Western wins award for environmental excellence Purple Pride turned a bit ‘green’ as Western was named among only nine recipients of the Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence, Launched on World Water Day in 2011, the award recognizes local environmental and sustainable achievement, leadership and innovation, honouring individuals and organizations working to enhance and protect the environment. Since its inception, the program has recognized the environmental achievements of 40 organizations. Story continued on page 2
Presenting and receiving the award were, from left, Arthur Potts, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Dan Larkin, Western controls systems specialist; Mary Quintana, compliance, energy and water project coordinator; and Glen Murray (MOE).
Western looks to the STARS and strikes gold The Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) recently awarded Western a Gold rating for its sustainability on campus. The university is one of four in Canada with a Gold rating under STARS 2.0, the most recent version of the system. Simon Fraser and Victoria join Western on the podium with the rating.
The achievement is a welcome improvement from Western’s Silver ranking in 2011. “I’m very happy, actually. It was a goal of mine for Western to achieve STARS gold,” said Beverley Ayeni, Facilities Management energy and environment manager. Story continued on page 8
If you have an article idea for this newsletter, or for more information, please contact Beverley Ayeni, Energy and Environment Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Sustainability Website at sustainability.uwo.ca. p. 1
Western’s environmental excellence Continued from page 1 “We are honoured to be chosen as a recipient of the award,” said Beverley Ayeni, Western’s energy and environment manager. “It means a lot to a lot of people to have their work recognized at this level. As a university, we’re doing some exciting things in this area. This kind of encouragement only further proves we are going in the right direction as an organization.” Western was the only university recognized with the award. “Today, we celebrate just a few of the most outstanding efforts of individuals, groups and companies in protecting our environment,” said Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate
Change. “We hope the examples we see today inspire others to be innovators in protecting our natural heritage; not only because it’s good for the environment, but because innovation helps build a strong economy and create new jobs.” Western was honoured for its Energy Dashboard project. The website – found at energy. uwo.ca – is accessible to anyone on or off campus, and allows users to view campus-wide electricity demand in real-time, including a building-by-building breakdown. Facilities Management staff has also started expand the dashboard to include real-time water and steam consumption information.
in a number of ways, revealing consumption for the day, week, month or year, and can be compared with previous data to identify increases or decreases in consumption habits. The online tool has been instrumental in improving energy conservation at Western. While campus buildings and residences continue to reduce energy consumption, Facilities Management identified the energy dashboard as a major contributor to the 4.3 per cent decrease in greenhouse gas production on campus from 2011 to 2012. “This innovative and highly interactive tool is the result of hard work on behalf of our great team,”
Dashboard data can be sorted
Western’s Energy Dashboard, the online tool that won the Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence from the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. It can be found at http://energy.uwo.ca p. 2
Farmers’ market sprouting health, community Western’s Farmers’ Market, now in its third year, has transformed the campus community in a number of ways since a handful of local vendors first set up shop across from the Social Sciences Centre, said Gord Robinson, unit manager at Saugeen Maitland Hall. “Farmers’ markets are starting up all over. With Western being such a big place, and with so many different people here, we thought it was a great place to start something like that. We started off pretty small, with three or four vendors. And it just blossomed from there and it’s only grown bigger,” said Robinson, who has been the go-to guy on campus when it comes to the market initiative. “I wasn’t really engaged in the beginning. I thought I’d try it out. But now I see how much it’s changed campus and what I’ve done,” he continued. “Now, I’m shopping local. I have three children and I’m looking to the future – you really see how much you can change the environment by buying local.” As it stands, there are roughly 15 different vendors on the roster now, and while not all are on campus every week, they all offer something different when they do stop by. Western doesn’t charge the farmers to set up produce stands, although Hospitality Services has a few stipulations for vendors who want to participate – they must be local and they have to be involved first-hand in the growing and production of their products. “We’re looking for natural, organic stuff and want people that are engaged with the food and have first-hand knowledge. And they have to be within 100 miles. The average food in the grocery store comes
from 2,000 miles and, a lot of the time, the produce they bring in is not ripe,” Robinson explained. “They have to have a strong commitment to customers; they have to be engaged with customers and what they’re selling. The passion has to be there.” And these folks are certainly engaged with the campus community, he continued. Students have said they enjoy talking with the vendors, as well as learning about farming practices and produce. Some of the vendors even pick specifically for members of the campus community now, bringing a more personalized haul when they come. The vendors’ presence near the art gallery has likewise changed the campus atmosphere on Tuesdays. “They’ve brought to campus that knowledge base. And now with the community involvement, we have a community meeting place. You see a lot of people coming out to have lunch on the beautiful green space around the market and they’re just hanging out. That’s an amazing thing. We’re all in different places around campus, everybody is busy, but you know you have that Tuesday.” Some of the vendors were once members of the Western community, added Janet Smith, marketing manager for Hospitality Services. One man, who worked at Centre Spot, retired and has since purchased an acre of land, farming and growing his own produce, and still feeding the campus community, she said. But one vendor in particular stands out for her.
