Hi everyone, It’s a busy time so I’ll keep this short. As our centre operations come to a close for the year I just wanted to thank everyone who helped to make this year amazing. It was great seeing all the enthusiasm and dedication to our planet in the LU community. It was a pleasure running the centre for you all and we hope to see you next year!
I’ll leave you with an article that I think sums up the year. It talks about how even though we know the situation is dire, that through our continued efforts we can come out on top of this. If we keep caring and keep working hard this is a fight we can win!
Fossil Free Lakehead (FFL)
Fossil Free Lakehead is a campus group that was founded with the goal of convincing Lakehead’s board of governors to divest (take their investments out of) fossil fuels. After 7 years of pressure, they succeeded and Lakehead is currently in the process of selling off all their fossil fuels investments, permanently.
Now the group’s goals are to continue holding Lakehead accountable throughout the divestment process and fighting for climate action more broadly. Most recently the group has been focused on action around the big bank’s role in financing climate change.
Fossil Free Lakehead also runs a newsletter and social media. You can get involved by joining their email list here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf4Wqvm3tvZlbVvZSSw3NcgGvhW1YYMn2obOxWahaI1afY5Ug/viewform or by following them @fossilfreelakehead on instagram or facebook.
CUSP - Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet
CUSP is a group of people from across the city who advocate for a more sustainable future. CUSP has been involved in much of the planning and organizing behind the city’s climate demonstrations.
CUSP publishes a semi-regular newsletter detailing actionable events that you can take part in or learn from to help do your part in the climate fight. topics include things from petitions, to demonstrations, to global going-ons in the climate space.
If you’re interested in getting involved with CUSP sign up for the newsletter by emailing email@example.com) and asking to be added to the list. Otherwise, follow them on Facebook @CitizensUnitedForASustainablePlanetCusp
Banking on a Better Future
Like Fossil Free Lakehead, Banking on a Better Future (BOABF) focuses on holding our financial institutions accountable. BOABF is a Canada wide group of youth that has been on the front lines, organizing and supporting actions against banks financing fossil fuel projects. They also campaign more broadly around preventing funding for new fossil fuel projects, ending government fossil fuel subsidies (in Canada, 3.3 billion dollars annually, by the way), and ensuring the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples is respected. BOABF also helps youth develop the skills to plan, organize and execute these actions. They also provide support around actions and demonstrations.
If you want to get involved with BOABF, check out their website here :https://bankingonabetterfuture.org/new-page or follow them on instagram @bank4betterfuture or facebook @bankforbetterfuture
Ontario Nature is an Ontario based, non-profit organization focused primarily on preservation and restoration of our natural environment. They offer opportunities to do your part through things like petitions, learning opportunities like workshops, as well as resources you can use in your daily life. To get involved with Ontario Nature check out their website https://ontarionature.org/ or follow them on instagram @ontarionature or facebook @OntarioNature
Leadnow is a Canada wide, non-profit, advocacy organization. Their goals’ center around building a more sustainable, just and equitable Canada, through community action and democracy. They are quick to respond when an opportunity for progress arises and constantly push for action on specific issues around Ontario and the rest of the country. Oftentimes these can be as simple as signing virtual petitions, but can extend further into demonstrations and large actions.
If you’re interested in getting involved with Leadnow check out their website here: https://www.leadnow.ca/ or follow them on Instagram @Leadnowca or @leadnowcanada
The second installment of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report on “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” was released on Feb 28, 20022, with contributions from 270 authors across 67 countries. It is a lengthy report, but the message is loud and clear: WE HAVE TO TAKE ACTION NOW! Let’s take a closer look at a few main points:
Citing from more than 34000 scientific papers, scientists from across the world have found that we will face multiple, extreme, climate hazards over the next 2 decades. Further any warming more than 1.5 C will result in severe, irreversible damage. These extreme weather events are co-occurring and causing cascading impacts on millions of people, including food and water insecurity.
Cities are expected to be hotspots for climate impacts, and people’s health, livelihood, as well as critical infrastructure, will be severely affected. This is especially true for cities with poorly planned urban growth and high rates of poverty. However, cities can also act as a crucial part of the solution if they decide to make major climate adaptation shifting toward a more sustainable system, such as sustainable building practices, implementation of renewable energy, better public transport, etc.
The report also points out that a healthy ecosystem is more resilient to climate change and provides critical services, including its natural ability to absorb and store carbon. Therefore, they believe that safeguarding nature and restoring degraded ecosystems are necessary to secure a livable future.
In the end, the IPCC warns us about the severe consequences of inaction and emphasizes the urgency of immediate action to address the climate risks. The window to a livable future is narrowing, and we have to take action NOW.
For more details, visit: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg2/
As part of anti-racism week join LUSU Sustainability Initiative in reading There's Something in the Water by Ingrid R.G.Waldron. This short book looks at environmental racism in black and indigenous communities and why it's such an important issue. Participants will read the book on their own and the event will culminate with a group discussion in The Study on Thursday March 3rd 1:30 - 2:30pm.
Every Wednesday at 12pm - 1pm we will be holding a group discussion about different sustainability related topics. These will be a good chance to discuss and learn about new, sustainability related topics and meet like minded students. Coffee, tea and hot chocolate will be provided! The conversation will be very open so feel free to drop in even if you can’t make it quite at 12 or can’t stay the whole time. This said, even if you can’t come in during this time, feel free to come in and talk with us about these topics at any time we’re open!
