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Five chances to go green in Guelph

Monday, March 21, 2011

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  • UoG students hoping to reduce their environment impact will have five events to choose from

    UoG students hoping to reduce their environment impact will have five events to choose from

Written by Greg Beneteau

University of Guelph students hoping to reduce their impact on Mother Earth will have numerous opportunities to put ideas into practice, thanks to a bevy of events being organized in the city.

Sustainability Week kicked off this Saturday during College Royal open house with a talk by Jennifer Osborn and Tim Fischer, the farmers behind All Sorts of Acres.

The couple left behind their life in the city to persue organic agriculture and raise farm animals on a 1.18-acre farm just outside of Guelph.

The talk is one of more than 30 events being hosted by campus and community groups throughout the week, according to organizer Paul Wartman.

"We're getting as many different colleges and clubs involved as possible," Wartman said.

In keeping with the theme of this year's Sustainability Week, "Intertwined Roots: Sustainable Communities," Wartman said thar "local experts were behind many of the workshops and activities so that Guelphites would use the knowledge  to benefit their community.

"We're hoping that not only will people learn new skills, but that they will also have connections in sustainable practices that can continue beyond these events," he said.

The involvement more than 30 campus and community groups has greatly expanded the offering of Sustainability Week, with events ranging from workshops on bike repair and community activism to displays on raw food and a panel discussions on changing consumer behaviours for a green planet.

There are also events around water in recogntion of World Water Day, which takes place on March 22.

Operating parallel to Sustainability Week, organizers of Transition Guelph are hosting events throughout the city leading up to the first ever Resilience Festival, a weekend-long gathering that encourages community-level engagement on climate change.

In May 2009, Guelph was the second Canadian city after Peterborough to sign onto the Transition Town initiative, pledging to build a sustainable community and reduce community depedence on fossil fuels.

“We’re all environmentalists here, but Transition Guelph is not that,” Chris Mills, one of Transition Guelph’s founders, told the Guelph Mercury. “We’re really about the social issues.”

The Resilience Festival kicks off on Friday at Rozanski Hall with a keynote address by author and environmental activist Chris Turner and Wayne Roberts, a former manager of the Toronto Food Policy Council.

The University of Guelph is also participating in No Impact Week, an event in which students pledge to change their consumption behaviours for seven days in order to reduce their carbon footprint.

More than 30,000 university students from ten post-secondary institutions throughout North America are expected to take part in the inaugural event. The event mirrors the lifestyle found in the No impact Project founded by Colin Beavin, aka No Impact Man, the subject of a Sundance-selected film about his attempt to live a zero-waste lifestyle in New York City.

And, if that weren't enough, the World Wildlife Federation's turn-off-the-lights campaign known as Earth Hour takes places on Saturday between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m..

The Resilience Festival is hosting an Earth Hour Candlelight Potluck dinner, from 6 to 9 p.m. at St. George’s Anglican Church to mark the occasion.

Earth Hour has been criticized in the past for being a one-shot deal, a focus which Wartman said misses the point.

"I see Earth Hour as a time you can gather with your family and your community to see how you can enjoy your life without being plugged in," he said.

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  1. Posted by: GavinA on Mar 21, 2011 @ 1:52pm

    Be sure to check out the No Impact week launch event tonight at 530 at PJs (North campus)!! Free local food will be provided!

  2. Posted by: on Mar 26, 2011 @ 12:10pm

    Don't forget about the big final University of Guelph programme Move Out Madness that takes place all month April. Move-Out Madness is a program that creates and promotes environmental and social sustainability by operating a variety of services during the end of the school year. It is designed to help University of Guelph students get rid of extra food, clothing, household, and bulk items they don't need as they move out of residence, town, or into another house.

    Since its beginning in 2006, Move-Out Madness continues to be an initiative of Off Campus Living, a division of Student Life at the University of Guelph. Many organizations, such as the City of Guelph, collaborate to guarantee the success and growth of the program in order to have a cleaner and more sustainable neighbourhood, city, and environment.

    Check out full details and involvement opportunities @ www.uoguelph.ca/~moveout (or email [email protected])

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