Western, Smith said. He had a really hard time sustaining himself while studying and was, at one point, seriously ill because he wasn’t eating well. “He came and spoke to us at a meeting and told his story. You take for granted that we can all get healthy and nutritious food. He was getting by, not necessarily making the right choices,” she said. The campus community loves the availability of fresh local produce on campus and excitement for the market has grown on both sides, Smith said. “Vendors are amazed at the enthusiasm of students and how they want to learn, talk to them, where they’re from, their process. It makes them feel great to have that place to talk to students as well,” she said. “This is something big we believe in. It’s about providing the service and the option, but also making sure they are eating healthy.”
That vendor, Planting Seeds, is run by Kyle Hutcheson, a student at p. 3
Environmental Events Calendar (March - April 2015) March International Forests Saturday, March 21
on water. Now it is more focused on awareness for sustainable water resource management world-wide with the UN being one of its biggest promoters. To be more water friendly try some of the tips for World Wetland Day, or switch to low flow faucets and toilets. For more information see: http:// www.unwater.org/worldwaterday and http://www.greeningtheblue. org/event/world-water-day-22ndmarch-2011-0 Earth Hour – Saturday, March 28 at 8:30 pm local time
This day originated in 2013 for the purpose of raising awareness of sustainable forest management for current and future generations but also to celebrate trees outside of forests. Forests cover over 1/3 of the earth’s landmass which perform vital services that over 1.6 billion people in over 2,000 cultures rely on for economics as well. Forests provide most of the world’s biodiversity with home to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. Forests provide shelter and jobs in forest dependent communities as well as being a primary source of oxygen and protection of freshwater. Despite all of these benefits, deforestation rates are still high with 13 million hectares of forest destroyed annually, and 12 to 20% of GHGs contributing to climate change.
Earth Day – Wednesday, April 22
For more information see: http:// www.un.org/en/events/forestsday/
Earth Hour began in 2007 in Australia by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and is now celebrated by over 7000 municipalities in 162 countries and territories. This event takes place on the last Saturday of every March between 8:30 and 9:30 pm locally. It is the largest environmental awareness campaign ever with the focus being to power off for one hour to address climate change. It is also very reliant on social media with over 70 million digital interactions, 1.2 billion tweets, and 4 million digital direct interactions, and raised over $60,000 just last year. One hour can make a big difference.
International World Sunday, March 22
For More Information http://www.earthhour.org/
International World Water Day originated in 1993 by the United Nations as an international day to celebrate the world’s freshwater to meet the needs for access to, allocation of, and services depending
2nd. Each year, staff, faculty, and students are encouraged to clean up various areas across campus to help clear away the litter that appears as the snow retreats. Everyone is encouraged to get involved in Western’s Annual Campus Clean Up. Three clean-up times will be held throughout the day at 10:30am, 11:30am and 12:30pm. There will be a free BBQ lunch after each clean up and many prizes are available to be won.. If interested in participating, please email sustainability@uwo. ca indicating which time slot works best for you.