Greenwashing (Feb 16, 2022)
Have you noticed how it seems like just about every company these days claims to be “going green”? Come talk with us as we discuss greenwashing and learn about how companies portray themselves as climate leaders despite less than stellar climate records
Reducing and Reusing (Feb 23, 2022)
This week’s topic will be Reducing and reusing. But wait, aren’t we missing an R? Well as you might already know, the three Rs are actually in order of importance. Come talk to us to learn why and what you can do to reduce and reuse in your daily life.
Right to Repair and Planned Obsolescence (Mar 2, 2022)
Have you ever stopped to consider just why such expensive tech and appliances have such short lifespans? The truth is that it’s designed that way. Though it might sound like a conspiracy, our technology often has an expiry date built in (planned obsolescence). On top of that, product manufacturers often make it very expensive to repair their products, almost forcing you to buy new. If this is something you’d like to learn more about, or just vent about, come chat with us!
To celebrate Black History Month, we want to take this chance to highlight the work of Dr. Robert Bullard - the father of environmental justice.
In the 1970s, Dr. Bullard conducted what was one of America's first 'windshield studies' to identify neighbourhoods, residents and polluting industries. He found that 80% of Houston's landfills and incinerators were mostly built in Black neighbourhoods.
These findings set an important precedent for the environmental justice movement and led to the first lawsuit against polluters by placing environmental racism under civil rights law. He later expanded his research and became an award-winning author of eighteen books that address sustainable development and environmental racism.
For a long time, his path was lonely as environmental activists told him that racial justice was out of their scope while civil rights groups claimed that pollution was not their concern. However, with perseverance to fight for justice, he has become one of the most influential sociologists and environmental activists and has inspired a generation of young climate advocates.
Learn more about Dr. Bullard here: https://www.unep.org/championsofearth/laureates/2020/robert-bullard
France New Legislation
For our last post of our reduce and reuse month let’s talk about a new law in France. Though we’ve seen it to some extent in Canada with proposed legislation in the works, France is taking the reduce concept even more seriously. One great step they’re rolling out now is banning fresh fruits and vegetables from being packaged in plastic. This is a great step. As I’m sure those of you who have seen it can relate, seeing fruit that naturally has a peel, peeled and wrapped in plastic drives me crazy!
This is part of a larger series of laws the country has passed to help produce single use plastics from being produced in the first place. Some other noteworthy mentions include banning plastic toys in children’s meals and ensuring the availability of water fountains in public spaces to discourage buying plastic bottles.
Hopefully seeing this ambition inspires our government too!
What happens when you return a product?
Good question! Even in the age of online shopping, returns are incredibly easy to make. In many cases we might not even need to pay the return shipping. Though shipping products back and forth might sound bad from a carbon standpoint, it’s not even the worst part.
In many cases, when you return something, especially with large retailers like amazon, the product never makes it back to the warehouse. Instead it is often sold to liquidators or even worse, just thrown out entirely. An investigation in the UK revealed that this was happening with 100 000’s of items per week just at one factory.
Though the company acknowledges this practice, they won’t be clear about the scale to which they do this. Since throwing things out can be more profitable than trying to resell it, it’s unlikely that they plan on stopping anytime soon.
The pandemic made this problem even worse as online shopping and returns increased.
As the world went through a supply chain shortage and people struggled to pay for goods they needed to get by, the biggest online retailer in the world was throwing away millions of perfectly good products. On top of that the carbon costs of producing something, shipping it somewhere and throwing it away are immense and extremely wasteful.
So what’s the solution? Until Amazon and online retailers change this practice or the government intervenes, try to avoid shopping with them or making unnecessary returns. If you buy something, expecting you might return it, consider not buying it. If you can’t, try to give it to someone else, or resell it. If you’re feeling ambitious, contact your MP (member of parliament) and let them know that companies should not be allowed to do this in the first place!
Follow these links for more information:
Meat me halfway!
Plant-based diet has grown in popularity in the past couple of years due to its environmental and health benefits. You can have a perfectly adequate diet without eating any meat at all. But when it comes to meat consumption, it is more than just protein. The taste, the texture, the memories embedded in it is what make it so difficult to go full on plant-based diet.
That’s the reason why Brian Kateman, the co-founder of Reducetarian Foundation, wants to introduce a middle ground through his documentary “Meat Me Halfway” and it’s not all or nothing. The reducetarian movement set out a realistic and balanced goal to mindfully reduce your meat consumption and seek out common ground on a dinner table.
If this is something you want to learn more about, join us at our virtual watch party on Thursday, February 3, 2022 at 7:00 PM EST.
The documentary can be rent through Youtube and you can watch the trailer here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTMLkxwn4uU&ab_channel=1091Pictures
Mycelium Fungus - Green material for the future
One way to reduce the amount of plastics we use is to look at new innovative forms of packaging. A particularly interesting one is an alternative to things like Styrofoam called mycelium packaging. Mycelium is the vegetative part of fungi (like a root!) and can be shaped into molds to create the shapes we need for packaging. This can be done cheaply and considerably more energy efficiently than Styrofoam. And don’t worry, it’s heated to a point that kills the fungus so you don’t have to worry about it continuing to grow. It might be unlikely that you’ll know what a product is packaged in before buying it, but it’s promising to see some big brands (like Ikea and Dell) promise to start using it.
Aside from packaging, mycelium is being used to create all kinds of low impact products. Examples include clothing, food and building materials. Check out the video we’ve attached for a more detailed look!
Would you buy a house lined with mycelium insulation? How about a jacket made of mycelium based leather? Let us know!
Follow the link for more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cApVVuuqLFY