conservation and a learning site for sustainability (UNESCO). Within Ontario, the Niagara Escarpment is hundreds of kilometres long from the Niagara River up to Tobermory and Manitoulin Island (Bruce Trail Conservancy). The escarpment also played a critical role in the formation of the landforms for some of the Great Lakes (Ontario, Huron, and Michigan) 

    Things to Do

    There are plenty of activities to do within the Niagara Escarpment during any season, from hiking and camping to skiing. Within the escarpment lies the Bruce Trail, the longest and oldest trail in the country (Bruce Trail Conservancy). As mentioned in one of our previous blog posts on trails in the Niagara Region, the Bruce Trail is a popular route for people of all experience levels. The Niagara Escarpment also features beautiful waterfalls, beaches, and historic sites to explore.  


    The Niagara Escarpment features countless types of ecosystems including cliffs, meadows, coniferous forests, Carolinian forests, and wetlands. The escarpment is also home to over 300 bird species, 55 mammals, 36 reptile and amphibian species, and 90 fish species, making it the Canadian Biosphere Reserve with the greatest ecological diversity (UNESCO). Organizations such as the Bruce Trail Conservancy work to preserve and protect these lands from detrimental human activities while also making the land safe and accessible to the public (Bruce Trail Conservancy). Located so close to the highly urbanized and developed Greater Toronto Area, it is important to maintain the ecological integrity of the escarpment and to also use the valuable green space as a way for people to connect with nature.

    Categories: Niagara, Outdoors, Student Contributor, Sustainability

  • Summer Sustainability Reads

    By: Thurkkha Thayalalingam

    This list presents to you a few great sustainability books that can help you learn about the history of sustainability and provide an outlook on our future with some practical solutions. Both new and old, some of these books explore revolutionary ways of thinking about our impact and role on this planet. 

    Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the way we make things 

    By: William McDonough & Michael Braungart 

    Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things eBook : McDonough, William, Braungart, Michael: Kindle Store

    Cradle to Cradle is a seminal book written by an architect and a chemist who together explore the societal and environmental benefits of a circular economy. Rather than the traditional “cradle to grave” concept of looking at a material’s life cycle, the authors look at how we can turn it into a “cradle to cradle” mindset by eliminating the final disposal stage. The book discusses the idea that everything can be a resource for something else.  

    The Responsibility Revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win 

    By: Jeff Hollender & Bill Breen 

    The Responsibility Revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win: Hollender, Jeffrey, Breen, Bill, Senge, Peter: 9780470558423: Books -

    Targeted towards businesses, The Responsibility Revolution acts as a guide for companies to build a more sustainable future while holding themselves accountable for their activities. The authors strive to completely redefine the fundamental purpose of businesses by encouraging them to be rooted in positive change.  

    The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming 

    By: David Wallace-Wells 

    The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells - Penguin Books Australia

    The Uninhabitable Earth provides an alarming perspective on the future of the planet. The book aims to clarify the true scope of climate change and its impacts, rather than focusing on solutions to the issue. David Wallace-Wells looks at how global warming will impact geopolitics, technology, and the overall trajectory of humankind’s future. Fair warning, this book is not as uplifting or hopeful as some other books on this list. 

    Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience and the Fight for a Sustainable Future 

    By: Mary Robinson 

    Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future: Robinson, Mary: 9781632869289: Books -

    Mary Robinson brings the voices of those that are heavily affected by climate change to the forefront in this book. It highlights climate change-related experiences from people around the world. Visiting places around the world such as Malawi and Mongolia, Robinson realized that some of the most impactful drivers of climate action was at the grassroots level. Climate Justice is a hopeful manifesto for climate justice internationally. 

    Rebuilding Earth: Designing Ecoconscious Habitats for Humans 

    By: Teresa Coady 

    Rebuilding Earth: Designing Ecoconscious Habitats for Humans eBook : Coady, Teresa, Figueres, Christiana: Books

    Rebuilding Earth is a revolutionary and uplifting book on designing and building sustainable infrastructure in the Digital Age. The book introduces the 12 Principles of Conscious Construction as a framework for sustainable development. Coady teaches us how to implement meaningful change by truly understanding how to maintain and protect the natural environment.  

    Silent Spring 

    By: Rachel Carson 

    Silent Spring by Rachel Carson | Goodreads

    Considered one of the most influential environmental books, Silent Spring is about the impacts of pesticide use on the environment and the downstream effects on humans. Taking over four years to write, and released over 60 years ago, Carson challenged the agricultural industry by meticulously explaining the process by which pesticides (DDT in particular) enters the food chain and eventually negatively affects human health.  