April – Earth Month! Campus Clean Up Day - Thursday, April 2nd - SIGN UP NOW! Western’s annual Campus Clean Up will be held on Thursday, April
Earth Day is celebrated globally every April 22. In Canada, over 6 million people including all schoolaged children participate in Earth Day themed activities. Earthday Canada partners with over hundreds of organizations to keep Canadians participating, since 1990. This year marks Earth Day’s 45th anniversary, which could lead to a balance between economic growth and sustainability, a climate change treaty and other tough environmental issues. For more information visit: http:// www.earthday.ca/ and http://www. earthday.org/ p. 4
Focusing on Western’s ‘people project’ Toss a pop can in the recycling bin just outside the D. B. Weldon Library. Break down a cardboard in your office kitchen. Throw an apple core in the organic bin in residence. The job of recycling is done, right? Far from it, says Jim Galbraith, Western’s manager of Landscape Services & Waste Management. “Things are just getting started at this point,” he said. “And it repeats itself every day. Recycling is so much work.” Thanks to those efforts, however, Western diverted more than 50 per cent of its waste from landfill in 2013, one of the highest rates in the country, when compared to other higher education institutions. Here is just a sampling of what Galbraith’s team has done with recycling more than 1,600 tonnes of waste on Western’s campus: • • • • • • • • • •
Clear glass – 98 tonnes Paper – 262 tonnes Cardboard – 253 tonnes Scrap metal – 50 tonnes Cans – 12 tonnes E-recycle – 30 tonnes Mixed plastic – 54 tonnes Concrete/Asphalt – 118 tonnes Compost (Food Services) – 206 tonnes Compost (Grounds) – 234 tonnes
“Diversion from landfill to recycling is a ‘people project,’” Galbraith said. “It’s a labour of love and an appreciation of the environment. If you want to help, just do it.” Recycling is, in no way, a moneymaker, but rather an environmental necessity. Garbage cleanup and recycling cost the university more than $2 million each year, “just to clean up after everyone,” with Western receiving some, but not
Western’s recycling program is operated by Facilities Management
much, financial return for their recycling efforts from the City of London and other recycling partners. “There are 40,000 people here on campus and, just imagine, if everyone dropped a piece of garbage each day. Imagine that mess,” said Galbraith, who, each day, has a fulltime worker on a Madvac sweeper, two emptying recycling containers and 13 others keeping campus spotless – adding up to 25 per cent of his staff. “London’s landfill will eventually run out of space, so every time we send along unnecessary garbage – garbage that should be recycled – we’re moving that day even closer, which is what we are wanting to avoid,” Galbraith said. But getting everyone on board for recycling is difficult. Galbraith said some simply don’t care, but there are also those, such as international students and
Western’s large contingent from the Greater Toronto Area, whose recycling programs are different at home than they are on campus, so there may be some initial confusion. Education is key in that sense, Galbraith said, with recycling programs in every building on campus, including postings of what is, and isn’t, recyclable, and the proper bins to be used. The campus community is also encouraged to check out sustainability.uwo. ca, where they’ll find all recycling information, including the fact, as of last month, Western is recycling coffee cups. “It is hard to have everyone compliant with recycling, but we’re doing well,” Galbraith said. “We’re passing, but I don’t think we’re getting honours. It’s very easy to just leave everything at Western – out of sight out of mind. There is still, and always will be, work to do when it comes to recycling.” Story continues on page 7 p. 5
Sharing his frustration around the changing climate for science It’s probably an understatement to say Gordon McBean is frustrated. The Western Geography professor, a scientific leader on climate change, disaster risk reduction and environmental issues, is tired of being on the defensive. Internationally recognized for decades of renowned research and policy work in the field, McBean has faced challenges where one might least expect them – on the home front. “Recent years, since the beginning of the Harper government, have been very frustrating. One of the big hurdles has been the unwillingness of the government to even to talk to scientists like me, to take action on climate change,” said McBean, chair in Policy Studies for the Institute of Catastrophic Loss Reduction and co-director of the Centre for Environment and Sustainability at Western. “The only minister of environment who would ever meet with me was Jim Prentice. And one of them told the CBC, as far as they were concerned, I didn’t exist,” he added. In 2007, McBean shared in the Nobel Peace Prize as a lead author and review editor for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Last month, he assumed the role of president of the International Council for Science at the conclusion of the organization’s General Assembly. He is only the second Canadian to take up this office. In his inaugural address, McBean said he was “proud of the role the council has played, and will continue to play, in planning, coordinating and ‘making happen’ global scale
Gordon McBean wants to shake-off the ‘Colossal Fossil’ reputation Canada has earned over the years.
research for the benefits for all societies.” He emphasized the council “will continue to provide societies and governments with policy relevant science that can and should form the basis policy making.” But the biggest challenge, McBean stressed, might be keeping the focus at home. As issues pertaining to climate change and the environment increase in urgency, McBean is watching them erode from the public’s concern at home. He remembers three times, none of them recent, when environmental issues were top of mind for Canadians, with the longest period lasting from roughly 1988-90. “If you polled a Canadian on the street and asked what would be the most important issue (at the time), they would say the environment. The ozone layer was a big issue, climate change was a big issue, but it petered out,” he explained.
