By: Jessica Sun, Grade 12, Windermere Secondary
On February 19th, 2018, the Vancouver School Board hosted their sixth annual sustainability conference at Point Grey Secondary. This event brings together youth from across the district and beyond, to celebrate and engage in discussions around sustainability. The conference aims to provide students with the ideas, tools and networks to create lasting change in their school communities.
The theme of this year's conference was IMPRINT. It emphasized the importance of the actions we take and the legacy we want to leave behind for future generations. Taking the theme into figurative terms, when you think of a footprint, you may think of a person taking steps to reach their destination. However, with each step we take towards our destination, we also have the potential to leave behind a lasting impact on the planet. Sustainability is built on the idea that collective action can solve matters affecting the future of our society. In an era plagued with major political, economic, social, and environmental crises, it is imperative we think about these questions in our daily lives.
The second part of the conference's focus is to give students tangible strategies to initiate their own projects revolving around sustainability. The conference began with a speaker panel, followed by a performance from folk musician Luke Wallace. Students then headed off to their workshops, where they learned about ways to plan for a more sustainable future. Topics ranged from "Our plastic addiction is choking our oceans: how do we help?", "Achieving sustainability by inspiring positive behavioural change", and "Solutions and challenges of Canada's carbon crisis." "‹ During lunch, 30 non-profit organizations hosted booths at the NGO Fair, providing students with an excellent networking opportunity. The conference ended with an intra-school action planning session.
IMPRINT was put on by students from Windermere, Prince of Wales, Eric Hamber, and Point Grey secondary schools. We are all a part of an important movement, whether you are brand new to sustainability or already an environmental leader in your community. It is critical now more than ever that, we realize the effects of our actions. More importantly, it is time for us all to understand the potential impact we can leave behind. Our actions are based on the conscious decisions we make to either secure a sustainable future, or degrade it.