Introducing our monthly Green Day

Illustration featuring many climate-friendly practices including cycling, electric vehicles, recycling, planting trees and green energy.

Beginning in October 2022, UBC Geography will be holding a monthly Green Day during term time.

We will take this day to work, teach and learn from home (where possible) and to encourage a focus on issues relevant to climate change in lesson plans.

Our hope is that others across campus will join us!

Here, Geography undergraduate Holly Denson-Camp shares how the initiative got started.

The idea for a campus-wide Green Day was first brainstormed during a Geography Climate Action Committee meeting.

A Geography staff member, Suzanne Lawrence, identified that online learning has provided us with the tools and systems necessary to operate remotely, so why shouldn’t we take advantage of these resources and try to reduce transportation emissions?

From this our initial idea was born — to encourage a monthly campus-wide Green Day in which faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to teach, learn, and work remotely.

In order to generate cross-department support, we presented this initiative to the Interdepartmental Climate Committee (IDCC). The IDCC consists of representatives from different UBC bodies including Asian Studies, EOAS, the Library, the Climate Emergency Response team, and more, who convene to collaborate on and encourage climate action initiatives across campus.

With their support, we decided to move forward and also expand the scope of the proposed Green Day to encourage the inclusion of climate-related content in course materials. This adjustment allows flexibility for courses that can’t easily operate remotely to still participate pedagogically.

Our Green Day idea offers a means by which UBC Vancouver can reduce transportation emissions across all UBC bodies and encourage an increase in climate content being taught across departments.

What makes this initiative so potentially impactful is the ability for any UBC department or organization to meaningfully participate.

We have developed remote-friendly resources which should allow for an easy one-day-a-month transition to online learning/working. Incorporating more climate content into course material is a feasible goal for any department, regardless of subject matter.

As geography students, we are exposed to climate related materials in nearly every course — since our discipline is closely linked with climate science, justice and action.

However, we believe that any department can connect their content to climate issues through the utilization of UBC’s teaching resources and support from other departments working towards the same goal.

By coordinating actions, for example, to reduce transportation emissions to campus, we feel students are provided with a sense of agency and meaning. Encouraging emissions reductions and climate dialogue will help to highlight climate awareness and action at all scales.

We hope this initiative will continue to spread across campus to make as meaningful an impact as possible and inspire further climate work from the UBC Community.

— Holly Denson-Camp

Work Learn Student, Geography Climate Action Committee (2021-22) and UBC Geography undergraduate