Those were the days of strong government participation, McBean explained. The government was interested in issues pertaining to the environment. “Canada is seen to be the worst performer on climate change in the world now. We repeatedly get what is called the ‘Colossal Fossil’ award, from a consortium of environmental groups, asking, ‘Which country did the most to make sure nothing happened today?’ Canada has won (the award) five years in a row,” he continued. McBean, who started his career as a government scientist with Environment Canada, is widely recognized for his international leadership, serving on a number of climate committees, including chairing the boards of the Canadian Climate Forum and the Ontario Climate Consortium. Story continues on page 7
McBean’s fight with Climate Change Continued from page 6 His work and input are highly valued and have been sought from Kyoto to Leningrad. His awards are extensive and include the Orders of Canada and Ontario. But all this doesn’t quite prove to be enough for climate change deniers, including some who reside on Western’s campus. Deniers who call themselves ‘experts’ on climate change often make false claims of expertise, McBean said, ones easily debunked by simple research. Often with no credentials or publications to their name, some deniers hurl accusations at him, attempting to discredit his work or claim his motives are to mislead the
government, he noted. “We must check to see if these people have any academic credentials in climate change,” McBean said, adding only solid science will hold up at the end of the day. “It’s very frustrating, but there are skeptics who are well-funded, who put up things on websites and create names for themselves.” “There’s an essential need for us to take action on climate change,” he continued. “Why do anything when nothing will happen between now and next election? Because you have children and grandchildren, like I do. There is a large movement of
activity leading up to 2015. It will be the most important year in recent times on issues that do with the environment.” With a series of meetings and panels on the agenda around the world, McBean is calling supporters to take a stand and do something. “It’s the year in which we either make a difference or we’ve lost another opportunity. I think it’s important to Canadians, and Canada, to move in a positive way and make sure things are based on good science. We shouldn’t have agreements on sustainable development that are not based on sound science.” Article from Western News By Aldea Talbot.
Western’s people project Continued from page 5 And the most effective part of the recycling operation? “Our people are the ones who make or break the program. Facilities team members can pick things up, but if it’s in the wrong container, or in the garbage bin instead, we may not have time to move or sort it, and it fails,” he said. “We can do better on recycling. Nobody is perfect, we know that, but there are hundreds of bins across campus – outside and inside. We’re at the point on campus where you can’t go 50 feet, or so, without the opportunity to recycle. “But it’s only successful if we’re all in.” While attaining more than 50 per cent recycling of all waste material is great, a larger goal looms ahead, Galbraith said. Western hopes to become a zero waste campus (meaning 90 per cent or greater diverted from landfill) by 2022.
Students participate in a recycling sorting game hosted by EnviroWestern.
Is that an attainable goal? Westminster Hall’s achievement of zero waste status already is a testament to the commitment to reduce unnecessary waste on campus and acts as a model for the entire campus, Galbraith said. “It’s all about taking responsibility with what you have, what you buy,
and then how you take dispose of it,” he said. “It will be hard, but there is no excuse not to recycle. “If everyone did, it would be amazing.” Story from Western News by Paul Mayne. p. 7
Story continued from Page 1 “I knew we could definitely get to Silver, but becoming a Goldrated institution was a welcomed accomplishment and a testament to the great sustainability work being done on campus.” In 2011, Western scored 52 per cent of the required credits in the rating system, earning Silver. Every three years, organizations can submit a report to STARS. Western’s 2014 submission received 67 per cent of credits, narrowly entering into a Gold rating, which called for 65 per cent. Ayeni said the university’s 15-point improvement comes from collaboration by faculties and units from across campus, as well as getting more students involved. She cited the Green Campus Series, a green education program that provides students with knowledge and experience using the campus as a living case study.
Four modules offer students a unique exposure to the university’s environmental sustainability initiatives. Students attain practical knowledge on topics including green buildings, energy and water efficiency, habitat protection, and responsible landscape management practices through a presentation and corresponding campus tour. With more collaboration and understanding of STARS, keeping a sustainable environment on campus has become a universitywide initiative. One of Western’s sustainability goals is to decrease its main campus direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions based on its 2009 levels. In its 2011 STARS submission, Western’s GHG levels had not decreased in the previous five years, but instead had increased by 13 per cent. In its submission,
most recent Western has
discussions on the Challenges in Sustainability on the buzzword “Multi-Disciplinary”. More information to be announced.
