January 2021

Sustainable Holiday: Self-Care and Gift Guide

two rolled beeswax candles

Sustainable Holiday: Self-Care and Gift Gude

Climate action conversation with four changemakers

An image with a picture of young people behind the text that says "Eco Summit 2021: Youth leading the Way for Climate Action".

The University of Waterloo’s Sustainability Office held its eighth annual Eco Summit with the theme: “Youth Leading the Way for Climate Action”.

Sustainable Gifting

crocheted bags, ornaments and hat

The holiday season is a time when gifts are exchanged by many people. However, with this tradition comes a lot of waste! Shipping gifts, wrapping paper waste, packaging, and even those undesired gifts that we all inevitably get use resources, create emissions, and accumulate in landfills.

One way to reduce the environmental impact of exchanging gifts is to give memorable experiences instead of physical objects. Ideas include:

How to bike safely in your community

Two individuals cycling on the road

As we all know, cycling is one of the sustainable modes of transportation to reach from Point A to Point B. When you bike, you are reducing emissions and helping improve the quality of air we all breathe. It is also a great way to get your body moving and your mind healthy.

Sustainability Theme of the Month: Sustainable Holidays

Holiday decorations

Hello, Warriors! This month, as the holidays are around the corner, we shift our focus on sustainable holidays. Being sustainable doesn't mean we should take away the fun out of the holidays. It just means there are some things we need to be careful about so that our planet won't suffer from the weight of impacts we produce.

What we mean by sustainable holidays

WAT's Sustainable Episode 12: WAT is Sustainable Development? with Jahanvi Desai

WAT is Sustainable Development cover

WAT's Sustainable, Waterloo? Welcome to the official Sustainability's Office's official podcast: WAT's Sustainable? 

Repurposing Common Household Objects

jars, hanging shirts and folded newspaper

October is Waste Reduction month! It is a great time to think about how we can reduce our carbon footprint and work toward achieving SDG #12: Responsible Consumption & Production. Repurposing also contributes to SDG #13: Climate Action by diverting waste and reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by landfills.

WAT's Sustainable Episode 11: WAT is Zero Waste (Week)? with Ariana Lim and Eurus Pan

WAT is Zero Waste (Week) cover

WAT's Sustainable, Waterloo? Welcome to the official Sustainability's Office's official podcast: WAT's Sustainable? 

On Episode 11: WAT’s Zero Waste Week, we chatted with Ariana and Eurus, co-leaders of @uwcampuscompost, to talk about zero waste, why zero waste is important to the student group, and how they’re promoting waste reduction on campus. We also shared tips and information on how you can reduce waste as an individual and how you can get involved with them. 

To learn more about the student group:

Give thanks and a scare—not waste!

Pumpkins and other produce goods

Excitement grows as we approach Halloween and Thanksgiving. As fun as they can be, these holiday traditions often tend to be wasteful, and so the way we celebrate has to change for the health and safety of our planet. We often get caught up in the moment where we forget how our actions can impact the environment. 

Sustainability Theme of the Month: September is for Climate Change

SDG 13 logo: climate change

Welcome back, Warriors! And welcome home to all of our new staff or students. The focus for September at the Sustainability Office is climate change, because we believe it is one of the most important topics to educate all of our new (and returning) community members on!

What is climate change?

WAT's Sustainable Episode 10: WAT is repair culture? with Murray Zink

WAT's Sustainable, Waterloo? Welcome to the official Sustainability's Office's official podcast: WAT's Sustainable?

On episode 10, we chat with Murray Zink, a staff member at the University and founder of 4RepairKW, a community-based organization composed of volunteers passionate about repairing items and educating the public on how to be more responsible and skilful consumers. This conversation dives into the concept of repair and why fostering a repair culture in the community is important for sustainability.

References Resources

Sustainability Theme of the Month: August is for Sustainable Procurement

Grocery cart leading down a shopping aisle

In a world where things are starting to look closer to “normalcy,” the back-to-school shopping season is upon us again. From stationary supplies, to dorm room decorations, to clothing, to apartment furnishings and more, many of us will be making purchases for school this month, whether we are students, staff, or have family going back to school. What better time to incorporate sustainability considerations into your shopping behaviours? 

What is sustainable procurement?

WAT's Sustainable Episode 09: WAT is water conservation? with Brendan Schaefer

WAT's Sustainable Logo Episode 09

WAT's Sustainable, Waterloo? Welcome to the official Sustainability's Office's official podcast: WAT's Sustainable?

On episode 09, we hear from Brendan Schaefer from Reep Green Solutions. Join Jenna and Andrea Bale, the Sustainability Engagement Coordinator at the Sustainability Office, as they discuss sustainable transportation. The conversation explores why water conservation is important both globally and within Waterloo Region, opportunities to conserve water in affordable, low-maintenance ways at home and more.