    Categories: Books, Student Contributor, Sustainability

  • Volunteering in Sustainability: How to Find Volunteer Opportunities to Complete your Living Planet Leader Certification

    By: Brenna Mervyn*

    About the Program 

    The WWF Living Planet Leader program (LPL) has provided an opportunity for students at Brock to complete a certificate in sustainability while completing their degree. LPL is a professionally recognized certification with four main pillars: volunteerism, sustainability in academics, personal sustainability, and leadership. Any student at Brock is eligible to complete this certification, regardless of program or faculty. The following post will be focused on the volunteerism pillar, and how Brock students can complete their 40 hours of volunteer work remotely or in the Niagara Region in relation to sustainability or conservation.  

    Why Volunteering is Important to Sustainability 

    Volunteering and community involvement are key factors in sustainability and conservation. Many organizations working in stewardship or conservation are underfunded. Therefore, volunteerism helps keep parks and events possible for everyone to enjoy. Conservation areas and provincial parks require volunteers to keep areas safe and clean for public use. Volunteers are also key to running community events. Community events aid immensely in spreading awareness of sustainability issues and how to create change in our everyday lives. Volunteerism is also a tool to foster a sense of pride and care for the community we live in. This also amplifies the drive to change the community for the better. Education is also a huge benefit of volunteerism. Many programs for children are volunteer-run, and therefore volunteers play a large role in educating the next generation on issues of sustainability.  

    Portals for Volunteer Opportunities 

    There are various job boards and volunteer sites that compile open volunteer opportunities. These portals are excellent tools when searching for volunteer positions. Keywords such as sustainability, conservation, environment, or climate change can help narrow down results and find a position that is right for you while filling the LPL requirements. Some useful sites are listed below.  

    Organizations and Opportunities 

    1. Organize a litter cleanup! 

    The Earth Day Great Global Cleanup is an excellent resource to register litter pickups globally. Their website outlines how to kickstart a cleanup whether it be a private or public event. Organizing a litter pickup is an excellent way to engage with the community while practicing environmental volunteerism and leadership. There is no minimum group size, so whether it be a group of 5 or a group of 50, organizing a litter pickup is a great way to get volunteer hours while enhancing local biodiversity.  

    2. Volunteering with Niagara Parks 

    Sustainable Niagara Falls | Niagara Falls Canada

    Niagara Parks works to preserve and educate the public on the natural and cultural heritage of the Niagara River Corridor. The Niagara River Corridor is a key to biodiversity in the Niagara Region and is home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna for which Niagara is known for. The Niagara Parks Commission is responsible for the Niagara Glen Naturalization Site and the Dufferin Islands, which are huge tourist destinations (especially during bird migration seasons). Conserving these areas under high stress from tourism requires work from volunteers to manage the sites and educate the community and tourists of their importance. This means that Niagara Parks offers various opportunities to get involved through special events, tree planting, or site management. Their site has a list of many volunteer opportunities, and they even offer a volunteer appreciation program for continued participation!  

    3. Volunteer with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority 

    The NPCA is a resource management agency working on local watershed preservation and conservation. Volunteer opportunities can be found based in various fields. Whether you’re interested in working with children, site maintenance, conservation, or volunteering for special events, there are many opportunities to find the right fit for you. The NPCA is also running the Balls Falls Nature School beginning this September, which is an excellent opportunity to work with and educate children on conservation and sustainability.  

    4. Organize or participate in a BioBlitz! 

    Now, you may be asking, what on Earth is a BioBlitz? A BioBlitz is a community event which creates a biological survey of an environment to log anthropogenic impacts, population density, invasive species, and biodiversity composition. A BioBlitz encourages citizen scientists, community members, and students to participate using surveying apps such as iNaturalist to make identification quick, easy, and accurate.  Last month, Brock partnered with the Niagara Parks Commission to hold the Dufferin Islands BioBlitz which was a huge success. Not only are events like a BioBlitz fun and beneficial to research, but they also involve the community and are a great way to increase interest in issues such as invasive species. iNaturalist is a great resource to find and organize a BioBlitz, as well as Sustainability at Brock who organized the Dufferin Islands BioBlitz.  

    There are many opportunities throughout the Niagara Region for volunteering in sustainability or stewardship. What is most important is finding which opportunity is the right fit for you and your goals. When searching for volunteer positions it is useful to check recruitment sites often, so you don’t miss out on any opportunities. After completing your volunteer hours, don’t forget to upload proof of completion to your Living Planet Leader profile to fulfill the volunteerism requirement!  

