• 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

  • Brock University Seed Library community engagement events!

    Participants selected from a variety of seeds they wanted to plant.

    By: Sanjida Amin

    Brock University’s Seed Library celebrated its second season by hosting two events aimed at educating the community about sustainable gardening practices. The Seed Library, a partnership between the Brock University Library and the Brock University Project Charter, provides the Brock and Niagara community with free seeds to “borrow” and plant in the spring and summer. Staff, students, and community members can “borrow” free seeds from the Seed Library to use in their own gardens. The cycle works like a library where participants can take seeds free of cost and are asked to return some from their harvest, so they can be given out to other community members. This Seed Library aims to protect the genetic variety in our food system and encourage open access to seeds. 

    This spring, the Seed Library hosted a seed packing event and a seed planting event to spread awareness of the Seed Library project and educate the community on the importance of biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, promoting pollinator populations, and preserving rare, endangered, native, and culturally significant seeds.    

    The Seed Packing Party was held on March 31 in the Matheson Learning Commons. Anyone who wanted to help pack seeds for the Seed Library’s stock was welcome to participate in the volunteer event, which was designed for students earning credits towards their campus-wide co-curriculum (CWC) activities. Moreover, students could also use these volunteer hours towards the completion of The World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Leader certification. It was wonderful to see students from various departments as well as staff, faculty, and community members participate in the seed packing event by counting seeds and placing them in envelopes. 

    Participants helped label envelopes and pack seeds to restock the Seed Library.

    The Seed Planting Party was held on April 13. The main purpose of this event was to inspire the Brock community to grow and take care of plants with seeds given to them from the Seed Library. Each participant was allowed to plant up to six different varieties of herbs, flowers, and vegetables. Soil and necessary supplies were offered, including egg cartons donated by Dining Services. Additionally, educational materials were provided, which included details on the germination process and growth patterns for some of the popular seeds offered at the Seed Library. Participants could take their newly planted seeds home with them to later plant out in their gardens. It was an enjoyable and relaxing event for everyone who participated, especially students looking to de-stress during exam season!  

    Participants used egg cartons donated by Dining Services to plant their seeds in.

    The Brock University Seed Library hopes to organize more events in the future to help preserve ecological balance, encourage home gardening, and enhance community involvement. To learn more about the Seed Library and how to participate, please visit our website here. 

    Categories: Community, Events, Student Contributor, Sustainability

  • ‘Tis the Season to be Sustainable

    Tree Branch with Berries Covered in Snow

    By: Kassie Burns

    As snow starts to fall and holidays quickly approach, we thought it would be a perfect time to share 5 tips to create a more sustainable holiday season! Although holidays often bring friends and family together, it can generate incredible amounts of waste through food and décor. Luckily, there are some tips that can allow you to enjoy your company and give back to our environment!

    1. Cook for your guests and not the neighbourhood!

    If you associate turkey, lavish meals, and stuffed stomachs with winter holidays you are not alone, but it is important to consider the amount of food you make to avoid waste!

    • Try to plan ahead to know how many guests to cook for and if they plan to bring food.
    • Avoid buying in bulk and know the ingredients you have at home.
    • Think of people’s favourites so they want to eat it all and change up foods that were not a hit!
    • Tell your meal ideas to someone else to see if you might want to cut back on anything.

    2. Turn leftovers into new delicious meals!

    Sometimes leftovers are inevitable, but they do not have to be a chore to eat!

    • Have fun being creative to come up with ways to use your leftovers! For some inspiration head over to Insanely Good Recopies to turn holiday leftovers into meals you will definitely want again!
    • Try to utilize all parts of food, turkey and other meat bones are great for making delicious broths!
    • If there is food waste, make sure to compost it!

    3. Purchase ingredients locally and/or grow your own!

    • Buying local is an excellent way to help support your community!
    • Look for ethically sourced ingredients!
    • Go wild and choose plant-based ingredients only or reduce the amount of meat in your meal!
    • Visit Brock’s Seed Library to start growing your own ingredients at no cost! Things like herbs can be grown in doors anytime of the year!

