Since the University of Northern British Columbia has been opened there have been many efforts to create a sustainable facility. There are many aspects of the university that contribute to its sustainability, which include the buildings, as well as on-going projects. The students and faculty, however, do not necessarily take part in maintaining the university’s title as Canada’s Green University. UNBC’s title as Canada’s Green University may also be put into question when compared to other Canadian universities. UNBC strives towards creating a green university, but this does not necessarily result in a green and sustainable university.
An important idea to establish is the definition of being green. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the definition of being green is:
Green: relating to or being an environmentalist political movement; concerned with or supporting environmentalism; tending to preserve environmental quality (as by being recyclable, biodegradable, or nonpolluting).
This ultimately means that being green has two key elements; efforts must be made, and they must result in the preservation of the environment. The second element of having your actions result in the preservation of the environment ultimately means to be sustainable. The term “sustainable” is often misunderstood. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines sustainable as:
Sustainable: of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged; of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods.
The University of Northern British Columbia applies to these definitions. By definition, UNBC is green because the establishment is concerned with supporting environmentalism, however, the results of the efforts made do not result in a completely sustainable operation. Due to the fact that UNBC cannot live up to both definitions it is only fair to say that the university makes efforts towards being green and becoming a sustainable community.
Universities play a huge role in environmental education and take on the role of being a community leader. The Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future established “The Talloires Declaration: 10 Point Action Plan” for universities to follow in being sustainability leaders. UNBC seems to make efforts in all ten points of the declaration. UNBC is a leader in sustainability, not only as a university, but as Canada’s GREEN University, so the university has a high standard to meet.
Both volunteer and funded green organizations are features that are offered at the university. The Green University Planning Committee, the Green Fund, green teaching, research, the residences, energy use, water consumption, and waste management all contribute to the university’s sustainability. The efforts within all of the aspects listed are good examples of what makes UNBC green.
The Green University Planning Committee was...