    *This blog post was written as part of an assignment for ENSU 3P91: Leadership in Environmental Sustainability Internship Course. If you are interested in taking part in this course, please visit:  

    Categories: Community, Niagara, Outdoors, Student Contributor, Study Sustainability at Brock, Sustainability, Sustainability at Brock

  • The energy transition needed to meet global net-zero goals

    Renewable Energy and Cleaner Transport: Egypt Updates its Climate Commitments | Egyptian Streets

    By: Thurkkha Thayalalingam

    Accounting for about 75 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuels are currently the largest contributor to global climate change. Transitioning to alternative renewable energy sources is a vital step towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Not only are renewable energy sources better for the environment, but they are often cheaper than “dirty” energy sources and better for human health. Keep reading to learn more about two of the most popular renewable energy sources: solar and wind! There are many more clean sources that are not mentioned here including geothermal, nuclear, hydroelectric and biofuel. 


    According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), solar energy is one of the cheapest energy sources on the planet. Solar energy is generated using photovoltaic (PV) cells that capture and convert sunlight and heat into electrical energy (Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy [EERE]). Since the sun isn’t estimated to die for another five billion years, solar is a completely renewable energy source (National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA]). According to the US Department of Energy, an hour and a half of sunlight that reaches Earth’s surface can provide an entire year of energy for all.  

    However, solar energy does also have its disadvantages, one of the biggest being that it is weather dependent. The efficiency of solar panels is heavily dependent on the size, angle, and geographic location of the panels. Particularly in urban areas, high rise buildings can prevent sufficient sunlight from reaching panels. Solar power plants also require extensive amounts of land, which is of concern with land availability declining as the human population continues to increase. Additionally, manufacturing PV cells requires materials such as heavy metals and hazardous chemicals that are harmful to the environment (IRENA). 


    Wind energy, or wind power, is generated by converting the kinetic energy of moving air into electrical energy using wind turbines (National Geographic). Wind energy is also one of the lowest-price energy sources, preceded only by solar energy. Only requiring open land and wind, wind turbines are optimal for rural or remote areas.  

    Similar to solar power, wind power is limited by the amount of land available for wind farms. The blades of wind turbines also emit both mechanical and aerodynamic noise that is out of the normal human hearing range but can be damaging to wildlife (EERE). 

    For information on other clean energy sources, explore the links below: 

    Geothermal Energy  

    Nuclear Energy  

    Hydroelectric Energy  

    Biofuel/Biomass Energy 

    Categories: Energy, Student Contributor, Sustainability

  • Why are Pollinators so Important?

    Cornell Cooperative Extension | What is a Pollinator?

    By: Thurkkha Thayalalingam

    Pollination is the process of transferring pollen between the male and female parts of the plant to allow for fertilization and reproduction. Virtually all flowering plants require pollination, and some of the most common pollinators include bees, birds, bats, flies, butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps, and small mammals. Pollinators as well as the plants that they pollinate have many functions and ecosystem services.  

    Air Quality 

    Flowering plants play an essential role in producing clean air. Through the process of photosynthesis, these plants intake carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provide us with breathable oxygen. With the current rates of deforestation and fossil fuel burning, the carbon stored in these plants is being released into the atmosphere and further exacerbating the effects of global warming. We need pollinators to support the restoration and growth of plant populations.  

    Soil Erosion 

    Flowering plants help prevent soil erosion through their root networks that help keep the soil in place (U.S. Department of Agriculture). The foliage of larger flowering plants also acts as a buffer during heavy rainfall events to reduce the impact of rain on the soil.   

    Cultural Significance 

    Pollinators such as butterflies and birds have cultural value and significance for many Indigenous communities in Canada.  For example, birds are considered a messenger and a spiritual connection to the Creator for Anishinaabe peoples (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians). 

    Threats to Pollinators 

    Many pollinator populations are declining due to habitat destruction. The habitat loss and destruction is generally attributed to agriculture, mining and human development. Urban surfaces such as concrete, cement and metal make it challenging for pollinators to forage, nest and survive.  The use of pesticides and insecticides may also cause adverse effects on pollinators. Even if these chemicals don’t kill the pollinators, they may have a diminished ability to navigate or forage (U.S. National Park Service). 

    Categories: Outdoors, Student Contributor, Sustainability

  • Climate Change and Sustainability Documentaries to Watch This Summer!

