Let’s Talk Sustainability!
Our vision for Canada is a society in which youth and adults alike are more aware of environmental issues, and motivated to make changes to live more sustainably.
A wide range of issues were addressed by the project, according to students’ own interests and passions. Some topics included:
Be Green When You Clean – how to make your own chemical-free cleaning products;
Mercury: Not Just a Planet – protecting our air and water from mercury contamination;
That Sinking Feeling – new ideas for sequestering carbon emissions;
Toxic Beauty – the chemicals in your cosmetics and safer alternatives;
A Single Use that Lasts a Lifetime – moving toward a ban on single use plastics;
Food Waste: Not Just Table Scraps – how to reduce food waste from ground to table;
Keep the Greenbelt Green – advocating for the protection of Ontario’s Greenbelt;
Too Fast for Fashion – the environmental impact of the fashion industry and how to cut down on textile waste;
The Heat is On – green roofs and their potential to reduce the urban heat island effect.
As the City of Orillia begins to discuss and address sustainability through a newly formed Mayor’s Task Force, we wish to provide our input to the education sector committee by offering our perspective on the issues we see as important.
Each student in the class (22) identified a topic of importance. We then conducted research on our topics, and developed a poster board presentation aimed at two target audiences:
(1) students and classmates
(2) teachers and adult community members
We hosted a poster fair at the school on May 14 and invited students, teachers and members of the community to attend. More than 150 people attended our event.
As youth involved in organizing this project, were were given the responsibility of developing our topics, organizing the event, and recruiting people to attend.
Reflection & Celebration
Challenges – it was a challenge to understand some of the topics, and make them relevant to our target audiences so that they would be motivated to act! We refined our project topics and ideas many times throughout the semester.
Successes – we were so nervous (and scared) to present our information to our peers, teachers and community members. But once we started talking about sustainability, we were amazed at how receptive people were to our ideas. We made many valuable connections with people in our school and in our community. It was also great to see adults learning from US.
This project will become an annual event at our school. Next time we hope to align it event more with the Sustainable Orillia initiative in terms of theme and timing.