The ever-growing pressure of climate change is a burden to be shared on all fronts. It’s becoming an issue that governments and corporations are expected to confront. It’s also a growing responsibility on average citizens—to drive less, cut consumption, reuse materials, respect green spaces, raise awareness, and more—whose collective actions lead to an impact greater than the sum of its parts. At Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute, this form of environmental activism has become a passion for many members of the EcoTeam.
MGCI EcoTeam seeks to promote eco-literacy and an environment-friendly culture within the school and community. Beginning from the start of the year, EcoTeam started hosting in-person meetings every Wednesday lunch in room 227.
During these meetings, students share their passion for the environment in many facets, from showing each other cool videos to engaging in discussions about eco-related events around the world. For example, a recent topic has been the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), an annual international summit hosted near the end of the year to address climate policies.
“I love learning about the environment and everything that nature has for us to learn about. […] A lot of these issues we talk about are directly going to impact my generation,” said Bailey Min, the club’s events manager.
EcoTeam also organizes a variety of initiatives which spark interest in preserving the environment. In October, the club launched a poster design contest centered around electronic waste. Through November, the club has planned a trip to the “Change Your World” conference, which took place at York University on 7 December. These initiatives are aimed at inspiring students to learn more about the environment and to take action.
When asked about the importance of eco-literacy, President Saivenkat Jillia said, “With our society’s current state, we can’t expect the Earth to fix itself. I know that by influencing others to take care of the environment, I can play my part in slowing down climate change.”
In addition to raising awareness, EcoTeam plays its part by encouraging environment-friendly practices within the school, such as reducing energy consumption, recycling, reducing waste, and more. Over the past few years, the club’s efforts have maintained a Platinum rating (the highest rank) from EcoSchools, a certification organization that determines how eco-friendly a school is through the quality and quantity of its eco-actions.
For some members, this down-to-earth nature of the club is why they decided to join. “I hear a lot about large global problems and things that need to be changed on the world scale, but learning about how to help your community and world as a student is really interesting,“ said Grade 9 student Veronica Davey-Young.
However, the club has no plans to stop there. “We hope to also focus on implementing changes in the school and beyond! For example, we could make E-waste bins more accessible or create a community-involved system for garbage cleanup,” said Vice President Sophie Yee.
When asked about future visions for the club, Saivenkat said, “My long-term goals for the club would be more membership and more fun events, like more guest speakers, movie nights, and perhaps even bringing back The Trashion Show.”
The Trashion Show was a competition hosted by EcoTeam prior to the pandemic to encourage sustainability by seeing who can make the best clothes using trash.
Whether it be for one of these initiatives or wanting to make a difference for the environment, students are encouraged to attend EcoTeam’s Wednesday lunch meetings.