UTM course says “Think Globally, Act Locally”


During the last five weeks, students taking professor John Johnston’s Global Climate Change course have been communicating across the globe with Grade 8 students in Singapore to implement various environmental action projects locally and reduce the human impact on climate change globally.

This new course has teamed up 35 UTM students who are e-mentoring 20 middle school students from the United World College of South East Asia to gain a better understanding of Canada and Singapore’s relationship to climate change by organizing various projects that will raise awareness and help students take action.

Three students currently enrolled in the course—Marijana Josifovska, Stephanie Pugliese, and Jeffrey Estabrooks—have been collaborating with two students at UWC in Singapore on an education campaign to improve recycling habits at each campus. Their approach has used visual and media techniques such as posters above garbage bins and a YouTube video/photo campaign to ensure people know exactly what items are recyclable on campus and what are not.

“It’s really interesting to speak to the students in Singapore, who attend a very environmentally conscious school, yet to learn that about 75% of the action plans they chose to do focussed on waste management,” said Josifovska.

The UTM members have added an extra step in their action plan to analyze the progress and success of the campaign by studying 110 students who have pledged to be more environmentally conscious for the duration of the campaign.

“Items such as Pizza Pizza pans, Mr. Sub and Tim Horton’s sandwich bags, pop cans, plastic water bottles, and glass beverage containers are all recyclable—and yet students across campus are still throwing them in the trash. When every student does this, it adds up,” said Pugliese.

Eastbrooks concluded, “Just because you weren’t approached to take a pledge doesn’t  mean you can’t take part in this exciting challenge! Please do what you can to reduce your waste on campus, and together we can make a real difference.”