    4. Leave plastic behind and decorate with organic material!

    • Why spend money on decorations this year when you can utilize beautiful pinecones, natural wreaths, assorted branch display and other greenery! After the holidays, these items can be saved or composted.
    • Save and reuse the decorations you already have!
    • Avoid using inflatable decorations to save energy (Nettos, 2020).
    • Consider alternative means of wrapping presents with cloths, tins, jars, reusable material found at home or paper!

    5. Enjoy the weather outside!

    • Skip time on screens and electronic devices and instead spend time outside this year on the amazing trails of Niagara! Click here for a list in your area.
    • Brock itself is situated on a UNESCO Biosphere and has several beautiful trails including the Bruce Trail. Learn more on trails that surround Brock here.
    • Have fun making snow angels, forts, and snow people!

    Share your sustainable winter holidays online with us @BUsustaibale on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to be highlighted on our story!


    Nettos, M. (2020, October 29). Five Tips On How to Have a Sustainable At-Home Halloween. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from


    Categories: Student Contributor, Sustainability

  • Niagara Climate Change Summit: Collaborating for a Sustainable Future

    Blog Contributor: Alexandra Cotrufo

    On June 28th, 2022, the Niagara Climate Change Summit took place in Pond Inlet. The Summit was hosted by the Niagara Region in partnership with Brock University and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.  

    The Summit came after a motion was passed in September 2021 by the Regional Council to declare a climate change emergency. Niagara’s annual average air temperature has risen by 1.4°C since 1910, and it is expected that this number will reach 1.8°C by the year 2050, according to Brock research. More than ever before, transformational change is needed to combat and mitigate the severe impacts of climate change. 

    The Summit brought together representatives from 12 local municipalities, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and the private sector to make a commitment to actively do more to address climate change in Niagara. 

    The day started with a traditional Indigenous opening by Dylan Ritchie (Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre) from the Saugeen First Nation, followed by a keynote presentation by Karen Farbridge (Karen Farbridge & Associates). Karen’s presentation focused on the importance of pushing for climate action at the local level, with the theme revolving around “Think global, act local.” She encouraged the Summit attendees to take bold action and collaborate with one another to build a more efficient, resilient, and sustainable Niagara. 

    Following the keynote presentation, The Regional Chair’s Youth Advisory Panel, represented by Salony Sharma (Chair) and Keegan Hedley (Vice-Chair), spoke to attendees about the effects climate change has on Niagara’s youth and the importance of climate action for future generations. Salony and Keegan urged everyone in the room to act on climate change, engage Niagara youth in discussions, and make a true commitment to achieving Net Zero by 2050. Their presentation closed with a powerful video highlighting how youth in Niagara feel about climate change. 

    Two panel discussions were later held, which focused on topics of leading environmental and climate change action in communities, and climate change action and the economy. 

    Summit attendees participated in facilitated discussions which will help inform a more cohesive climate change action plan for the Region.

    The afternoon consisted of several facilitated roundtable discussions, which focused on topics such as biodiversity, agriculture, local food and wine, sustainable transportation, home and building efficiency, and more. The roundtable session aimed to identify opportunities and barriers to advancing climate action in Niagara within various key sectors. 

    These discussions are an important first step for developing a network for collaboration, and the ideas and feedback collected will be utilized to develop a more cohesive climate change action plan for the Region. 

    Over 100 individuals, representing dozens of local organizations, signed the call to action.

    Following the roundtable discussions, Summit attendees were invited to sign a call to action as a pledge to continue engaging in important discussions surrounding climate change and sustainable development.  

    This acted as a demonstration of commitment to form partnerships, share knowledge, and accelerate action on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions in Niagara. Over 100 individuals, representing dozens of local organizations, signed the pledge. 

    The Summit acted as a foundational first step for Niagara organizations, institutions, and municipalities to commit to working together to invest in the critical change that is needed to mitigate environmental challenges and prevent further negative impact. 

    If you would like to view the presentations and panel discussions, you can find the recording on the Region’s YouTube channel or at the Niagara Climate Change Summit website. 

    Photos courtesy of Flashbox Photography.

    Categories: Climate Change, Niagara, Student Contributor, Sustainability