April is Earth Month - A Time to Celebrate and Protect Our Planet
Maya Dusangh

April is Earth Month, a time to celebrate our beautiful planet and take action to protect it. At Southridge, the Senior School Environmental Club, Junior School Green Team, and Whole School Environmental Committee have been hard at work planning various events and initiatives focused on green living! 

Last week in the Senior School was Active and Sustainable School Travel Week, which was an initiative to encourage an increased commitment to active and sustainable modes of transportation to help reduce the number of vehicles on the road and greenhouse gas emissions in the air. It has been so inspiring to see several students and teachers in our school community walking, biking, carpooling, and taking the bus to and from school! 

This week we are celebrating Earth Week, which is when each day of the week will be dedicated to a different event focused on environmental sustainability. In our Senior School:

  • Monday is a meatless lunch day
  • Tuesday is a lunchtime street cleanup
  • Wednesday is the annual Great Gulp (using reusable water bottles) during our Senior School assembly
  • Thursday is a light’s out lunch
  • Friday is earth tones casual day! 

In our Junior School: 

  • Tuesday is a Lights Out Lunch
    Teachers will be turning off the lights around the school, and unplugging or switching off any unnecessary devices such as the TVs to help raise awareness about the importance of energy conservation, and not wasting valuable energy. 
  • Wednesday is The Great Gulp in homeroom. 
    People across Canada are invited to take part in The Great Gulp by taking a drink of tap water from a reusable bottle, glass, or mug, in regions where safe and healthy tap water is accessible. This is to raise awareness about drinking water and reduce single-use plastic bottles

  • Thursday is Waste-free Lunch 
    We are asking students to come to school with a lunch that contains no disposable or throwaway packaging. Drinks and food are packed in reusable containers within a reusable lunch bag or box. No lunch items should go into the landfill.

  • Friday is Earth Tones & Well Worn Casual Day
    Students are encouraged to wear well-worn clothing that is blue, green, or brown.

As we head into Earth Week, here are a few simple tips to consider on how to be more environmentally sustainable:

  1. Air dry your clothes
    Not only is hang-drying environmentally-friendly, but it could save you up to 72 cents per hour by using the dryer.
  2. Visit local farmers markets
    Locally-sourced produce travels about 27 times less distance than conventionally sourced produce. By reducing the need to transport and store food, your plate will have a smaller carbon footprint. 
  3. Buy in bulk
    Grocery stores with bulk bins eliminate the need for fancy packaging and single-use plastics. 
  4. Choose quality over quantity when shopping
    Although it may be tempting to purchase cheaper options, buying products made of quality, sustainable fabrics and materials are both more ethical and last longer. 
  5. Plant pollinator friendly plants
    Almost 80% of our food and industrial products require pollination by animals. By protecting pollinator species, we can help our air, water, and soil stay healthy. Common-pollinator friendly plants include bee palm, echinacea, lavender, lilac, and more!

Contributed by Maya Dusangh, Grade 12 Student and Senior School Environmental Club Co-Chair