University of Calgary

Something for everyone during Earth Month

UToday HomeJune 3, 2013

By Amy Glassman

Eighty-five people volunteered their time for the 4th annual Campus Clean-up and Barbecue.Eighty-five people volunteered their time for the 4th annual Campus Clean-up and Barbecue. Photo by Jae ImCampus sustainability efforts were showcased over the month of April as campus members joined forces to host a series of events in celebration of international Earth Day.

Earth Day itself was officially celebrated worldwide on April 22 and on campus with an afternoon seminar on Sustainable Gardening  and an evening screening of Chasing Ice.

In the evening, the Downtown Campus Sustainability Committee screened the award-winning documentary Chasing Ice to a full house of 340 people. The film follows photographer James Balog as he tracks the ever-changing landscape of the world’s glaciers over a period of a few years in an effort to measure climate change.

The screening was followed with a panel discussion consisting of geologist Shawn Marshall, associate professor in social work Mishka Lysack, and principal of Indigenous Visions Inc. Carol Crow.

“As the film showed, the Arctic is in serious crisis with rapidly increasing ice loss. Scientists point to a growing extinction of species, increasing health problems, declining food production, and more chaotic weather,” said Lysack.

Despite this, Lysack also believes that there are many examples of those making positive changes.

“We need to act quickly, not just by personal acts of greening, but mainly by rapidly moving to a clean energy economy through serious public policy. There are many hopeful examples of what we can to do to protect our environment, revitalize our communities economically, and achieve energy security and independence, such as communities around the world already shifting to 100% renewable energy systems.”

The university community and general public packed the downtown campus for a screening of Chasing Ice.The university community and general public packed the downtown campus for a screening of Chasing Ice. Photo by Lisa AllenOther events — 10 over the course of April — captured a wide range of interests and topics; urban planning, fair trade, and renewable energy to name a few. The Campus Clean-up held just after Bermuda Shorts Day resulted in 765 pounds of litter and recyclables being removed from our campus.

At the Sustainable Gardening Seminar on April 22, Pam Wright, owner of Bow Trail Nursery, offered a fresh perspective to new and experienced gardeners on maintaining a thriving and environmentally friendly garden. Wright discussed alternatives to using pesticides and stressed the importance of purchasing local seeds.

Deborah Treijs, SustainabilityON Coordinator for the Faculty of Medicine, organized the event and believes that many attendees were surprised by Wright’s simplistic approach.

“When it comes to sustainable gardening, people are always trying to push the limit; Pam Wright encouraged gardeners to find plants that were native to Alberta,” says Treijs. “She showcased a number of plants which didn’t need to be watered but could instead thrive from the natural rain cycle.”

The Office of Sustainability acknowledges the Engineering Students Society, NUTV, Faculty of Environmental Design, ISEEESA, Eco Club, Facilities Management and Development, Engineers Without Borders, Foothills Eco Committee, Downtown Campus Sustainability Committee and the Canadian Alliance of College and University Sustainability Professionals Alberta Chapter for helping make Earth Month a success.

To learn more about Earth Month and the events that took place click here.

For more stories on how students, staff and faculty are stepping up together to turn SustainabilityON, or to learn how you can become involved, visit


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