Friday, May 19, 2006

Constrasting My 87-year Old Inspiration...

I was speaking with a salesman for the insurance company I work for, and he was telling me about his 9-year old grandson who, it seems, was receiving some kind of award from Unicef as a result of fundraising done for them. I thought it would be nice follow-up to the previous story, but so far grandpa has failed to deliver on his promise of a link to his grandson's website.

In the meantime, I came across a story about Upper Canada College and their own accomplishments. The most impressive thing for me is that they could get that many people on board.

Students and staff at Upper Canada College know the grass is greener on the side of environmental awareness.

The Toronto Green Awards were held at City Hall at the beginning of the month, and UCC was one of the big winners, receiving an award for water efficiency.

In the past few years, UCC has managed to considerably reduce its use of water in several ways. Some of those ways include cutting the time students spend in campus showers, switching to waterless urinals, using taps that use a low flow of water, and adjusting the irrigation system according to the weather and soil moisture.

Stephanie Foster, the executive director of UCC’s Centre for Environment and Sustainability, said to date, UCC has reduced water use by more than 40 per cent. As a result the school has minimized its overall impact on the municipal water system.

Foster said she is very happy that UCC is part of Toronto’s effort to be "green". She hopes others will follow the boys’ school example of doing what they can to help the environment.

"One of our goals is to learn by living it," she said of providing students with the skills to improve the delicate state of the environment. "By raising environmental awareness at school, we hope they (the students) take it home and make a difference" she said.

UCC currently has two green clubs—one for younger students and one for the older ones, to get involved with environmental efforts.

Adam Jutha, a grade 10 student at UCC and a leader in the green school committee, said he felt honoured to receive a green award from the city.

"The green school really made me more aware of what the environment is all about and what we can do to help," he said. Jutha said he shares what he learns as a green school committee leader with friends and family in hopes of promoting environmental awareness. As a result of his involvement with green initiatives at UCC, his home is now lit by energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs.

As part of a commitment to becoming a "Green school for the 21st century" the school is also doing its part to conserve energy and reduce waste. Students and staff use a garbage system that maximizes recycling and minimizes waste, and residence buildings on campus are powered by Bullfrog Power, a company that uses clean, renewable power to source electricity. Bullfrog Power was also a winner at the awards ceremony hosted by Mayor David Miller and Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, receiving an award for market transformation. Other winners include the Toronto Botanical Gardens for green design, the Brahms Energy Saving Team for community projects, and the Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers’ Market for health.

The green award winners each received $5000 to go towards the environmental organization of their choice. Staff and students at UCC haven’t yet made a final decision about where they will donate the prize money, but Foster said it will most likely be invested in a water-related group.

UCC will choose the recipient of the prize money this month.

No comments: