UFV greenSPEAK lecture series focuses on environmental issues

When looking at the UFV website, passing by its signage or simply picking up a brochure around campus, the university is overwhelmingly associated with the colour green. This verdant colour is inviting and creates a certain level of expectation around environmental issues such as recycling, composting, and conserving energy.
UFV biology instructor Pat Harrison wants to encourage the university and its surrounding communities to adhere to green values by encouraging actions and education on environmental issues through the UFV Centre for Sustainability.
The centre has existed for many years, but has been inactive for several years. In recent months Harrison has been trying to change that by putting together a speakers list for the upcoming greenSPEAK lecture series, working with the UFV Green Team, and Students for Sustainability.

“This institution is working towards sustainability, it is in its charter [list of strategic goals], and yet I think we are lagging behind. We are trying to get sustainability on everyone’s mind,” says Harrison, citing the lecture series as well as the presence of the Centre for Sustainability as ways of creating a stronger voice for sustainability on campus. “There are a lot of pop cans still being thrown away in garbage cans even though there are blue recycling cans everywhere.”

greenSPEAK has an extensive list of possible speakers for the upcoming months including Ron Stead from the City of Abbotsford talking about sustainability initiatives undertaken by the city, including the Community Sustainability Planning Initiative, on Tues, Feb 5, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm.

The City of Abbotsford recently initiated a Community Sustainability Planning Initiative (CSPI). The purpose of the CSPI is to develop plans and strategies that guide our community to grow and function in an integrated way where the community’s fiscal, economic, environmental, and social needs are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Abbotsford’s CSPI involves the creation of four specific deliverables:

• Community Sustainability Strategy (CSS)
• Green Energy Plan (GEP)
• Sumas Mountain Environmental Management Study (SMEMS)
• Green Economic Investment Study (GEIS).

The Centre for Sustainability’s goal is to encourage sustainable and viable changes for the university as a whole.
Other possible topics in the series are: a presentation on Mountain View Conservation Farm ; a Kinder Morgan representative speaking on pipelines; and the Dean of Science, Dr. Lucy Lee, on Sapphire Project program, as well as a lecture from the Students for Sustainability.

  • Tues, Feb 19: Dr. Lucy Lee will speak on the Sapphire Project in which UFV is involved. It has to do with tracking the Space Waste. Room: Abby D117
  • Tues, Feb 26: Students for Sustainability are taking the main stage to talk about the revitalization of this student association. Room: Abby B101
  • Tues, March 26: Doreen Duvall on GMOs. Room Abby A312.

All seminars run Tuesdays from 2:30 – 4:30 pm.

Other topics and times tba.

With every potential new venture, such as on-campus composting, there is always the issue of funding for environmental and sustainability initiatives. The environmentalists and biologists can confidently confirm that money does not grow on trees. Harrison is aware of the constraints but is working with UFV Facilities to find solutions.
Harrison says that the greenSPEAK presentation series will be a great learning experience for everyone who attends.

Excited about the upcoming series, Harrison encourages everyone to get involved. “It is that simple. Recycle more, and come to the talks we are going to put on. I know people are busy, but this is an important issue.”

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