    By: Thurkkha Thayalalingam

    Documentaries can be a great way to learn more about sustainability and environmental issues, requiring only a couple hours of your time. It can often be overwhelming to think or learn about climate change and the future of our planet, for which there are also more reflective and hopeful documentaries on the topic. We’ve compiled a small list of great documentaries from the past two decades that cover a variety of environmental issues and concerns.  

    Kiss The Ground (2020) 

    Review: Kiss the Ground – Thelma and Alice

    Narrated by Woody Harrelson, Kiss the Ground discusses how soil and regenerative agriculture can be used to combat the climate crisis by creating sustainable food systems, restoring ecosystems, and stabilizing the climate. This documentary features a series of activists, scientists and celebrities. 

    Gather (2020) 

    Home | Gather Film

    Gather focuses on a growing Indigenous movement of reclaiming their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty. The food sovereignty of Indigenous peoples is the right and ‘ability to respond to their own needs for healthy, culturally adapted Indigenous foods’ (Indigenous Food Systems Network). The documentary includes the efforts environmental activists from the Yurok Nation in Northern California are taking to protect a river, as well as sharing information on historical agricultural practices. 

    An Inconvenient Truth (2006) An Inconvenient Truth : Al Gore, Billy West, Al Gore, Davis Guggenheim, Lawrence Bender, Laurie David, Scott Z. Burns, Jeffrey D. Ivers: Prime Video

    Former Vice President Al Gore presents a case on climate change and global warming through scientific evidence and anecdotes in An Inconvenient Truth. Gore lightens the serious tone of discussing the climate crisis by incorporating his personal experiences into the conversation. The documentary addresses common misconceptions and myths about global warming, also encouraging the audience to get involved with climate action in their communities. An Inconvenient Truth is followed by An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017). 

    2040 (2019) 

    2040' - Two-Hour Film Special - CW Seattle

    If you’re looking for a documentary with a more positive outlook on climate change, 2040 is a great film to consider. 2040 approaches climate change from a different perspective, the director expressing his concerns as a father worried for his daughter’s future. The documentary explores various innovative climate change solutions and what the next 20 years could look like. 

    A Plastic Ocean (2016) 

    A Plastic Ocean (2016) | Watch Free Documentaries Online

    A Plastic Ocean looks at the effect of plastics in the ocean as they break down into microplastics and enter the food chain. The documentary features a group of scientists, a journalist and a diver that spend four years, across 20 different locations across the world, studying the effects of plastics on marine ecosystems and human health. 

    David Attenborough: A Life on our Planet (2020) 

    Davis Attenborough's A Life On Our Planet - Virtual Movie Screening | UCLA Sustainability

    If you have watched nature documentaries such as Our Planet before, chances are you’ve heard David Attenborough’s narration. Considered Attenborough’s “witness statement” for the environment, A Life on our Planet explores the impact of humanity on the natural world and the changes he’s seen in the world throughout his lifetime. The documentary ends with a hopeful message for future generations with a set of feasible solutions to undertake. 

    Chasing Ice (2012) 

    Chasing Ice (2012) | Watch Free Documentaries Online

    A photographer for the National Geographic who was initially a climate change skeptic was tasked to capture footage to help convey the severity of global warming. While on his trip to the Arctic, the photographer and his team capture time-lapse data over multiple years of the erosion and retreat of glaciers. The footage collected also features the longest glacial calving event ever captured on film. 

    Chasing Coral (2017) 

    Watch Chasing Coral | Netflix Official Site

    Chasing Coral documents one of the most severe coral bleaching events recorded. Capturing data from 2014 to 2017, about 75 per cent of coral died or were affected by climate change-induced heat stress in this time. The film uses over 500+ hours of underwater footage from an international team of divers, photographers and scientists.

    Categories: Film, Student Contributor, Sustainability

  • Certified B Corporations

    Two new approaches to sustainable retail: Patagonia and Decathlon - Internet Retailing

    By: Thurkkha Thayalalingam

    Certified B Corporations, or B Corps, are businesses that are global leaders in sustainability and support an ‘inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy’ (B Corporations). B Corps demonstrate high standards in social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. By becoming a B Corp, businesses are able to build a positive relationship based on trust with their consumers, employees, communities, and suppliers. Keep reading to learn about some B Corps that you may have heard about before! 


