Earth Week brings attention to Humber’s environmental needs

Jessica Tedesco
News Reporter

Humber North campus launched Earth Week hosted by Humber Sustainability, and participants say events such as this are useful is discussing the issues plaguing the planet.

Monday started off with interactive discussions on the important role of honeybees in the food chain, followed by a farmers’ market, a campus clean up and ending with a scavenger hunt on Thursday.

Amanda Shaw with Humber Sustainability said the events are a reminder that creating a greener campus is a collective effort.

“We want to make a difference in our community by leading by example,” she said. “By making our campus greener and making it more energy efficient we can show others around us, other educational institutions, that it’s possible for them as well.”

Shaw said there is a variety of small lifestyle changes students that can have a big impact.

“Everyday things that people can do that are super easy is you can reduce your waste or bring reusable containers and mugs on campus,” she said. “Using public transport or carpooling will also make a huge impact on your carbon footprint.”

Earth Week at Humber is an early kick-off to Earth Day, which takes place this year on April 22. Leading off the week’s events was Earth Hour, where a number of people around the world managed without electricity for an hour last Saturday evening.

Antonella Raconelli, an Environmental Science graduate from York University, said although the action of Earth Hour may seem small, the impact can still be significant.

“Small changes won’t be enough but it’s something that will be helpful step-by-step in the long run,” she said. “It is imperative we begin to reduce our carbon footprint. The way we abuse the environment will have lasting harmful effects.”

Raconelli said the most critical aspect of Earth Day is encouraging awareness of our position in relation to the environment.

“It allows more people to reflect on the way we treat the earth and understand the impact this will have,” she said. “By more people becoming aware of the issues at hand we can then prepare for future problems.”

“I participated in Earth Day last year and I would do it again because, why not?” said Melanie Sosing, a first-year Accounting student at Humber North campus. “It may be small but it doesn’t hurt.”

Shaw also emphasizes the impact any action can have.

“You may have noticed that we have our recycling campaigns up around school – we have our three-coloured recycling bins,” said Shaw. “Since we have implemented that we saw that our waste diversion increased from 42 per cent to 53 per cent in three years.

“That amount increased is the amount of waste that isn’t going into a landfill and actually being diverted to its proper facilities,” said Shaw.

“Little changes like that show that it is possible to make a huge impact,” she said.

Humber Sustainability is an initiative that while reducing the carbon footprint of campus also seeks to change the mindset of the more than 27,000 full-time students that can bring a changed view into their future careers and lifestyles.

Although one school’s effort may not seem like enough, each action has a role in increasing this effort in the future, said Vanessa Fallone, first-year post-graduate human resources student at Humber Lakeshore campus.

“It gives recognition and makes you aware for that one hour about the environment. Earth Day brings attention to an important cause,” Fallone said.

Shaw recommends students to follow Sustainability on Twitter, Facebook or visit the website at http://www.humber.ca/sustainability/ where Humber’s 2014-2019 Sustainability Plan is now available.

“The purpose is to educate Humber College about sustainability and to make it a greener place to teach and learn,” said Shaw. “Our goal is to preserve our future by focusing on the social, ecological and economic impact of our collective decisions as a community.”

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