Here at Laurier, many have realized the importance of community and its effects on the environment. Over the years, many of our students have been realizing the need to come together within their different interest areas to focus on environmental action and awareness.
If you’re interested in getting involved, the opportunities are almost endless. Our most recent addition, the WLU Farm Market, shows us the importance of buying local, organically grown food. Laurier’s Campus Greens inform us of the environmental impact our political voice can make when we support a party with an environmentally conscious mandate. The Geography and Environmental Students’ Association isn’t exclusive to students in the GES Department, as it strives to educate others about geography and the environment. Anti-War at Laurier (AW@L) does non-violent direct action at the intersection of war and environmental destruction. Social Inc. is an SBE club that raises awareness of how acquiring socially responsible practises within businesses can make a positive impact on society. Laurier’s EcoHawks are a club within the student’s union that draws awareness about the general importance of choosing to act in an environmentally friendly matter. Finally, the Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group (LSPIRG) has given many individuals and groups the resources and contacts they need to become agents of social change.
Over the years each group has accomplished a fair share, growing slowly and taking small steps towards building a more environmentally sustainable campus. Alone we have done fairly well, but we have come to realize that together we can do so much more. With this in mind, the winter semester of 2008 lead to the formation of the Campus Environmental Coalition (CEC). The leaders of each of these groups, as well as a number of passionate students at large, have begun to meet regularly to maintain communication with each other as well as with the rest of campus. The CEC is working together to encourage the actions of our current members, maintain ongoing dialogue with University administration, and direct newcomers towards existing groups that best fit their needs and interests. We have realized that we are all effective in different areas, and by collaborating we increase our overall effectiveness in targeting the WLU community.
Every single contribution adds another piece to the larger puzzle that we are all working so hard to complete. Individual projects can give you a feeling of importance and well-earned recognition as you work hard to succeed, yet this sense of struggle can be lessened, or even eliminated if you can find the courage to ask for help and be willing to give it in return. It is true that there are many challenges to overcome when working with others, but with time, this is the only way to reap the biggest rewards.
The same can be said for our actions with the environment. The natural world has given us all of the resources we need to survive, yet never before have we been so opposed to accepting them. We have been living with these plants, this sun, this water, and this entire Earth for centuries, and they too are part of the community that we must remember to respect, use, and give back to. Feeling this neglect for too long, just as a human would, the Earth is finally speaking up and asking us to reconnect. We have been seeing the effects of our selfishness for years with our rapidly growing list of endangered and extinct species; it is evident that we can’t keep paving over wildlife habitats, clear-cutting forests, and polluting to the point that our Arctic is disappearing.
Never before have we been impacted with a greater lesson about the need for community. The only way to smooth the effects of this climate crisis is by working together. We’ve taken a first step by uniting our clubs under the CEC umbrella. Now we’d like to go beyond that by connecting with the greater Laurier community. We are offering our commitment to teaching and aiding the growth of awareness on these issues, and we’d like to ask that everyone at Laurier play their part in helping not just our university, but our global community to overcome the environmental hardships that we have caused.