Sustainability

ERS 285 Assignment # 1



"The idea of sustainability was most recently popularized by the Bruntland Commission on Environment and Developement. It concluded that the only way to address issues associated with global development-poverty, hunger, and disease- at the same time as we deal with environmental degradation of the biosphere, is to pursue "environmentally sustainable economic development" :development that meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."(p. 38, Regeneration /93)

We believe that sustainability involves not only the preservation of natural economic resources but also the improvement of systems that have been degraded. A balence should be maintained so that one resource is not compromised for another.

Sustainibility can transpire on campus by utilising several enviromentally and ecologically beneficial recommendations. These recommendations once implemented would not only provide environmental benefit, but also economic gain. Some of our recommendations include closing the water loop, introducing natural landscaping, mandatory environmental programs for students, and a computer recycling program.

Closing the water loop on campus is an attainable by building a water treatment and sewage plant. By doing this we could have our own water system and then be forced to keep our water refined as we will be the ones that are affected by our own pollution mistakes. Chemical pollution will decrease on campus as the effects of polluted water will then impact on our daily lives. In addition the campus will no longer be dependent on the city for a water source.

Sustainablility could be increased by decreasing erosion on laurel creek through implementation of many procedures that will benefit the; environment, the water flowing through the campus, and the overall watershed. Natural bank covering, increased treed area, and buffered areas could be included to increase the life and quality of the stream. Dredging could then be decreased, so saving money, as this is very expensive. The decrease of erosion could be helped by planting a riparian zone around the river edge and onto the grass on the river bank. The turbidity of the water will then be decreased resulting in increased aesthetics of the water by increasing water clarity. In addition by increased foilage around the river, and less erosion, the water temperature will be decreased as it is shaded and then it will increase the range of animal life that can survive in this area.

Natural landscaping would prove to be ecologically and economically beneficial because chemicals would no longer be needed to spray the lawns, and gas use would decrease as the lawn mowers would no longer be needed. Perennials could be planted as there would be no need to plant annually. Rock gardens could be implemented as they are aesthetically pleasing and require little, if any maintenance. Small flowers could be planted in areas currently covered with grass, proving to be aesthetically pleasing and widely accepted by the general public.

In addition a manditory environmental program should be placed into effect so that everyone regardless of faculty would be more environmentally aware. An ecological pricing system could be then placed on any bottles and cans to facilitate faculties which are not participating in the recycling program on campus. This could be done by stamping bottles or cans for a small return on the money paid on purchase. In addition a higher price could be placed on using disposable cups rather than bring your own cup.

A computer recycling program could be implemented on older models that are no longer used. (especially in the math faculty). These older computers could be donated to needy children, high schools, daycares and community centers, rather than them being stock piled.

A sustainable U of W would no longer depend as heavily on outside sources for its upkeep. For example, we would no longer have to purchase water from the city, or purchase lawn-care products that are potentially dangerous. The implementation of the above suggestions would help to reduce the impact that we have on the campus and surrounding communities.

The acheivement of a sustainable Campus would be realized when our activities on campus take no toll on the environment--natural or human. A sustainable campus would operate and provide for resources needed to allow for the continuation of the University process for years to come (ie. as in the mowhawk culture they provide enough resources as to insure sustainability of processes for seven generations). Specifically the University would have achieved such things like; no longer adding chemicals to plants, natural landscaping, a closed water system and sewage plant etc. The reduction in costs foreseeable through implementation of sustainable practices would allow for new technologly to be implemented throughout the University.

Currently the university has many practices that appear to be very economically wastefull, and not always environmentally friendly. The campus of the future would eliminate these wastefull projects, items such as computers that have been deemed outdated by the university could be resold, or donated to local schools or daycares. The money from the resale of the computers could supplement the cost of the upgrades. While this would have economical benifits for the University it would also help increase our public image. A University of the future should be seen as a responsible part of the community, where not only those people who go to school have an opportinuty to learn from what is going on inside.

Ultimately we belive that sustainability is achieveable, not just for the University of Waterloo, it's staff, and students but for the entire community. But, we must act as the leaders towards sustainability. First and foremost, for our group this means the rehabilitation of the creek that runs through our campus and the impacts our neglects has had on the community at large . This neglect has lead to the Silver lake issue, and issue of great importance for the community and the environment .

Due to erosion of riverbanks increased siltation has caused great deposition in the lakebed therefore disturbing habitat by decreasing depth, increasing temperature, and increasing flood potential.

For our campus to be a leader towards sustainability we must take responsibility for our past actions and prepare for our future.


Lisa Straus, Cassandra Daly, Deborah Reid, Matt Graham
ERS 285 Assignment # 1
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