The Unfair Four

palm oilThere seem to be certain issues that get pushed aside by the media and most of the world because they are deemed to be not as important as everything we do see on the news, however, they are very important to me. This is all in regards to the unjust treatment of non-humans. While I have chosen only four items to speak about, it is important to keep in mind that there are so many more which need attention as well.

Firstly, there is the issue of shark fin soup. Shark fin soup is a delicacy in China and a few other Asian countries, made by using the fins of sharks. An estimated 100 million sharks are killed per year for shark fin soup, and, in reality, the fins actually don’t add any flavour to the soup, but considering that a bowl costs upwards of $100, it is a huge money making industry that has no plan in stopping anytime soon. Unfortunately, for the longest time sharks were the face of beasts and killers, which makes it harder to get people to agree to save them. But considering the ratio of 100 million sharks we kill vs. the less than one human that they kill per year, I’d say it’s time for their image to change.

Secondly, there is the issue of palm oil. Big producers of palm oil destroy rainforests and the natural habitats of animals like elephants, orangutans, tigers, and rhinos. Not only does it destroy their homes but it can also seriously injure them since one of the methods used to gather palm oil is by burning the trees. In fact, one of the top producers of modified palm oil is the brand Nutella. However, palm oil isn’t only found in food but also in products like creams, soaps, shampoo, and many others. So, in the future, check the list of ingredients of a product and if you read “Modified Palm Oil”, take a moment to consider whether it’s really worth it.

Thirdly, I’m sure that nearly everybody has been to a zoo before, and maybe even got the chance to pet a lion or a tiger, either an adult or perhaps a cub. However, most people aren’t aware that those poor animals were actually drugged. Sometimes to make them fully unconscious, but most of the time just to make them a little bit calmer than they should be, because to the zoo workers the only well-being that matters is that of the people who are paying. Also, most zoos really don’t care about their animals since an animal like a polar bear, that should be living in the snow at negative temperatures, is currently living in San Diego, baking in the sun.

Finally, I think that most people have heard of the controversy at SeaWorld. Recently, ex-SeaWorld trainers began speaking out about what really happens within the walls once the spectators leave. Orcas are actually very similar to humans in the way that their brains function and that their bodies and health need to be maintained. Long story short, the whales were being kept in dirty, small enclosures, which damaged their bodies and even drove some to the point of insanity where they would try, and sometimes succeed, to commit suicide by ramming themselves into the metal walls. Females are forced to breed, only to have their babies taken away from them right after birth and moved to another park thousands of miles away. In the wild, Orcas usually live until about 50 or 60 years old, when they usually die of old age. In captivity, orcas very rarely make it past their teens, and none have ever died of old age. This past week, an 18 year old female orca named Unna died at SeaWorld San Antonio after “contracting a harmful strain of fungus”, which was due to poor living conditions. Campaigns like #emptythetanks and #thanksbutnotanks have been popping up all over the place, and you can do your part by taking part in the movement, and also by informing yourself more by watching BlackFish, which was the first push made by ex-trainers when they began speaking out, and it is really an amazing film. Also, try to inform others and make sure that they don’t buy a ticket.

There are a few people or small organizations that inspired me the most to make changes in my everyday life to help these beings. The one that influenced me the most is Keiko Conservation. Their main goal is to spread awareness, and they are so inspiring to me because they are three young girls from different places in the world who are actually making a huge difference and shining light on so many things most people don’t even know are happening. Black Jaguar White Tiger is a sanctuary in Mexico where they take in felines from zoos and circuses that have been mistreated. Third is Shark Addicts, from Jupiter Florida, and they go down into the ocean everyday to take hooks out of the mouths of sharks that people tried to fish. I love what they do because they have really helped changed the image of sharks to a species that desperately needs our protection.

On top of the ones that I mentioned, there is so much more that occurs everyday regarding beings other than humans that we could try to help end. Sadly, it would be nearly impossible for a small group of people who care to stop the Japanese dolphin slaughter or save rhinos from poachers, but we can all start with small things, like throwing your trash out so that it doesn’t end up in the ocean, or simply by cutting down your meat intake. Another great thing to do is to check out change.org, where you can subscribe to them to get updates not only about animals but about plenty of occurrences around the world that aren’t featured in the media, and that with your signature you can help end.

