WATCH ABOVE: A high school just east of Toronto is receiving high honours for going green. Christina Stevens reports.
TORONTO – Dunbarton High School, located in Pickering, Ont., has been named the “greenest school on Earth” after receiving the award from the U.S. Building Council.
Dunbarton beat out more than 40 other top environmental schools from across the planet, and the students were thrilled with the win.
“National and the world, that’s insane,” said Shantosh Pushparajah, a member of the school’s environmental council.
The Grade 10 student said he got involved in environmental issues when he learned about global warming.
“I was devastated, so I decided I need to make a difference,” said Shantosh.
His favourite project has been building “bee condos” which house individual bees.
The school has been involved with so many initiatives the school has a hard time listing them all.
Dunbarton has planted more than 70 native trees on school property to help the environment, and taken care of fish roe to help regenerate nearby rivers. By making sure all students use refillable water bottles, tens of thousands of plastic bottles have been saved from being tossed out.
They even started a composting program which requires students to take the weekly compost to neighbours’ houses for pick up, because the school district won’t do it.
David Gordon, a teacher at the school, has been instrumental in pushing the students along.
“What I say to them is it’s not good enough to just talk about stuff, you have to actually act,” said Gordon.
Claire Smith, president of the Dunbarton environmental council, pointed out the environment has to be treated with respect.
“It’s going to be the place we live in for the rest of our lives,” said Smith
Their attitudes and actions are a start contrast to a report giving Canadians a low grade for protecting the environment.
National Geographic’s “Greendex” puts Canada 17th out of 18 countries for sustainable consumerism. Only the U.S. scored lower.
According to the report Canadians are among the most frequent to recycle. However, transportation remains weak with nearly one third of Canadians driving a minivan or SUV.
Canadians are among the most frequent to drive solo, and least frequent to use public transportation.
Dunbarton students are hoping some of their passion for the environment rubs off on those who can’t be bothered.
“They just kind of take, take, take. They never try and give back, so hopefully, as a part of environmental council we can give back a little bit and inspire other people to give back too,” said Grade 11 student Kelby Ann McKenzi.
The students agreed that while they are proud of the award, they take the most pride in having made a difference.