Weekly editorials from the CEEC Executive Team
Covering the latest in sustainability with passion and creativity
At the beginning of the semester, my professor challenged the students in my Ecological Economics course to an optional assignment: go one week without purchasing anything other than food and school supplies. I would consider myself to be fairly thrifty to begin with; I try to cut down costs where I can and usually only buy things when I need them. So, thinking that this challenge would be easy, I confidently walked to the front of the class and wrote my name on the chalkboard alongside about 20 other students.
Just this month, Google has announced that they will be powered by 100% renewable energy by the end of the year. The green industry is accelerating rapidly and major corporations are taking major notice. But let’s not forget about the small guys. Here is my list of the Top 5 Green-Tech start-up companies of 2017.
I would like to preface this post by first introducing myself. My name is Henry Gould, I am a 20 year-old white, cis-, heterosexual male Queen’s student. I grew up in Toronto in an upper class neighbourhood, where I attended a preposterously expensive private school. I have full financial support at University, which has allowed me to spend my summers tree planting and leading canoe trips – effectively doing what I love. I am the quintessential embodiment of privilege, so with a large grain of salt, I invite you to read my take on environmental privilege.
Traffic sucks. We’ve all had dreadful experiences with it, whether it be holding in your bladder crawling at 30 km/hr with no On-Route in site, being stuck on the 401 when your flight has already left Pearson, or having to listen to Toronto blow a 4-1 lead to Boston in the 2013 playoffs through a half broken car radio. Nobody enjoys traffic, but nevertheless it’s something that we’ve become complacent with, something that we’ve come to expect, and accept, in our daily routines.
Before I started learning about my environmental impact, I would shop with plastic bags. Going to a coffee shop and grabbing a latte in a single use cup was a no brainer. Buying fruits and vegetables was a process that involved individually bagging the produce (despite the fact that I was going to wash it before eating anyways). I’d leave the house knowing I was going to buy lunch that day, and I’d still opt for using plastic cutlery and purchasing a 300ml container of juice at the restaurant.
Bees have a bad rep, but without bees, our diets would consist of not much more than water. Honeybees are a crucial factor in our ecosystem and act as the sole pollinator of 168 billion dollars (US) worth of food globally a year. This sum can be approximated to ⅓ of the food we consume. Foods such as grapes, almonds, and avocados are dependent on the bee pollination process, crops cannot prosper without it. Essentially, without bees, there would be no avocado toast or wine. Horror.
It is clear that sustainability has become a popular topic around the world. As a Canadian, most of us are raised to believe we are a very developed and forward-thinking country. We are internationally renowned for our natural treasures – lakes, prairies, and mountain ranges – that seem to label us as a nation that prioritizes environmental concerns.
I hope it’s no secret that environmental activism at its root is a lifestyle. When you truly care about a cause, it is embedded in everything you do. Us environmentalists may occasionally be characterized by excessive quantities of turning off the lights, shutting off the tap, and obsessive recycling, but it’s simply because these actions have become a second nature for us. They are instinctual behaviours, conceived of a true level of caring and passion for our planet and the environment.
Last week, David explained the dynamics and benefits in government-involved climate change policies, sparked from Trump’s exit from the Paris Agreement. This week, I wanted to share my experience with the same topic of the Paris Accord, focusing on a factor that also leads to stagnancy in fighting climate change: how we as millennials and Gen Z are receiving information, and how it ultimately impacts our desire to take action.