So… you missed Earth Day. Here are some ongoing endeavors you can follow this summer.

Who says you can only celebrate our beautiful blue planet once a year?

The day we now celebrate as Earth Day began as a stretch of teaching, tree planting, and protests across the United States on April 22, 1970.

Supposedly, this date avoided spring break and final exams. But for us maple-style universities, it’s a slap in the middle of the exam and moving season. What’s more, they should put it right next to other “green” holidays. How do they expect us to have that kind of stamina?

All the jokes aside, Earth has done a lot to support us, and the steps we take to care for our planet can also help us grow more connected to our communities. Here are some sustainability and climate justice efforts you can join at UBC this summer.

Maintaining UBC

After months of design, trial and error, UBC Sustaineering is bringing its tiny house project to campus! The prototype looks to incorporate elements such as rainwater harvesting, a solar-powered water pump and a small-scale wind turbine.

Students who are interested in participating but have not yet joined the team are encouraged to contact sustaingineering@gmail.com to check availability. Recruitment for the fall will begin on Imagine Day.

UBC Climate Justice

Student advocacy doesn’t stop in the summer. Climate Justice UBC (CJUBC) is working to galvanize student pressure on RBC to divest from fossil fuels, given their status as Canada’s largest fossil fuel financier and on-campus presence within the Nest. The club is also gearing up for a reinvestment campaign with Divest UVic and SFU350 to encourage universities to divest from fossil fuels to fund efforts that promote “social, economic and environmental well-being” within their communities.

Students interested in attending information meetings or participating in advocacy campaigns are encouraged to follow CJUBC on Instagram, Indonesia and Facebook, and contact the coordinator at climatejusticeubc@gmail.com.

Sprouts

Sprouts is hosting its first summer joint relief project! Our local volunteer-run food cooperative is leading a food distribution project that provides fresh food to the people of Downtown Eastside. Volunteers can help prepare food in the Sprouts kitchen or drive and distribute food. No prior experience required, commitments are made once a week for one calendar month. To find out more about volunteering for Sprouts, check out his Instagram page.

Sprouts also began providing community refrigerators, freezers and pantry downstairs in the Life Building. Volunteers will fill the fridge from time to time with food donated by local grocery stores and bakeries, so grab what you need and serve it when you can! (Community members are reminded to review donation guidelines before donating and to avoid leaving opened, self-cooked, or expired food in the community refrigerator.)

Xʷc̓ic̓əsəm . Park

If you are a guest of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, it is worth learning about the communities and lands around us. Xʷc̓ic̓əsəm — hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ for “the place where we grow” — invites individuals to engage with Indigenous understandings of healing and share traditional plant knowledge and Indigenous food sovereignty practices. Medicinal plants such as sage and tobacco grow side by side with native food crops from various Indigenous communities.

Planting and harvesting opportunities are posted to the garden’s Instagram page as they become available. Volunteers are encouraged to arrive on time for the start of the session in order to properly acclimate to the room before working in the garden.

UBC Farm

Get your hands dirty, learn from and support your community while you’re at it. The UBC Agriculture volunteer program provides UBC students, staff, faculty members and members of the wider community with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in many aspects of small-scale sustainable agriculture. Opportunities are available from May to September.

If preparing food is more your style, consider shopping for produce at UBC’s Farm Farmers Market when it opens in June (alongside other Vancouver farmers markets). Open June 4, operates Tuesday (4–6 pm) and Saturday (10 am–2 pm) at UBC Farm, rain or shine. A weekly vendor list is available here.

Sustainability Hub staff recommendations

For the uninitiated, the UBC Sustainability Center acts as a liaison, curator, and facilitator of climate action efforts across campus. While the Hub occasionally hosts events (which are posted to its monthly newsletter) and climate action resource guides, I asked engagement managers Jon Garner and Tawnee Milko how students can get involved this summer. Here’s what they say:

In academia, consider taking a summer course on the climate crisis — or looking for a course to take next school year! Some of the offerings include;

  • CONS 210: Visualizing Climate Change
  • EOSC 270: Marine Ecosystems
  • NURS 290: Health Impacts of Climate Change
  • GEOG 313: Environmental Justice and Social Change
  • ECON 371: Economy and Environment

If your noggin needs a break:

  • The UBC Collaboration for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP) invites community members to envision and design a more sustainable and inclusive Vancouver in the hands-on Cool Hood Champs workshop series. Wednesdays in June from 6–8 pm at the Trout Lake Community Center.
  • Sign up to join the volunteer Zero Waste Squad from May to August. Students will help run summer events including Jump Start and Imagine Day and support zero-waste housing initiatives.
  • If you’re part of a club or lab that wants to be more sustainable, see the UBC Green Events Guide and Green Lab Tools for resources and contacts.

If you, overallneed rest:

  • Stroll through the UBC Botanical Gardens — for free! With more than 100 years of management, Canada’s oldest university botanical garden houses some 30,000 plants from around the world. Rains in April make way for the “late blooming” rhododendrons in May. Students and alumni also receive a 50 percent discount on the Greenheart Treewalk, an aerial system that traverses the forest canopy. Face-to-face and virtual events for the park’s May Biodiversity Days series can be found here. Open Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
  • Get your creative side involved with the EcoPoem challenge from Climate Hub. The UBC Climate Hub shared four poems for National Poetry Month to help connect us with the present and imagine what our planet and future communities might look like. Follow the Climate Hub Instagram page for instructions, check out their Climate Wellbeing Resource Kit, and subscribe to their newsletter for future opportunities.
  • Visit the Nitobe Memorial Park. Located near Place Vanier, this park is sure to take you back in time to your first year. As a student, you can visit for free!

Matt Asuncion is a fifth-year media studies student and resident Ubyssey sustainability noodles. He is the staff writer for Ubyssey. You can connect with him on Twitter @MattJAsuncion or catch him driving around campus in Ubyssey office tandem bike.

Unpacking the Beach is The Ubyssey’s sustainability column. Submit a topic you want to cover and promote sustainability@ubyssey.ca.

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