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Expert Q & A | Trina Innes

Expert Q&A:  Trina Innes

Q: What is one thing everyone can do to help the environment?

A: Each and every time you make a purchase, you have the ability to influence the environment. Buy products that minimize negative environmental impacts. Consider the way a product is manufactured, transported, used, recycled or disposed of.

Q: What could a school do to reduce its carbon footprint?

A: Start by understanding your school. Examine the efficiency of your buildings, operational costs and the influence of individual behaviours. Conduct an energy efficiency audit. Examine energy consumption patterns. Survey staff and students about their transportation practices. Determine where you can achieve change and target those areas. The most important thing to do is start!

Q: How should the environment be incorporated in the curriculum?

A: Students should learn about the science of the environment, but they must also learn about the system and the environment's link to our economy and society. Students need opportunities to discover how they interact with the environment, and understand the impacts of their choices and actions. Most important, they need to learn how to make responsible decisions.

Q: Who needs to be empowered in a school to bring about environmental change?

A: Empowerment requires the engagement of government, principals, teachers, students, their families and the community. Government sets the framework and priorities for learning in the curriculum. Principals can champion major investments in the infrastructure of their school and encourage teachers to explore different ways of learning. Teachers have an opportunity to model positive environmental behaviours in their classroom and across the school. Students have an opportunity to influence change within their families by bringing environmental topics home and to their community.

—Trina Innes
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