Refill to Win February 23 - March 27
Thursday April 9, 2015
Friday March 6, 2015 Challenges in Sustainability: Conclusion (Part Four) *Registration Required (Ivey Building) The fourth and last of the Multi-Disciplinary Expert Panel
A Gold rating may seem like Western can’t aim any higher, but even at the top, there is still more room for improvement. Ayeni cited sustainable investments and integrating sustainability into the curriculum as potential areas of improvement. “STARS is a very extensive survey, and there are still many credits left to achieve. We look forward to improving our sustainability efforts year over year, and submitting another comprehensive application in 2017,” Ayeni said. Story written by Liz McGinley
Happening at Western EnviroWestern rewards people for refilling reusable mugs as sustainable alternative to Tim Horton’s Roll Up The Rim To Win. Available at all non-Tim Horton’s eateries where hot beverages are served. Fill up your reusable mug, receive a ballot and be entered to win a variety of prizes, including coffee, water bottles, gift certificates and one of the special grand prizes.
improved, reducing its emissions by almost 12 per cent despite significant infrastructure growth on campus, earning more credits with STARS.
Earth Day Colloquium: Research Showcase Join students, faculty and community members at the 12thannual Earth Day Colloquium in the Physics and Astronomy Building on April 9. This event aims to combine research and knowledge from multiple disciplines across campus and provide the opportunity for collaboration and discussion about topics related to the environment and sustainability.
Environment and Sustainability Program celebrate the conclusion of their Interdisciplinary Consulting Project course. Each consulting team presents their recommendations to their clients and members of the community at the IDEAs Conference on April 15. For more information on these events please see: http://www.uwo. ca/enviro/about_us/events/index. html and http://www.ivey.uwo. ca/sustainability/sustainabilityacross-campus/#C
Wednesday April 15, 2015 InterDisciplinary Environmental Actions for Sustainability Conference Students
in p. 8
Western’s Green Awards Do you know a student, team or faculty member who demonstrates “green” or sustainability initiatives? Nominate them for Western’s Green Awards. The Western Green Awards recognize an individual or team who initiate or support an activity with positive environmental outcomes; encourage participation and involvement; work together with others, groups and organizations to meet their goal; or demonstrate an environmentally friendly effort/ campaign.
The purpose of the award is to help raise awareness of sustainability at Western University through the acknowledgement of community members (student, faculty, and staff ) who have made positive contributions. ”As sustainability continues to strengthen as a priority in Western’s strategic planning, it’s great to see the members of our campus community getting engaged and contributing to our shared vision,” says Gitta Kulczyki, Vice President (Resources and Operations). “The
Green Awards help perpetuate the grassroots and self-initiated programs that keep Western at the forefront of sustainable engagement. “(Western Green Awards) are unique as they are one of the only awards on campus to acknowledge students, staff and faculty alike.” For nomination forms and to see previous winners, please visit: http://sustainability.uwo.ca/green_ awards/index.html
Kn w? Sustainability Tips, Tricks & Facts
Campus meals become Green EnviroWestern has been growing herbs in their GROW greenhouse gardens on campus. Now, through a partnership with Hospitality Services, these herbs will go from the greenhouse to the on-campus kitchens to be used in daily meal preparation. This is a great opportunity for Hospitality Services to use a service initiated by students for students.
Western wins Minister’s Award Western was chosen as one of nine recipients of the Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence. Western was recognized for its online Energy Dashboard (energy.uwo.ca). The dashboard is an interactive tool, allowing users to view real-time energy demands in each building on campus. Facilities Management (FM) continues to expand the dashboard, currently adding real-time water and steam consumption information. The dashboard data is sortable, allowing users to view consumption for the day, week, month or year, and lends itself to trending with comparable historic data. Being able to monitor consumption has been instrumental in Western meeting its conservation goals. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change have made climate change a priority and sees Western’s Energy Dashboard as a key “solution we need for fighting climate change and protecting the environment” –Glen Murray (MPP).
Recycling just got better There is warranted excitement around the inclusion of coffee cups and lids in our recycling stream. These items can be added to the ‘Containers’ blue bin. However, the good news doesn’t end there; the ‘Containers’ blue bin is also accepting a wider array of plastics. Previous service providers only collected a few select types of plastic. Western now accepts plastics that are labeled 1 - 7. The community is encouraged to check the bottom of containers and other plastic materials to determine the plastic type. Plastic wrap and plastic bags, for example, are not included and are landfill.