    Patagonia is one of the most well-known B Corps, known for its stellar sustainability reputation. Some of their initiatives and accomplishments regarding social responsibility include a Regenerative Organic Certified Cotton program, participation in the Fair-Trade program, membership in the Fair Labor Association, supporting migrant workers, and responsible purchasing practices. 100 per cent of the down used in Patagonia products is responsibly sourced, and 100 per cent of cotton has been organically grown. Patagonia also lists all of the materials they use for their products including details on why it is used and its impact on the environment.  

    You may recall Patagonia being in the news in the fall of 2022. This was because its founder, Yvon Choinard, sold the company to “the planet”. What this meant was that the entirety of the company’s profits would be used to combat the climate crisis and conserve natural land. As an organization rooted in environmental activism before profits, Choinard hopes that this will motivate other billionaires and major corporations to make more impactful contributions to making the world a better place. 


    Pela has an overarching goal to create a waste-free future. They do this by creating “everyday products without everyday waste”. The organization operates on four core values: Community, Creativity, Consciousness and Courage. Pela has two primary product streams: Pela Case and lomi. Pela makes fully compostable phone cases that produce 80 per cent less waste, 30 per cent less carbon emissions and use 34 per cent less water than conventional plastic. The Pela 360 program also allows consumers to send back their old cases to Pela to be upcycled or recycled, preventing more plastic from ending up in landfills. On the other hand, Lomi is a portable countertop composter that can convert organic food waste into compost that can then be used for gardening. Diverting food waste from landfill and avoiding methane emissions, Lomi has a net positive impact on the environment! 

    Pela also strives to be transparent with its operations, showing both their direct and indirect carbon emissions to the public. The organization is also Climate Neutral Certified, offsetting their carbon footprint through carbon credits.  

    Ben & Jerry’s 

    Ben & Jerry’s is an American ice cream company that supports a variety of social issues. Since 2014, every ingredient was Fairtrade Certified in both Europe and the United States. Ben & Jerry’s has also made a set of climate targets approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative that include 100 percent renewable energy and 40 per cent greenhouse gas intensity reduction by 2025.  

    The organization has been using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paperboard packaging since 2009. This paperboard comes from forests managed according to a set of strict forest sustainability criteria. Ben & Jerry’s also has an ongoing partnership with Canopy’s Pack4Good Initiative to ensure that sourcing of packaging does not come from Ancient and Endangered Forests across the supply chain. As ice cream does need to be kept frozen, there is a significant energy cost associated with the manufacturing and sale of Ben & Jerry’s products. As such, the organization has been using commercial grade hydrocarbon freezers across the U.S. These hydrocarbon freezers are more energy-efficient and have a lower global warming potential than traditional freezers. By integrating solutions to environmental issues into their daily operations and processes Ben & Jerry’s hopes to support positive change and achieve their climate targets. 


    Full Directory of Certified B Corps:  

    Categories: Purchasing, Student Contributor, Sustainability

  • Trails in the Niagara Region

    300+ Bruce Trail Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock | Niagara glen

    By: Thurkkha Thayalalingam

    Situated on the Niagara Escarpment, Brock University is one of a handful of Canadian Universities located within a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Biosphere reserves support conservation and sustainable development and aim to “provide local solutions to global challenges.” (UNESCO, n.d.) The Niagara Escarpment is home to many beautiful walking trails, some of which are even located steps from the Brock campus! If you’re looking for a fun summer activity to connect with nature, here are some trails that you can check out this summer. Make sure to bring a camera as these trails can have some amazing views and lookout points!

    Bruce Trail

    Nearly 900 kilometres long, the Bruce Trail is the oldest and longest continuous trail in Canada (Bruce Trail Conservancy, n.d.). With many access points throughout the trail, it is great for hikers or bikers of all experience levels! The Niagara section of the Bruce Trail (10.6km) is considered a relatively easy route and the average completion time is just over two hours. More information on this portion of the Bruce Trail can be found here.

    Laura Secord Legacy Trail

    The Laura Secord Legacy Trail spans 32km from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Thorold and can be hiked in full or done in shorter sections. This medium-difficulty trail spans through both forested trails and urban paths and is split into five stages. The two stages closest to the university are from Rodman Hall to Rotary Park, and Rotary Park to Decew House. A comprehensive trail guide is made accessible online by the Friends of Laura Secord here and details on the trail are available here.

    Merritt Trail

    Merritt Trail is a 10km point-to-point trail near downtown St. Catharines that takes about two hours to complete. It is a popular biking or hiking route along the Twelve Mile Creek that is considered an easy route. Click here for additional details on the Merritt Trail.

