With stories of forest fires, rising water levels and increasing global temperatures appearing in the news daily, it’s become clear that climate change is an issue we can no longer afford to ignore. The magnitude of these stories can sometimes leave us feeling helpless and discouraged, but members of the McGill community are reminding us that we can all do our part to help the planet.
Spearheaded by course lecturer, Bryan Johnson, the Language and Intercultural Communication (LIC) unit of the McGill School of Continuing Studies sought to make their workplace a little bit more eco-friendly by pursuing the first level of McGill’s Sustainable Workplace Certification.
“I thought the certification was something we could do as a small group eager to make a difference,” said Johnson. “We wanted to show that we support sustainability and that we’re willing to change the way we do things.”
The Bronze certification, offered by the McGill Office of Sustainability, provides participants with a checklist of 16 items designed to reduce your carbon footprint and increase sustainability in the workplace including turning off your computer and monitor before heading home for the evening, encouraging paperless communication, choosing sustainable supplies when possible, and ensuring awareness of mental health services at McGill.
While most items proved relatively easy for the team, Johnson said the toughest adjustment for LIC was getting rid of the office water cooler that comes in large plastic jugs with little paper cups. Now, though, LIC opts for the filtered water at the fountain, which is not only a greener option, but more economical.
To maintain their status, teams must renew certification on a yearly basis in the hopes that participants will continue employing sustainable habits not only in the workplace but in their personal lives. In the new year, Johnson said LIC will be pursuing the next level of certification (Silver) and will hopefully work their way up to the highest level: Platinum.
“We spend so much of our time at work and sometimes we feel powerless about the way things operate,” said Johnson. “This is our small way of pitching in and changing workplace culture so that hopefully more people become aware of these important climate issues.”
To receive the certification for your McGill workplace, contact the McGill Office of Sustainability.
For more information on the Language and Intercultural Communication unit of the McGill School of Continuing Studies, visit http://mcgill.ca/scs-languages