Go Beyond is a youth-led program designed to engage students to make carbon smart lifestyles - photo by Matthew Carroll
UBC Reports | Vol. 54 | No. 10 | Oct. 2, 2008
Going Above and Beyond for the Environment
By Basil Waugh
Earlier this year, UBC and four other B.C. universities signed Canada’s first Climate Change Statement of Action, committing to a leadership role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
UBC, as part of this commitment, is launching two climate action initiatives this month: the UBC Climate Action Symposium on Oct. 2, a day of dialogue and learning on UBC research and activities around climate change, and Go Beyond, a youth-led program designed to engage students to make carbon smart lifestyle choices.
“It is important, as institutions of higher learning and research, that we lead by example in addressing the challenges of climate change,” says UBC President Stephen Toope, who will kick off the symposium with a keynote on sustainability and leadership. “Our actions will also help Premier Campbell achieve the ambitious targets he has set for the Province.”
The symposium will update the campus community on UBC’s climate action planning and provide opportunities for dialogue around targets and strategies for reducing campus emissions. It will also showcase UBC’s leadership in climate change research, climate solutions, policy contributions and campus sustainability.
The symposium will feature a number of leading climate change and sustainability experts at UBC, including: geographer Simon Donner, who is researching how coral reefs can inform climate policy; soil scientist Andrew Black, who researches forest-based carbon sequestering; engineer Naoko Ellis, who is exploring biofuels, and utilities director Dave Woodson, who is exploring how to heat UBC with clean energy.
The second initiative is student engagement program Go Beyond, which is being piloted at UBC, University of Victoria and Thomson Rivers University before it expands to other B.C. institutions in 2009. Funded by the B.C. government and B.C. Hydro, the program will engage students through lectures, workshops, presentations and challenges to take climate action -- as individuals, on campus and in their community.
“Students are integral to shaping a sustainable future, and UBC is extremely pleased to support campus leaders through Go Beyond,” said Charlene Easton, Director of Sustainability at UBC. “This project will provide students with the knowledge, the resources, and most importantly, the ways to meaningfully engage and take action on the climate agenda.”
Students can sign up for the program at www.campusclimatenetwork.org/wiki, which offers students training and tools to reduce their emissions and to encourage their peers and schools to do the same. It also provides a forum to share best climate action practices across institutions. Participants will be emailed regular challenges related to energy and water conservation and food security.
For more information on UBC’s integrated climate action plan, visit www.sustain.ubc.ca/climate.html.