Referenced Resources

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

In an Earth plentiful of space and natural resources, it’s easy to forget the environmental impact of something as small as plastic. Yet, we continue to use plastic every day. From plastic bottles, plastic bags, to plastic packaging, human beings consume an irrational amount of plastic waste. Where does it go? Well, no other than our waters leading to the topic of this blog: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The Sustainability Office is here to discuss what the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is, its effects on our environment, and the projects that are underway in solving this global mess.

WAT's Sustainable Episode 08: WAT is an auto city?

WAT's Sustainable Logo Episode 08

WAT's Sustainable, Waterloo? Welcome to the official Sustainability's Office's official podcast: WAT's Sustainable?

On episode 08, we learn about auto cities, including their history in relation to the boom in the automotive industry, how auto cities impact the environment as well as our health and wellbeing, and ways we can promote more sustainable travel within our auto-focused communities.

References Resources

Bike Month 2021 Recap

Bike Month 2021

In June, we asked the University of Waterloo community to participate in our Bike Month campaign, a four-week contest that encourages individuals to snap a photo of themselves on a bike ride or share their favourite cycling story. Although the Sustainability Office normally hosts its Bike Month activities in-person, Bike Month 2021 was designed to be entirely virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, this post briefly summarizes how active and passionate the community is for cycling in their day-to-day lives.

Sustainability Theme of the Month: July is for Water Conservation

Summer is in full swing, which likely means many trips to the swimming pool, water park (if they reopen), watering our gardens, and other activities on top of everyday water-using tasks like washing dishes, taking showers, flushing toilets, and more. As you can imagine, we tend to use a lot of water at this time of year, so the Sustainability Office is exploring ways we can reduce our personal water consumption for the month of July.

Why does water conservation matter?

A Guide to becoming a Sustainable Traveller

A guide to becoming a sustainable traveller

As we approach a life where travel is authorized recreationally, it is important to keep in mind how we can be eco-conscious travelers. Let's grapple on that term - sustainable travel. What is it and what are some tips to transition into a sustainable traveller?

WAT's Sustainable Episode 07: WAT is sustainable transportation? with Kevan Marshall

Podcast logo episode 7

WAT's Sustainable, Waterloo? Welcome to the official Sustainability's Office's official podcast: WAT's Sustainable?

On episode 07, we hear from Kevan Marshall from TravelWise and Grand River Transit. Join Jenna and Mat Thijssen, the Sustainability Director at the Sustainability Office, as they discuss sustainable transportation. From sustainable transportation options in Waterloo Region, to challenges in making communities more transit-friendly, to the role community members have in transitioning their communities towards sustainability, you don't want to miss this conversation!

WAT's Sustainable Episode 06: WAT is Bike Month?

Podcast logo episode 6

WAT's Sustainable, Waterloo? Welcome to the official Sustainability's Office's official podcast: WAT's Sustainable?

On episode 06, we talk about all things Bike Month! We explore the history of the month-long campaign, it's significance on an individual and community-wide scale, how it's changed over the years and what you can do to take part this year.

References Resources

Sustainability Theme of the Month: June is for Sustainable Transportation

Congested highway

Can you believe we are already halfway through 2021? With summer almost upon us, it’s the perfect time to explore ways we can move more sustainably by embracing the outdoors. As we will discuss in this blog post, reducing our community’s greenhouse gas emissions will heavily rely on our ability to use sustainable transportation options.

Why does sustainable transportation matter?

Feature: Reducing waste with A Friendlier Company

Kayli and Jacqui with their containers

Prior to COVID-19, zero-waste take-out was already challenging. The pandemic made it even harder, with restrictions on the use of personal mugs, take-out boxes and more for sanitation reasons. However, one company is beating the odds and helping local restaurants transform their practices towards circular systems. Today, we are sharing the story of A Friendlier Company, whose vision is to create a centralized, circular system across Canada.

WAT's Sustainable Episode 05: WAT is plant-based eating with Nicole Pin

WAT's Sustainable Logo Episode 05

WAT's Sustainable, Waterloo? Welcome to the official Sustainability's Office's official podcast: WAT's Sustainable?

On episode 05, we invited our first guest onto the podcast to explore WAT is plant-based eating. Join Jenna, Andrea Bale and the University's Registered Dietitian, Nicole Pin, for an inspiring discussion on the benefits of eating more plant-based, how to navigate barriers to eating more plant-based and more.

