YORK UNIVERSITY — Sustainability is a huge topic. Whether it’s on a global or personal level, being socially and environmentally conscious is something that is top of mind for many, including leaders at York University. Former Toronto City Councilor Mike Layton, who recently joined York as its first Chief Sustainability Officer, shared with The Brandon Gonez Show that the university is always looking for new ways to be more sustainable. That includes looking at how they get rid of waste, consume energy, and transport students. But the university also wants to encourage people to incorporate more sustainable living practices into their daily activities.
York has put together a series of free digital microlectures dedicated to sustainable living! The online course launched earlier this month and is open to everyone. By participating in this program anyone can learn from six of York’s experts before being encouraged to make changes to their day-to-day life, with a focus on becoming more sustainable.
“At York, we recognize the importance of convening people and ideas for meaningful action, and this Microlecture Series in Sustainable Living is an example of that in practice,” York University President and Vice Chancellor Rhonda Lenton said in a statement.
The microlecture series will cover topics pertaining to sustainable living, such as:
- How microplastics journey through and impact our ecosystems
- The relationship between energy and economic growth
- Why the most vulnerable amongst us often face the highest flooding risks
- The difference between a hazard and a disaster in context of emergency management
- How colonialism has impacted the way disasters impact Indigenous communities
- Why our lakes are rapidly warming
Once they have completed the series and committed to integrating what they’ve learned into their day-to-day activities, participants will receive a first-of-its-kind Digital Badge in Sustainable Living. The badge marks those who have successfully completed the lecture series as ‘Sustainable Living Ambassadors’, and can be added to social media profiles like LinkedIn, challenging other people to take initiative and do the work.
“By offering a chance to not just learn about sustainability, but to make a difference and inspire others, the Microlecture Series is a powerful resource in our collective quest for a better future,” York University’s Vice-President of Research and Innovation, Amir Asif, said in a release.
The new series is part of York’s goal of elevating the school’s contributions to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“We’ve got a global crisis here, just like we did with COVID, and we’ve got to start to address these major issues or else we’re just passing it on to our kids, and I’m not prepared to do that, I have two little girls at home,” Layton said.
The Chief Sustainability Officer also shared his hopes for a more sustainable world in the future.
“I want us to actually be making some concrete investments to change. We’ve got a recent IPCC report, [from the] United Nations Panel on Climate Change that says if we don’t start actually hitting all of the commitments that all of the politicians have promised to make, if we don’t actually start achieving them, throw up your hands because we’re done.”
“By 2050 if we don’t have a real significant move towards net zero, not only in Canada but around the world, then we’re going to have bigger problems and bigger investments will need to be made to try and just make sure that we’re not seeing the worst of climate change,” Layton continued, adding that he would like to see governments start to make a shift in a more non-partisan way.
“We’ve all got to agree that something needs to be done and that’s what I would like to see. More agreement that this is a global crisis.
Will you be checking out this innovative new series? Let us know in the comments!