Today marks the third annual Global Climate Strike, created by students and activists to stop climate change and move their communities forward. In August, a United Nations report called the crisis “a code red for humanity.” The Global Climate strike goes beyond awareness and urges individuals to act.
Like you, we are as concerned as we are committed to doing our part to fight the crisis. The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals include 17 global goals that will help us achieve a more sustainable future, and they are pressing.
Sustainability is one of Humber’s core values and is a crucial consideration in everything the College does. Humber Tomorrow, Humber College’s new Strategic Priorities and Actions document identifies a Healthy and Inclusive Community as a top priority.
I am proud to say that every department contributes to the effort to foster health, wellness and sustainability in the interior and exterior of Humber College buildings.
Many students have benefitted from IGNITE’s programs targeting food insecurity, like its work with Feed it Forward and its freezer full of soup for students on campus during the pandemic. In addition, we’ve had incredible speakers tell us about burnout, mental health strategies and stress during the Principal’s Office Wellness Talks at Lakeshore campus.
We are also designing our buildings and upgrades to incorporate nature, light and accessibility. The NX building retrofit, for example, transformed one of the least efficient structures on campus into a sustainability focused, Zero Carbon Building as designated by the Canada Green Building Council.
The Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation, for example, features exterior solar panels, perhaps one of the most visible examples of our sustainability efforts. The panels offset the entire buildings’ energy, producing zero carbon emissions.
The Barrett CTI also showcases an Indigenous Cultural Marker, lit by a wall of windows that helps to bring the outside in.
Let us not forget that sustainability includes responses to climate and culture. We are working towards equity, diversity and inclusion at the College and creating an inclusive, interconnected relationship with each other and the planet.
Humber College students are the leaders of tomorrow, and we’re preparing all students to promote sustainability and to take action in any career they choose. Our Humber Learning Outcomes (HLOs) also include a focus on helping students develop a sustainability mindset.
We've added options for students looking specifically for careers in sustainability, an ever-expanding sector of the Canadian and global workforce.
Humber’s General Arts & Sciences (GAS) pathways programs launched a sustainability stream this month, giving students a chance to build their sustainability and social equity knowledge. In addition, students from every program at Humber have access to a sustainability specialization based on extracurricular engagement, which could earn them a Humber Sustainability Commendation.
To support our efforts to reduce emissions and directly address the climate crisis, the College is planning to release its first Climate Action Plan this fall. The Plan proposes the College can reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
We all have a shared responsibility to ensure our values are reflected in our actions. I urge you to reflect on your interests and skills and look at ways to use them in the fight against climate change. We can only achieve our sustainability goals if we work together. So, let’s do the work now to secure a better future for the College, our community and beyond.