Eco-Summit continues to build campus sustainability networks

Thursday, July 7, 2016

What do Brexit, community gardens, and climate change have in common?  Attendees at Waterloo’s third annual Eco-Summit learned about the global, local, and University networks that are building a sustainable future, as well as the tensions within and between those networks.

Co-hosted by the Sustainability Office and Sustainable Campus Initiative, the summit brought together almost 70 students, staff, faculty, and community partners throughout the day to celebrate the momentum of campus sustainability networks and inspire additional action.

Mike Morrice gives keynote addressMike Morrice, Executive Director at Sustainability CoLab, provided a keynote address about deeply divisive forces in Europe and the United States that are reacting against well-established networks, and how these same tensions appear in sustainability networks in Waterloo Region, Ontario, and now across Canada.  Using Sustainable Waterloo Region and Sustainability CoLab as examples, Mike illustrated the benefits in working together on sustainability to leverage collective strengths, improve credibility, share resources, increase influence, and build resiliency.

The summit also featured an update on Waterloo’s own progress and case studies from the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy, UW Campus Market Gardens, and St. Paul’s.  Attendees broke into smaller groups in the afternoon to provide input on next steps that Waterloo can take to advance campus sustainability.

Group brainstorming on campus sustainability next steps

Ian Rowlands, Professor in the School of Environment, Resources, and Sustainability and Interim Associate Vice-President International, provided closing comments on recent sustainability momentum in Canada and around the world.

The summit also acknowledged champions in several departments across campus that received bronze certification as part of the Green Office pilot program, including the Library, CTE, Propel Centre for Population Health Impact, and the Arts, Environment, and Engineering Dean’s Offices.

Green Office certificate recipients