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Earth Day

April 22, 2023

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day is a day that reinforces the need for humanity to adopt a more sustainable way of living before time runs out for our planet. Find out what you can do to help.

Earth Day 2023 at Concordia

Learn about sustainability initiatives that support Earth Day

At Concordia, every day is considered Earth Day. Here are some of the initiatives, programs and projects that run 365 days per year to keep this important movement growing — and in which you can become involved.

Zero Waste Concordia

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Sustainable transportation

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Sustainability Action Plan

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Sustainable Event Guide & Certification

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Sustainable Volunteer Program

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Earth Day at Concordia

The opportunity to celebrate Earth Day at Concordia has always given our community an opportunity to consider our relationship with the planet. From bike tune-ups to food basket giveaways and more, Concordia has demonstrated its committment towards leaving the earth a better place for the generations of tomorrow.

Here's a sample of some past Earth Day celebrations. 

Community Clean-up

In 2021 and 2022, the COVID-19 situation was still restricting what activities we could safely practice indoors. Meanwhile, litter was becoming more and more of an issue as single-use items and procedural masks became the dominant norm.

Zero Waste Concordia, in partnership with the Office of Sustainability, found a way for the community to get together and celebrate planet earth in safety. With durable gloves and other materials supplied, over 50 Concordians got out in 2021 and in 2022 to collect litter from the downtown and Loyola campuses. Over two years, they collected and properly disposed of over:

  • 60 bags of landfill waste
  • 20 bags of recycling waste
  • 400 disposable masks
  • 7000 cigarette butts

CU for change Drawdown Challenge

With COVID-19 making in-person participation impossible, the Office of Sustainability invited all members of the university community to take part in the Drawdown Ecochallenge for Earth Day.

The activity required Concordians to access a free online platform that encourages learning and actions based on the 100 most substantive solutions to the climate crisis. The challenges were compiled by Project Drawdown, a broad coalition of researchers, scientists, graduate students, PhDs, postdoctorates, policy-makers, business leaders and activists from across the globe.

Together, 65 Concordians took many actions whose impacts included over 6 pounds of paper saved, 60 local meals prepared, 10 collective hours spent learning, and 5 donations to the Concordia Food Coalition Emergency Food Basket program for students.

 

Concordians reflect on sustainability under COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis meant major changes in a short amount of time, leading to new impacts on the planet and how we relate to it.

In a special NOW story, Six Concordians shared their thoughts on everything from how the pandemic is changing the face of research to ways you can embrace sustainable practices from home.

Concordia launches a new Office of Sustainability

Until April 2019, institutional efforts at fostering and supporting sustainability were coordinated from within Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). While in many respects this worked well, some community members were not aware of the resource.

The announcement came with the news that the new office’s role would be upholding the university’s Sustainability Policy and promoting best practices in ecological, economic and social sustainability. It would work in close collaboration with all members of the community to develop, coordinate, maintain and enhance sustainability initiatives, strategies and programs.

The launch of the office also led to a redesign of the Sustainability Hub webpages.

4 easy ways to shrink your carbon footprint

In anticipation of Earth Day, Concordia's X EXPLAINED series featured Dr. Damon Matthews, climate researcher in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, explaining what 4 easy steps Concordians could take to reduce their carbon footprint:

  • Step 1: Measure your carbon footprint
  • Step 2: Eat less beef
  • Step 3: Wear more second hand clothing
  • Step 4: Opt for carbon-neutral servers

13 ways to make every day an Earth Day

Environmental Health and Safety's sustainability team offered the community tips on what to do, on and off campus, to be earth-friendly all-year round!

From active transport resources and ways to reduce and reuse, to sustainable office tips and the campus Farmer's Market, there are plenty of ways to keep building more sustainable habits.

Earth Day Bike Tune-Up 

Two days before the global main event, Concordia had an early Earth Day celebration, with a special focus on the benefits of cycling.

From 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., students, staff and general public brought their bikes to the corner of de Maisonneuve and Mackay and learnt about basic maintenance skills with the EHS and Right to Move.

Sustainability Planning and Earth Day Prizes 

Concordia University adopted a Sustainability Policy in December 2016, and we are now bringing this policy to life through the creation of Sustainability Plans that reflect the University's vision for concrete actions towards a sustainable future.

On April 20th, 2017, the Concordia community was invited to give EHS its take on the top sustainability priorities at the University and to get a chance to win one of four $50 gift certificates from Mountain Equipment Coop. Concordians filled out the survey and entered the draw at four locations downtown and at Loyola.

Congratulations to our four winners!

Four great activities for Earth Day 2016!

The EHS Sustainability Team and our volunteers spoke to over 200 Concordians both at the SGW campus and Loyola campus at our tables set up for most of the day in the GM and SP buildings. Many took advantage of the opportunity to participate in some of our biggest projects this year.  

