All Posts Tagged With: "environmentalism"
Environmental grads are employed where you’d least expect
Alex Benzie, 26, is less than a year from finishing her master’s degree in environmental studies at Queen’s University. She shops locally, buys most of her produce from nearby farms and questions the federal government’s recent streamlining of the environmental review process. She’s an environmentalist, in other words. In fact, her belief in sustainability is one of the reasons she chose to pursue the M.E.S. after a bachelor’s degree in geology instead of going straight into a job.
“I didn’t really want to be part of the oil industry or the Canadian mining industry, and that’s what a lot of geologists end up doing,” she says. “I just don’t think they’re sustainable.”
Universities are the cradle of the environmental movement. They’re a refuge where people worried about the planet can debate, research and write papers. In recent years, universities have built green buildings, imposed bottled-water bans and played host to rallies against the Alberta oil sands.
Two-wheel transport speeds ahead on campus
From the 21st Maclean’s University Rankings—on newsstands now. Story by Jason McBride.
If you were to design the perfect bicycling environment, it would include safe, well-maintained and lit streets. It would have almost no car traffic, dedicated bike paths and ample secure parking and storage. It might even have showers purpose-built for sweaty commuters and a well-equipped repair shop where cyclists can get help fixing a flat tire. In short, it would look quite a bit like the campus of McMaster University.
McMaster is located in blue-collar, largely car-centric Hamilton, Ont.—an unlikely champion of the bicycle. But in the past two years, the city has been in the vanguard of sustainable travel, expanding cycling infrastructure, improving regional transit and adding carpooling programs. Municipal support has, in turn, emboldened the university, and encouraged both students and faculty to take up, in great numbers, alternative modes of transportation. According to Kate Whalen, manager of McMaster’s office of sustainability, a 2010 campus survey revealed that 37 per cent of students walked or cycled to school. “We have a very engaged population,” she says. And the university is very responsive to the needs of that population. Just one example: after a civil engineering student did a systematic geographic information survey of the use of university bike racks, underutilized racks were relocated to more optimal spots on campus. Ten additional racks are installed each year, Whalen says.
The new political cause on campus? More parking, please.
From the 21st Maclean’s University Rankings issue. Get your copy from newsstands now.
Watching Tommy Douglass on YouTube, one can’t help but recall Matthew Broderick’s legendary rendering of a spoiled but highly resourceful high school student in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Douglass, a fourth-year University of Regina student, has a boyish face and a sleek businessman’s attitude. And he’s on a mission: to redress his school’s parking woes. “Until now, I’ve never had a single complaint. I like my school . . . it’s ideal,” he says in one of several videos he’s used to draw attention to the issue. But, he adds, “we are seriously, seriously messing up parking.”
Against the backdrop of his student bedroom—complete with a laundry basket and a picture of a blond bikini babe tacked to the wall—he shows viewers two of three $65 tickets he recently received for parking in a staff lot. “I am not going to pay a single ticket,” he says defiantly. He’d gladly pay for one of the school’s parking permits, he adds, but the school has already run out.