Environmental film inspires Humber panel on sustainability

Corey Brehaut

Humber College screened Avi Lewis’ documentary This Changes Everything at Lakeshore campus as part of the school’s Earth Week initiative.

The work by journalist and filmmaker Lewis was produced in conjunction with famed Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein’s book of the same name. It examines the relationship between the deteriorating environment and humanity’s attitude towards it.

The central focus is on convincing the audience that it is not human nature to destroy the environment but that the species is operating under the idea that nature has been subjugated to humanity, even though it is back with a vengeance.

Following the screening, a panel of Humber professors and a student organizer answered questions from the audience and engaged in a discussion on the environment.

Shelley McCabe, a Humber teacher specializing in communicating science to non-scientists said she agrees with the film’s drive to change people’s perspective on climate issues.

“Every time you do something if you stop and think ‘what if seven billion (people) did the same thing’, what kind of an impact would that have?’” she said.

Lindsay Walker, Humber’s sustainability manager talked about initiatives at the college to reduce waste.

“Now all paper on campus is 50 per cent recycled but I hope in the future we stop using paper much more than we do but also if we do have to use it, it is 100 per cent recycled,” she said.

She also explained how much the school is doing to become sustainable.

“They have to get food locally, they have to increase those percentages over time, they have to report to us on an annual basis about what that food is and where it’s coming from,” she said. “We have been installing water refill stations throughout the college over the last bunch of years.”

The panel also ventured into the realm of Canadian politics and Justin Trudeau’s environmental track record.

“I think, pretty though he may be, JT represents more of the same kind of systemic problems that we had over the past ten years with Stephen Harper which was a government that was more or less in the back pocket of corporate power,” said Tyler Shipley, a politics and economics professor at Humber.

“Nothing suggests that Justin Trudeau is going to stop the development of the tar sands,” he said. “Quite the contrary, he said so just in the past month, in fact, First Nations walked away from a meeting with Justin Trudeau’s ministers on the question of the tar sands within the last month.”

Sarah DeCoutu, a third-year Sustainable Energy and Building Technology student at Humber fielded questions about her job prospects in the future. She said she was more excited for the jobs to come than the jobs currently available.

“Right now I’m looking for a job in energy management position for a property management company or municipalities but I’m excited for the jobs to come,” she said.

The environmental panel ordered more food for attendees than they needed, which did not go past the panelists.

“I just want to reiterate that we definitely didn’t quite catch how many people we thought might come… so literally bring home food to your family, find other people out in the hallway,” said Walker. “Let’s not waste this food.”

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