Learning about climate action and sustainable living
September 30, 2020
While the COVID-19 pandemic has made most university operations remote, Queen’s commitment to sustainability is as strong as ever. And from Oct. 6 -8, the whole university community will have a chance to engage in Sustainable Days, a series of virtual events to inspire green living and climate action.
“There are so many simple changes people can adopt in their daily lives to make their carbon footprints smaller. Sustainable Days highlights a number of ways we can all make more environmentally friendly choices, and each year it helps build a culture of sustainability at Queen’s,” says Nathan Splinter, Manager, Energy and Sustainability.
With many people leaving the house less due to COVID-19, Sustainable Days will feature many workshops about green things you can do at home. There are sessions on sustainable cooking, at-home composting, seed harvesting, and DIY terrariums, among other topics.
Other sessions focus on engaging with the green community at Queen’s and in Kingston more broadly. Queen’s is partnering with Sustainable Kingston to hold an online game of Sustainability Bingo to teach lessons about the environment while connecting people remotely. There is also a session on places to hike this fall to encourage people to enjoy nature in the Kingston area.
Sustainable Days this year is dedicated to the memory of Aaron Ball, the first sustainability manager at Queen’s and the founder of the university’s annual celebration of sustainability. A sugar maple will be planted at the community garden during the week in honour of Ball.
Typically, the sustainability week events occur over five days, but this year’s program has been moved fully online and shortened to three days.
See the full schedule of events on the Sustainable Days website.
New sustainable initiatives on campus
One of the goals of Sustainable Days is to connect the Queen’s community with the sustainability resources that exist at the university. And this list of resources is expanding all the time.
Recently, Queen’s has begun work to expand the number of secure bike storage facilities on campus from one to three. Currently, there is one facility in the courtyard of Mackintosh-Corry Hall. The new storage facilities will be located near Chernoff Hall and Botterell Hall. They will make it easier for students, faculty, and staff to bike to campus when it is safe to resume normal operations.
The Alternative Transportation Working Group (ATWG) is also finding ways to promote sustainable commuting options. It’s a sub-working group of the university’s Sustainability Working Group, and it will soon release a survey to learn about the commuting habits of the Queen’s community as well as its attitudes toward alternative modes of transportation. The results of this survey will inform their work going forward.
The Sustainable Living Series launched in May to keep the Queen’s community engaged in sustainability while most worked or studied remotely. The first installment in the series taught participants about sustainable approaches to food, and the series turned to gardening for its next topic. In future months, there will be sessions on bicycle safety and repair, home energy, and the holidays.
All of these initiatives are part of the Queen’s Climate Action Plan, in which the university sets a goal to become carbon neutral by 2040. Read the latest carbon footprint report to learn more about the university’s progress on sustainability.
These initiatives align with and show Queen's commitment to pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Learn more about the university’s initiatives on the Sustainable Queen’s website.