Welcome to the blog!
Updated: Feb 1
Alexandria Gill and Jessica Urbach, University of Toronto
There's something magical about doing things for the greater good. Going the extra mile for someone other than yourself and the indescribable feeling of seeing someone's face light up from the joy you brought them. But how does one change the world? How do you light a spark within someone who doesn’t see your passion and what you care about as relevant or important? How do you change the behaviour of one who is unwilling? How do you convince someone that change is needed when you’re still young and naive yourself?
Climate change does not have a one-size-fits-all solution. It is merely a trial and error process that we have yet to solve. Our greatest enemy is time. How much time do we have left?
How much time until we have emitted too much, cut down too many trees, or polluted too much of our fresh waters? Researchers and scientists have shown us the data over and over again, and the weather has shown us destruction across the globe.
Yet, we sit here writing as undergraduate students confused, frustrated and determined to make a difference.
We have lost so much of our world’s beauty at such a rapid pace. Our kind has pushed the limits of our planetary boundaries and caused extinction to many of the wonders that our world has to offer. When is enough, enough? When will we unite as a global community to fix the damage we have done?
This is where we find it hard to grasp how little progress we have made… We live in a world that becomes increasingly globalized every single day. We live in a world where we have never been more connected with the touch of a button, yet we have grown so distant. Our values as an international community are not in order. We face some of the most detrimental environmental issues on a daily basis and it seems as though no one cares.
And that is partially our fault. Why do we call it climate change? As humans we consider change to be good. But we need to make it clear that none of what is happening to our environment is good. Quite frankly, we need to make it clear that we are living in a climate crisis.
The downside to calling this a climate crisis is that it's intimidating. It leaves people in fear and scared for what the future holds. Which is not how you inspire someone to change. Leading by fear is not our answer. Rather, we must raise awareness on what is going on in our world and educate those who are curious and those who have no idea what climate change entails.
This is not an easy task and requires passion and initiative from a lot of people. It takes time and lots of motivation. You need leaders who give a damn. Leaders who care to go the extra mile and help educate, connect and aid those who would like to become more environmentally sustainable. Which is where we come in.
Our partnership in creating the Environmental Sustainability Coalition couldn’t be a better match. As you can see in this blog post, I have a tendency to story tell. I paint a picture when I speak. I dream big and sometimes too large. My head is usually up in the clouds and my aura radiates that everything will go the way I want in life (which is not accurate whatsoever). This kind of whimsical personality requires balance. Which is where my partner comes in, Jessica. She is what grounds all of our ideas and myself to this world. She has been fortunate enough to travel all but one continent and her experiences have shaped her into this wonderful human, who wants nothing more than to help those who live in our worlds most vulnerable parts. Her realist mixed with my overly optimistic, is what has inspired us to create this beautiful platform that we are so excited to launch.
Initially, our goal with the Environmental Sustainability Coalition was to create an unignorable momentum that would motivative our university to reevaluate its current practises and put a greater emphasis on sustainable initiatives. Our intention wasn't to villainize the institution, but rather establish an inclusive partnership towards a more sustainable campus. This then expanded exponentially when we realised the potential of the platform we were creating.
Our inspiration for starting this platform came from a strong passion for the environment, coupled with frustration towards the general lack of action currently being taken. When discussing the most effective way to bring about change, we noticed that there was a lack of integration within our society. This got us thinking, why weren’t current efforts intergenerational? Why is it only focused on one discipline, viewpoint or a narrow scope?
We decided to invite students, professors, industry professionals, NGOs and climate activists to come together and contribute to the blog. Through this holistic approach, we aspire to build momentum around a positive perspective, rather than focusing on the lack of action. By creating an inclusive blog, we are not limited by the barriers surrounding academia, as climate change is not bound to one definitive solution or area of study. Moreover, in order to do our part to combat climate change, ESC will mobilize individuals to do their part. Through awareness-raising and knowledge sharing, individuals will gain a new perspective on what it means to be sustainable and recognize the power of individual actions.
When it comes to climate action, there’s this huge divide between professionals and researchers, and youth leaders. We believe our platform is the bridge between this division. We wanted to create a multidisciplinary platform that is also intergenerational to show how much we can learn from each other through our experiences, interests and backgrounds.
If you are interested in learning more about environmental sustainability or ways to combat climate change, our blog is the place for you! With ESC, our goal is to create a broad definition of sustainability, to show people the power of individual action and inspire others to become more sustainable as well through our blog posts.
We have grown our network beyond our wildest dreams in such a short period of time, and we are so excited to share all that we have learned, and publish the truly inspirational stories that our writers have contributed on our website! We have a queue of blog posts from professors, students, climate activists and work professionals from around the world that we can’t wait to share with you over the coming weeks and months.
Alexandria and I both care about saving our planet and doing what we can to leave our planet better than we received it. We hope this platform will inspire you all to do the same and realise the power we have, every single day, to make our world a more sustainable place.
Welcome to our blog!