Humber launches new Sustainability Plan

During her opening remarks on Tuesday at the Lakeshore Campus 2019-2024 Sustainability Plan launch, Associate Director of Sustainability Lindsay Walker explained the new plan is the result of incredible collaboration within the Humber community. “We created it together, and the actions are the voices of all the different people we spoke with,” she said. “The idea [behind the plan] is to show that any action that we take, as individuals or as an institution, will create more change and action and inspire us to keep going forward.”

The new Sustainability Plan is organized into three pillars. The Culture and Community Pillar is advanced and supported by the actions of all three pillars—the other two pillars being Teaching, Learning & Applied Research, and Sustainable Operations.  Walker says this is one of the major differences from the previous five-year plan. “The strategic pillars were separate in the last plan, at least visually,” she said. “Now, while we still have three pillars, they are all clearly interconnected.”

Tayler Buchanan, Sustainability communications and events coordinator, explained that comprehensive feedback from the Humber community was incorporated in the new plan. “You will notice that each department has different action items,” she said. “We worked with the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion task force, the BASE, the Aboriginal Resource Centre, LGBTQ+ Resource Centre, Humber Arboretum and more, to make sure the central focus is culture and community. Advancing sustainability initiatives can’t happen if we’re not also advancing our efforts to be equitable, diverse, and inclusive,” Buchanan explained. “One cannot be achieved without the others.”

Derek Stockley, senior dean of the Faculty of Community and Social Services, and principal of Lakeshore campus, said he was proud to be at the launch celebrating Humber’s commitment to national leadership in developing sustainable campuses. “Much of the work we do here at Humber is about changing the lives of our students,” Stockley said. “This plan is about changing the lives of future generations. It goes without saying that we are at moment in our history where our focus on sustainability is imperative in order to make changes that literally save the planet.”

Stockley reiterated many sustainable efforts at Humber that have resulted in recognition: receiving Fair Trade Designation at both Lakeshore and North campuses; becoming the first  building retrofit in Canada to achieve a Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) – Design certification from the Canada Green Building Council for North campus’s NX Building, and receiving the Edward Burtynsky Award for Excellence in Environmental Inquiry.

“We need to build on our previous achievements, because it will take collaboration to ensure we continue to lead the world in sustainable ways. Shaping healthy, inclusive and sustainable communities is the responsibility of all of us,” he said. “I hope you can see yourself in this plan,” he told attendees.

After remarks concluded, attendees were invited to participate in a traditional Round Dance accompanied by Indigenous drumming and singing by the Young Creek Singers. Walker explained that the Round Dance, used by the Cree First Nation as a social dance, fit the occasion since the plan is focused on culture and community. During a Round Dance, dancers hold hands in a circle to signify the equality of all people in the circle, while singers strike hand drums in unison.

Learn more about Humber Sustainability events on campus by following them on Twitter @SustainHumber or visiting humber.ca/sustainability

View a copy of the 2019-2024 Humber Sustainability Plan here.