Earth Day in Canada

April 22, 2024, marks the 44th celebration of Earth Day Canada. This day marks a date of demonstration towards environmental protection and peace. Earth Day is now recognized in over 190 countries with roughly one billion people participating in it each year. The theme for this year’s Earth Day is “Planet vs. Plastics,” focusing activism on ending the use of plastic to improve human and planetary health with a demand to reduce plastic production by 60% by 2040.  

Sustainability at the College

At Langara, we're taking steps to improve sustainability on our campuses and within our community. Not only are principles of sustainability incorporated into classrooms through curriculum and leadership practices, but also in the Academic Plan, Strategic Plan and policy. Sustainability at Langara is noted by the following areas of growth within the last few years: 

  • Was awarded STARS (Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System) Silver Rating in 2021 and continuing to work towards the ultimate goal of earning a Gold Rating. 
  • Four LEED Gold Certified buildings: the Library (L Building), C Building North, the LSU Building, and the Science and Technology Building 
  • Installation of a new central heating plant in to improve energy efficiency
  • A new central heating plant was completed in May 2023 which is expected to improve fuel usage by 25%, resulting in a reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions to approximately 55% below the 2007 baseline
  • Increasing engagement with community partners and advocating for sustainable solutions in all contexts, be it from events to pedagogy, and including infrastructure

Inequity and Earth Day

The Equity Diversity and Inclusion Office recognizes the strides made here on campus for Earth Day, but also wants to recenter the celebration on equity-deserving groups who are most impacted by climate change as well as environmental degradation. Earth Day was created by settlers, most of whom benefit from white supremacy, and focus largely on conservation (a concept rooted in terra nullius), rather than being self-reflexive about the environmental movement as a whole. 

Honouring the earth and sustainability are concepts inherent and integral to Indigenous ways of being within Canada and in other communities across the globe. A prime example within our own local context are sea gardens created by Indigenous peoples along the coast of British Columbia. These ways of knowing (including land-based learning), which have been implementing sustainability in space and place since time immemorial, were disrupted by the removal of Indigenous people from their land and from accessing resources.  

Environmental Racism

Environmental Racism has impacted Indigenous peoples as well as other equity-deserving groups, particularly People of Colour, by forcing them to live (directly or indirectly) on environmentally degraded land. These same people have been exposed to increasing amounts of pollutants that have resulted in individual as well as intergenerational health issues. For ecological disasters (which are intensifying because of climate change), they receive the least support thus continuing the perpetuation of systemic social and economic discrimination and inequities. 

With these reflections in mind, we encourage you to explore, question and engage ethically with Earth Day events across our city and utilize the resources, both included below: