6 Highlights of Sustainability Awareness Week

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In October 2008, Sarah Palin was on SNL, High School Musical 3: Senior Year was in theatres, and Justin Trudeau had just entered parliament as a rookie MP. And, that's when the U of A's inaugural Sustainability Awareness Week took place - bringing us to the twelfth event from October 21-25, 2019.

Having grown and diversified from just eight events that first year, this year the Sustainability Council is offering a variety of old favourites and new delights in 40 events across four campuses.

Here are a few very different ways that you can participate in Sustainability Awareness Week:

1. Take in some spoken word poetry1. Take in some spoken word poetry: Swing by SUB Stage at noon on October 21 for Green Mic, a spoken word and musical showcase about climate change. Don't miss Knowmadic (Edmonton's seventh poet laureate) sharing the stage with Matthew Weigel and John Acorn, the Nature Nut!

2. Build a capsule wardrobe2. Build a capsule wardrobe: Alternatively, if you're on Campus Saint-Jean, learn how to pare down your clothes and break the fast-fashion habit. A capsule wardrobe is good for your pocket book, for social justice, and for the environment. After the workshop, put your findings to work at Thursday's Thrift Shop & Clothing Swap in SUB on North Campus.

3. Confront populism and climate change inaction3. Confront populism and climate change inaction: Just when we most need our collective action on climate change, the world is being swept by suspicion of authority and institutions. But Matthew Wildcat, a lecturer in Political Science and Native Studies, has some ideas for fixing that. Learn about the concept of relational governance, drawn from Indigenous perspectives about authority.

4. Tour the power plant4. Tour the power plant: This event goes right back to 2008! Step behind the scenes of the university district's energy system, one of the largest in North America. Learn the benefits of centralizing heating and AC while touring the cooling plant, utility corridors and heating plant.

5. Pick up some plant-based recipes5. Pick up some plant-based recipes: Want to try to eat less meat, but not sure how to prepare a meal without steak? Let the Campus Food Bank show you how. You'll use fall vegetables to create plant-based, low-waste meals and snacks in the comfort of Nipisiy House's community space.

6. Explore the river valley with the Nature Nut6. Explore the river valley with the Nature Nut: If you grew up in Alberta, you undoubtedly know of John Acorn. Now's your chance to take a walk down to the riverbank, spotting birds and critters and enjoying the fall colours with the Nature Nut himself.

There's lots more happening during Sustainability Awareness Week! Check out the full schedule at uab.ca/saw.

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Trevor Chow-Fraser has been writing and designing for the Sustainability Council (and formerly the Office of Sustainability) since 2013. He's one of those people who is making the most of a liberal arts degree, having studied East Asian Religions in Montreal, and now finds himself talking marketing strategy and brand management. Trevor is a mixed race, interfaith millennial parent. He lovingly contributes to local podcasts Let's Find Out and Witch, Please.