Weekly editorials from the CEEC Executive Team
Covering the latest in sustainability with passion and creativity
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.
The Commerce and Engineering Environmental Conference began the executive blogs with the idea that among all the rhetoric of sustainability, climate change and global warming we are lost to how we can create change. It seems that students are not the only ones that share this frustration. Paul Hawken, one of the leading environmental scientists in the world began asking: “Do we know what we need to do in order to arrest and reverse global warming?” He was met with uncertainty by his colleagues. It seemed that even the scientists that warned of us of the catastrophic effects of global warming have no game plan to combat it.
It has never been easier to “opt outside” in Canada. To celebrate 150 years of the confederation, the Canadian Government, in conjunction with Parks Canada, have decided to waive national park and historic site access fees for the year. This has been a highly controversial decision that has sparked debate; both camps have made convincing arguments defending and opposing the motion. Graciously, I had the opportunity to work for Parks Canada this summer (2017), which has been an unforgettable experience. Particularly working in Banff National Park – the busiest of all national parks – has been a challenging but rewarding experience. I’ll dive into the arguments that have been made from both sides after spending a summer in the thick of the Park.
Climate action discussions often make us feel hopeless and disinterested – it’s even more difficult to understand the actions we can take as students. Contrary to popular belief, the notion that to have a sustainable future, we must make massive sacrifices is false. It’s time to shift the general mindset, and get excited about the opportunities to improve ourselves and our planet. CEEC has decided to start highlighting the ways we think and act as environmental ambassadors through a series of blog posts written by our very own exec. We hope that you will feel inspired by deep diving into the challenges we face, the insights we discover and the ideas we create, and leave with tangible tools you can use to bring environmentally responsible efforts into your own life. Buckle up, and get ready for our new executive member blog! We look forward to sharing our adventures with you.
Andrei Flueraru & Rachel Vander Veen
CEEC Co-Chairs 2018