Thanks for reading! I hope that I have brought awareness to these important issues and that you can help me and the thousands of other people in speaking for those without a voice. – Alyssa Obrand ’16

COP21     

Blog_COP21_SolarPanels_Pic_27Nov2015I was driving along highway 401 on the recent mid-term weekend. At Ingleside, Ontario we passed a large solar panel farm on the south side of the road. It’s an impressive facility that is situated on previously underused land, close to the Ontario Hydro power grid. It opened last spring and covers 100 acres. Forty-three thousand solar panels cover the land and provide enough electricity to power 1,800 homes (16.8 gigawats/hour). The private company is now looking for other similar opportunities in Ontario.

I was impressed by this facility. A quick look online also revealed that much larger solar parks are becoming quite prevalent across the world, especially in sunnier climates.

The largest are in California’s deserts. Whereas the solar farm I saw near the 401 had 43,000 panels on 100 acres of land, the largest solar farms in California are mammoth – with 1.7 million solar panels over 13 square kilometers. Impressively, a single such facility powers close to 150-thousand homes. Other parks use large mirrors that generate heat – another innovation that channels abundant natural energy available from the sun.

Solar parks of this size are also now emerging in India, Pakistan, China, along with smaller but significant projects across Europe.

So on the eve of the global UN environment conference in Paris – COP 21 – I think we should all investigate the growing application of renewable energy – solar, wind and other natural initiatives such as wave power. They are now becoming significant elements of countries’ national energy infrastructures and priorities. Let’s hope that innovation will continue to present new alternatives and help us to meaningfully diminish our dependence on fossil fuels. – Chris Shannon, Headmaster

Solisterra: Building Model Rocket Stoves & Memories that will last a Lifetime

LCC is privileged to go on annual trips to Solisterra. Whether for grade 8 enriched math, Green Team leadership, or senior service trips, we have been going on these trips for the last five years.

The very first year LCC students went to Solisterra, they built a three-storey playhouse fully equipped with a fireman’s pole and slide. The next year, the students participated in a community project building a gazebo in Kazabazua made from the ruins from the oldest house in the town. During the third year, our most “ambitious” year, the students built an 80 foot tall windmill made with cement blocks weighing 1.2 tons each–not to mention the straw bale workshop as well as chicken coop which is now home to 15 roosters and hens. The following year, student leadership along with the grade 8 enriched class built a solar shower, straw bale generator shed, chicken run and rocket stove to keep the chickens warm. In April of this year, the senior service trip students finished the solar shower and straw bale workshop. A big thank you to all who have participated over the years.

I was lucky enough to be a part of this year’s enriched math trip and I would like to share what it was like for us.

Three weeks ago, 20 of my classmates, Ms. Webster, Ms. Saunders, Mr. Clark, M. Tremblay and I embarked on a three-hour bus ride to Solisterra not quite knowing what to expect. When we arrived, we quickly learned that bug spray was absolutely no help against the vicious swarms of insects that attacked us the second we walked off the bus. Ms Saunders got us quickly engaged building model rocket stoves followed by roasting marshmallows and a nighttime hike. For our sleeping quarters we were separated into two houses, Pinia and Rose.

The next day we were on the building worksite by 7:30 am after consuming the best homemade bread ever. One small group went to parge, another worked on the rocket stove bench, and the other worked on a pizza and bread oven. The work was hard and tiring, but always exciting and rewarding. Thank goodness for the amazing snacks and meals that were made for us by Deb! We spent the next two days alternating projects and having a blast. It goes without saying that we were all a bit reluctant to get on that bus back to the city.

