Copyright © 2020 Federation of Students, University of Waterloo operating as Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association
Let’s face it. With the climate change clock ticking faster than this summer is going, we should have been talking about sustainability since yesterday. Thankfully, the Sustainable Campus Initiative (SCI) is always steps ahead, hosting Sustainability Week from July 8 to July 13.
“Sustainability Week is a week of events which SCI puts on to stir thoughts and conversations about environmental and social sustainability,” said Emily Carlson, a pure mathematics student and also the event lead for Sustainability Week. “Seeing as the planet is in a state of environmental emergency it is critical that students are aware of this issue and are aware of what they can do to help and make changes.”
Sustainability Week is run by SCI, a student-run service that strives to educate on environmental and social sustainability through events, projects, rallies, workshops, and providing feedback to our student association and the UWaterloo administration.
Carlson explained that she personally joined SCI because she has had a long standing passion for environmental sustainability.
“I wanted to be able to make changes on a larger scale than just my own individual choices," she said. "I spend a lot of my free time thinking about sustainability issues and what I can do to help, and SCI is an excellent outlet and way of communicating what I have learned to the student body.”
During Sustainability Week, you can expect a full week of engaging events, ranging from campus lectures to workshops on making repurposed reusable bags! Look forward to engaging discussions, prizes, a movie night, and a week long BINGO event that encourages you to go out and something sustainable throughout the week.
The conversation doesn’t just end after Sustainability Week. We must continue the conversation with family members and older generations about making changes to create more sustainable lives and cultures.
“Ask them why they make a particular decision (eg. buying their coffee in a single use coffee cup) and ask them what difference it would make if they changed that decision to one that is more sustainable,” Carlson said.
Other steps she recommends is to start small but persistent, to get them to engage in productive discussions, and to enable them by making the first step yourself (buying them a reusable mug).
“I want to take a moment to acknowledge that Indigenous Peoples from around the world have lived harmoniously with the environment for many generations and that much can be learned from that way of thinking, living, and being," Carlson said. "Being at the University of Waterloo we learn every single day of our university career on the traditional territory of the Anishnabeg, Haudenosaunee, and Attawandaron peoples and are on territory which was promised to the Six Nations in 1784. We need to see the earth not as something dispensable but something that enables our survival.”