Today’s decisions affecting the environment and global resources are sure to cast a long shadow – so who better to declare their personal involvement than the generation now in high school? This summer, International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma students from around the world will gather at UBC to consider the sustainability landscape – and how fast it’s changing.
A five-day conference ‘The New Green: Making Things Better, Not Just Less Bad’, organized by UBC and the International Baccalaureate Organization, will focus on the ‘regeneration’ strategies now being pioneered at UBC that go beyond harm-reduction and aim to make actual improvement in natural and human systems.
The event will be based at the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) itself one of the world’s first regenerative buildings conceived and constructed to have a net-positive impact on its environment. Over 300 participants from 37 countries and currently in the IB secondary curriculum are registered to attend.
The packed conference agenda includes presentations on sustainability principles, workshops on sustainability in specific fields of study, as well as field trips to the rainforest and Vancouver Aquarium. Participants will also enjoy a full program of social and athletic activities, and connect with current UBC students for an insight into undergraduate life where many will be headed in just a year or two.
”All participants will take a sustainability core curriculum workshop developed by the UBC Sustainability Initiative” (USI), says Kshamta Hunter, Student Advisor at the Sustainability Education Resource Centre in CIRS. “These workshops will create a space for students to discuss and explore sustainability with other IB students from across the world and UBC student mentors”.
Participants will hear from keynote speakers at the cutting edge of sustainability thinking, including the Executive Director of USI, Prof. John Robinson, UBC students, environmental activists, international philanthropists and a photographer for National Geographic magazine. These inspirational voices will help motivate students as they roll up their sleeves to examine how to achieve regeneration around the globe. Working in groups, students will be looking at specific issues of concern and formulating possible solutions.
The conference will draw on the power of CIRS’ advanced interactive technology, allowing students to get immediate feedback on potential consequences of their choices and see how they might play out in real world conditions – at once exciting and sobering!
The New Green conference is a natural fit for UBC’s mission of the campus as living laboratory – a sustainability community actively extending the boundaries of knowledge. Sharing experiences and results is essential to this process, so that the next generation of decision-makers can be inspired towards positive and regenerative change
The New Green: Making Things Better, Not Just Less Bad will be held at UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability from Monday July 23 to Friday July 27.