I’m so grateful to all the people who helped to make this trip a reality and on behalf of all the students who attended, wish to thank to Ms. Saunders, Ms. Webster, Mr. Clark and M. Tremblay. We had a great time and we made new memories and strong bonds that will last us long past our graduation. –Emma Belhadfa ’18

Des élèves de LCC se sont unis pour rendre une beauté aux rivages du Canal Lachine

Blog_Clean_LachineCanalChaque année, des milliers de Canadiens s’unissent pour lutter contre les déchets riverains, qui menacent gravement nos voies d’eau navigables, et prennent part au Grand nettoyage des rivages canadiens. Il s’agit d’une initiative de conservation de l’Aquarium de Vancouver et le WWF et du plus important programme de conservation par l’action directe au Canada.

De plus, un des piliers du Round Square est la protection et la prise de conscience de l’environnement, il est donc logique que nous soyons impliqués.

À ce jour, le Grand nettoyage des rivages a mobilisé plus de 500 000 Canadiens des quatre coins du pays pour contribuer à garder nos rivières, lacs et océans en santé pour les collectivités et les espèces sauvages qui en dépendent.

Un groupe d’élèves du Middle School de Lower Canada College a prêté main-forte à la lutte contre les déchets riverains en procédant au nettoyage du Canal Lachine entre Wellington et Charlevoix, le samedi 2 mai 2015 de 10h00 à 12h00.

Voici des exemples de ce que les élèves ont ramassé :

– Mégots de cigarettes (en grande quantité), bouchons de bouteille de bière, sacs en plastique sur les berges et dans le canal, portes manteaux, aérosols…

Voici quelques impressions des participants :

« J’ai du mal à comprendre comment, j’ai pu trouver un pot d’échappement de voiture au bord du canal! »

« C’était génial de pouvoir aider notre environnement de cette façon! The amount of trash accumulated in the canal was crazy! »

« J’étais contente d’être capable d’aider l’environnement et c’était amusant de le faire avec mes amis. »

“The Great Canadian Shoreline cleanup was a chance us to take care of the Lachine Canal’s waters and shores in the morning.”

« C’était une bonne expérience, où nous étions conscient des conséquences directes de ces déchets sur les océans. »

“I was very surprised about how much garbage was being thrown on the ground especially when the trash can was just a few feet away.”

« J’étais dégouté par tous les mégots de cigarette, de plastique et les nombreux autres déchets qui polluent la Terre. »

Photo gallery

Results
Lachine_Canal_CleanUp_Results

 

 

Earth Week

Earth_Week_LogoWelcome to Earth Week at LCC!

Nine years ago LCC began a major overhaul of key elements of school operations aimed at minimizing our impact on the local environment. Significant funds were spent on new energy efficient furnaces, renewal of old ventilation systems, and the installation of energy efficient lighting. We know that those system changes have saved the school well over $1million in energy costs.

For the past several years one of our school’s strategic priorities has been a greater concentration on enhanced environmental practices. Many projects have been initiated. We now work with an outside environmental consulting company and concentrate on eight separate categories for environmental enhancement. Most are measurable and provide concrete evidence and benchmarks of how we are doing from year to year. The 8 areas are the following:

  1. Energy Consumption
  2. Procurement
  3. Waste management
  4. Water management 
  5. Emissions
  6. Land use
  7. Food systems
  8. Community Outreach & Education

In each of these categories we can measure from year to year how well we are doing. For example, last year we saved 35-thousand litres of water per- student because of system enhancements, and over the year we also saved approximately 36-hundred kilowatts of power per student. We will have data for each of the categories again at the end of this school year for comparative purposes.

In 2010 our Board formally adopted a “Sustainability Commitment” to guide us institutionally and our students have become active as members of our Green Team and Junior School Recycling Squad. It is impressive to witness students teaching students on this topic that is so vital for our future in Canada and across the community of nations.

My thanks to students who are committed volunteers, especially Green Team members for their leadership, initiative and courage in the name of sustainability.  Whether it’s an anti-idling campaign, “no-waste lunches”, our students are proactive and are making a difference.

We only have one planet. However large or small, let’s all find ways to protect our natural world. We need to share the mindset that we do so for our children’s children’s children and beyond. – Chris Shannon, Headmaster