    Twelve Trail

    The Twelve Trail also runs along the Twelve Mile Creek. Starting near downtown St. Catharines, the trail follows the creek south towards the Decew Falls generating station. You can also make a detour and head to Short Hills Provincial Park which is just a 30-minute walk from the generating station! More information on this trail can be found here.

    St. Catharines Waterfront Trail

    If you’re looking for something more urban, the 10km long Port Weller Waterfront Trail is a great option. This path goes through Port Dalhousie which features a busy harbour, a live theatre, a sandy beach, and a lively patio scene! You can also walk out along the pier where the Port Dalhousie Lighthouse is situated. Information on the waterfront trail including other connecting trails can be found here!

    Participark Trail

    This 2km trail is also along a portion of the Twelve Mile Creek and has several exercise stations throughout the trail. The Participark Trail, Merrit Trail, and the Twelve Trail have a few points of intersection, making it easy to travel between trails based on personal preference! Click here for more information on the Participark Trail.  


    Bruce Trail Conservancy. (n.d.). Experience the Bruce Trail. Retrieved May 17, 2023, from   

    UNESCO. (n.d.). Biosphere Reserves. Retrieved May 17, 2023, from  

    Categories: Outdoors, Student Contributor

  • Sustainable foods: You may be eating more sustainably than you think!

    Opinion | Sustainable Diets for the Future – Food Tank

    By: Thurkkha Thayalalingam

    Sustainable diets are defined as “diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations” (Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO]). Some recommendations from FAO on how to have a sustainable diet include plant-based diets, reducing food waste, sustainable fish consumption, and reducing red meat consumption (FAO).  

    You may already know that eating organic food is healthier and sustainable. However, here are some other foods that you can incorporate into your diet to be more sustainable! 


    Bison and cattle both emit methane, however bison can be a more sustainable alternative to beef as they have a lower overall environmental impact. Often known as “ecosystem engineers”, bison cause less erosion damage, and their grazing encourages plant regrowth that provides a constant food supply (Geremia et al., 2019). Additionally, bison are much more nutritious as they contain less fat and provide more protein, iron and B vitamins (Richards, 2023).  


    Pulses such as beans, peas, and lentils are also healthy and sustainable additions to any diet. They require minimal resources and are a great source of protein, making them a good plant-based alternative to meat products (Tidaker et al., 2021). 


    Seaweed gets all the resources it needs to grow from the water around it, not requiring any fertilizers. It also filters excess phosphorous and nitrogen from the water, reducing the impacts of agricultural runoff (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] Fisheries). Seaweed also plays an important role in storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (NOAA Fisheries). The health benefits of consuming seaweed as well as the ecosystem services it provides make it an excellent sustainable food option. 


    While many seafood products tend to have significant environmental impacts, mussels can be produced quite sustainably. Harvesting mussels doesn’t result in a lot of by-catch or ecosystem damage in comparison to other seafoods (Suplicy, 2018). They use carbon dioxide from the ocean to grow their shells, helping to reduce greenhouse gases in the water (Suplicy, 2018). Mussels also happen to have a high protein content! 


    Mushrooms can be grown in vertical growing facilities, allowing for a high yield in a relatively small space. They use soil made of composted agricultural materials to grow and this soil can then be used for other purposes such as potting soil (Mushroom Council). Since mushrooms are grown indoors, their energy and water consumption can be easily controlled by farmers (American Mushroom Institute). 

    Leafy Greens

    Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and lettuce can grow abundantly as long as they have enough soil and water. Leafy greens can be grown easily indoors and are a common vegetable in indoor vertical farms (Buehler and Junge, 2016). 


    Buehler, D. & Junge, R. (2016). Global Trend and Current Status of Commercial Urban Rooftop Farming. Sustainable Agriculture, 8(11), 1108.  

    Geremia, C., Merkle, J.A., Eacker, D.R., & Kauffman, M.J. (2019). Migrating Bison Engineer the Green Wave. Biological Sciences, 116(51), 25707-25713.  

    Richards, L. (2023). Bison vs. Beef: Differences in Cholesterol. Retrieved May 16, 2023, from  

    Suplicy, F.M. (2018). A Review of the Multiple Benefits of Mussel Farming. (2018). Reviews in Aquaculture, 12(1), 204-223.  

    Tidaker, P., Potter, H.K., Carlsson G., & Roos, E. (2021). Towards Sustainable Consumption of Legumes: How Origin, Processing and Transport Affect the Environmental Impact of Pulses. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 27, 496-508. 

    Categories: Food, Student Contributor