References Resources

What I eat in a day: plant-based edition

What I Eat in a Day: Plant-based Edition

In an age where several food options are available with a click of an UberEats delivery button, choosing what to eat can be quite unmotivating, costly, and, at times, difficult. For this reason, I aim to help you reinvent each meal in a manner that is amusing, creative, and healthy by providing you with a “What I Eat in a Day: Plant-based Edition.” I listed potential plant-based meals for you and your family to cook at home for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In addition, I provided an assortment of snacks that are quick, affordable, customizable depending on your preference and style, and most importantly, plant-based!

Sustainability Theme of the Month: May is for Sustainable Food

Do you enjoy listening to podcasts rather than reading blog posts? Check out Episode 01 of the WAT's Sustainable? Podcast, where we explore food systems sustainability!

Earth Month 2021 recap

This April, we asked the University of Waterloo community to take part in our Earth Month Challenge, a four-week campaign that encouraged individuals to take sustainable actions in their everyday lives to contribute to collective sustainability efforts.

WAT's Sustainable Episode 04: WAT is Earth Day?

Podcast logo episode 4

WAT's Sustainable, Waterloo? Welcome to the official Sustainability's Office's official podcast: WAT's Sustainable?

Happy Earth Day! On Episode 04 of the podcast, we answer the question: WAT is Earth Day? We go through the history of this international event and it's current scale, what it aims to achieve, some of the criticisms you may hear and ways that you can celebrate Earth Day virtually this year.

Referenced resources

WAT's Sustainable Episode 03: WAT is urban greenspace?

Podcast logo episode 3

WAT's Sustainable, Waterloo? Welcome to the official Sustainability's Office's official podcast: WAT's Sustainable?

On Episode 03 of the podcast, we answer the question: WAT is urban greenspace? We discuss the importance of greenspace in cities for your health, wellbeing and the planet, what challenges exist when creating urban greenspace in existing urban centres, and what you can do to promote urban greenspace in your community!

Referenced resources

WAT's Sustainable Episode 02: WAT is zero waste?

Podcast logo episode 2

WAT's Sustainable, Waterloo? Welcome to the official Sustainability's Office's official podcast: WAT's Sustainable?

On Episode 02 of the podcast, we answer the question: WAT is zero waste? We discuss the concept of zero waste living, the difference between zero and low waste living, the challenges contributing to our global waste problem, and what you can do as an individual to reduce your waste!

Referenced resources

Sustainability Theme of the Month: April is for Supporting Biodiversity

Spring is finally upon us! To many, this means it’s time to start planning your garden for the season and spending more time outdoors. It’s also the time that the Earth seems like it’s “waking up” from its winter slumber, and you can truly appreciate the role of biodiversity in creating beauty and supporting our wellbeing.

Guest blog: Promoting biodiversity with the Ecology Lab

Students working with the Ecology Lab

To discuss the role of biodiversity and what we can individually do to promote it, today on the blog we hear from Bev Raimbault, the Lab Coordinator at the University of Waterloo's very own Ecology Lab!

What is biodiversity and why is it important?

WAT's Sustainable Episode 01: WAT is a sustainable food system?

Podcast logo episode 1

WAT's Sustainable, Waterloo? Welcome to the official Sustainability's Office's official podcast: WAT's Sustainable?

Referenced resources

WAT's Sustainable: The Podcast

WAT's Sustainable Logo

WAT's Sustainable, Waterloo? Welcome to the Sustainability's Office's official podcast: WAT's Sustainable?

Why a podcast?

Sustainability Theme of the Month: March is for Energy Conservation

Hand holding lightbulb with trees in the background

Can you believe that we are almost a quarter of the way through 2021? In honour of Earth Hour – taking place on Saturday, March 27th from 8:30-9:30pm – this month’s focus is on energy conservation and how individuals can be sustainable through their energy habits.

What is energy?

Sustainability Theme of the Month: February is for Sustainable Salt Management

Salt on a road

While majority of the University of Waterloo may be running virtually right now, the Sustainability Office is still here to help you incorporate sustainability into your daily life – from the comfort of your own home! For every month of 2021 we are focusing on a specific sustainability theme, demonstrating just how diverse sustainability can be.

  1. 2022 (3)
    1. April (1)
    2. March (1)
    3. February (1)
  2. 2021 (36)
    1. December (2)
    2. November (3)
    3. October (4)
    4. September (1)
    5. August (2)
    6. July (6)
    7. June (4)
    8. May (4)
    9. April (6)
    10. March (3)
    11. February (1)
  3. 2020 (7)
    1. November (1)
    2. October (1)
    3. August (2)
    4. June (3)
  4. 2019 (1)
    1. April (1)
  5. 2018 (8)
  6. 2017 (8)
    1. June (1)
    2. May (2)
    3. April (1)
    4. March (1)
    5. February (2)
    6. January (1)
  7. 2016 (2)
    1. February (1)
    2. January (1)
  8. 2015 (3)
    1. November (1)
    2. June (1)
    3. April (1)