CSA Farmers' Basket Giveaway
2 lucky winners won a summer subscription to one of the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farmer's baskets on campus offered by Food Services. There were 3 locations to participate on both campuses. Over 100 participants were from Loyola and there were 120 entries from SGW. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Lufa Farms (Loyola) and les Jardins de la résistance (SGW) deliver baskets of fresh vegetables every week on both campuses. Feel free to register with them and enjoy fresh veggies all summer!

You can also get fresh, local, organically grown produce every week from the Farmer’s Market at SGW. At Loyola the City Farm School has a market stand starting in June until the fall.

Bike Ride in Honour of Prof. Hugh McQueen
An unforgettable bike advocate on campus and beyond — the late Prof. Hugh McQueen — was celebrated with a community bike ride between the SGW and Loyola campuses. Due to wet weather only a few experienced bikers join us but were warmly met at Loyola by members of the McQueen family. You couldn’t tell by his professional attire but Peter McQueen was all geared up to bike back to the SGW campus however we all spent the remainder of our time reminiscing about Prof. Hugh McQueen and his love of biking.  

Low Waste Office Program
Coming to an office near you! Faisal Shennib, our Environmental Coordinator, was on hand to provide information and answer questions on the new Low Waste Office Program rolling out in the next few months in all major buildings across both campuses.

Over 105 people signed up to be Low Waste Volunteer and received a free mini-bin for signing up. Interested in being the first to get the updates on the program and help spreading the word? Sign up to be a Low Waste Volunteer today!

Staff and Faculty Sustainability Workshops
Information was available on the new upcoming sustainability workshops for Concordia staff and faculty. Concordia employees can register for the Sustainability at Concordia workshop led by Concordia’s Sustainability team at Environmental Health and Safety. The next one is May 11 with a registration deadline on April 27. 

A buzz of activity for Earth Day 2015

On April 22, 2015 over 100 Concordians dropped by the previous Green Space in the Hall Bldg. to learn more about making their daily activities more sustainable right here on campus.

Waste

  • Compost
    In 2008, the university was the first in Quebec to acquire an industrial composter, which has since diverted more than 450 tonnes of organic waste. In 2015 the university was sending its compost waste to its waste management service company.
  • E-waste
    An e-waste drop off campaign was held for Concordians to bring old electronics to be disposed of safely. Concordia community members also learnt where to appropriately dispose of different types of e-waste on campus. Including what goes into the “Electrobac” bins on both campuses (chargers, cables, small electronics and ink cartridges).
  • Coffee cups
    Reusable Concordia coffee cups were given away as the single largest contributor to landfill waste at Concordia is disposable coffee cups — adding sixty tons of waste to landfills each year. But while lids must go in the trash, the cups can now go in the recycling. The best solution, however, is to use a reusable coffee mug!
  • Notebooks
    And as part of Concordia’s ongoing campaign to reduce waste, notebooks made from one-sided paper were available.

Fair Trade
Concordia strives to becoming a Fair Trade Campus, a certification offered to post-secondary institutions by the Canadian Fair Trade Network. On Earth Day, fair trade coffee and bananas were handed out free of charge at the Green Space.

The Concordia Greenhouse was also on hand, selling their ever-popular greens and mushroom-growing kits.

Virtual trip to Gulu, Uganda
The Concordia Volunteer Abroad Program (now called CEED), a developmental organization that emphasizes experiential learning through volunteerism, held a photo exhibition on their work with the Gulu community. It was a great way to learn about fellow students’ experiences volunteering in Africa

Sustainability Survey
Over 50 respondents for the computer-based survey, developed by the Sustainability Team from Environmental Health and Safety, helped the team gather data on how to guide Concordia’s efforts to become a more sustainable institution of higher education.

The 15 yes or no questions, covered such topics as waste management and purchasing policies. 2 lucky respondents won a basket of surprises from Le Frigo Vert, an environmentally conscious food co-operative run by students, or a bicycle built at Right to Move — a non-profit bike shop located behind the Henry F. Hall Building.

Sunflower seedlings giveaway
The David O'Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise (DOCSE) handed out sunflower seedlings on the Sir George Williams Campus on Earth Day.

Concordia University’s proud supporters of Earth Day 2014

In order to promote sustainability, Earth Day 2014 at Concordia focused on disposable coffee cups as a symbol for the bigger endemic problem of overconsumption in our society.

This is especially true considering that coffee cups are the largest single contributor to landfill waste at Concordia University.

The use of disposable one-time items, previously considered as symbol of convenience is now seen as wasting valuable resources that end up in large landfills, of which the economic, social, and environmental negative impacts largely outweigh the convenience aspect.

Many Concordians were happy to show their support by using a non-disposable coffee mug.

2014 Results
This year, Earth Day was celebrated by promoting the use of reusable coffee mugs. We offered free coffee to anyone bringing their reusable mug. For those without one, we offered to buy new Earth Day customized reusable cups.

More than 60 people purchased an Earth Day reusable mug and more than 300 people were reached in a single morning.

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