From plastic waste and marine environment advocates, livable city researchers and planners, and solar panel engineers in Africa, we are inspired by our students, teachers and alumni working everyday to build a more sustainable future.
Earth Day at The York School: curiosity, hope, initiative and the ability to see ourselves in the larger picture
At The York School - from learning, to trying innovative ideas, and advocacy even - we spend a lot of time looking at the environment and our human impact through different lenses. We also know that beyond effective water bottle refill stations and doing away with plastic straws, there is more that can be done. It’s an ongoing process.
That’s why we included in our recent Strategic Plan the commitment to "place a focus on our environmental footprint to ensure our campus and community is creating opportunities for stewardship and conservation that reflect our commitment to sustainability and the environment."
Environmental Literacy is all about students learning IN, ABOUT, FOR, and FROM the environment
Examples of our efforts can be seen throughout our school and field trip learnings.
Our science classes study hand’s on Biodiversity in the City’s ravines. Our eco-team conducts school waste audits to inform our recycling efforts. They also work to promote cycling to school by raising awareness (to the cycle paths and our bike stations for example) and conducting surveys.
Our educators too are fully on board. Currently they are collating all their lesson plans to see how deeply we are integrating environmental education into our practices. The United Nations Sustainability Goals provide a good learning platform in numerous courses where students can pick a topic that interests them that they can delve into more deeply.
Our facilities team has taken great strides in reducing our energy usage. Our ‘new’ white roof to reflect and mitigate the urban heat island and energy upgrades are having a measured effect.
Many of our Alumni carry their passion for sustainability into their careers. Plastic waste and marine environment advocates, livable city researchers and planners, and even solar panel engineers in Africa; these are just a few examples of many demonstrated leadership initiatives our Alumni have taken on.
This week, for Earth Week and beyond, our student Eco-team took on paper waste, and has been encouraging our community to reduce waste by contributing to the GOOS (good on one side) pile to use for drafting and other purposes.
Recently, our Senior School Principal David Hamilton reflected on our role in the environment and the role of educators:
“As I bicycled through the rain this morning, on the day before Earth Day, I was reminded that our relationship to our Earth is an important lens that we need to incorporate into our set of lenses by which we understand and give meaning to our lives. Did I like biking in the rain? No. Will our gardens need rain? Yes. And where will the rain, and everything it carries along with it, go once it descends through that grate on the Bloor Viaduct? Actually, our city is trying to do something about that!”
In his message, there is curiosity, hope and the ability to see ourselves within the larger picture. From embracing community service, teaching eco-literacy, to adopting entrepreneurial green innovation we are inspired by our students, teachers and alumni working everyday to build a more sustainable future.
Further: For an interesting read, here is a 2010 article on our Green Roof work!
Canada's first co-educational independent IB World School The York School is a gender inclusive JK to Grade 12 independent school located in the heart of Toronto. The York School was founded in 1965 and is the first school in Canada accredited to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) from junior kindergarten (JK) to university entrance. As an IB World School, The York School's motto is Experientia Docet or Experience Teaches.