Climate Action and Sustainability

Working together to create change—at UBC and beyond.

Three students walking together.

UBC is an agent of change for sustainability, urgent climate action and a more just society. As one of the world’s leading universities on sustainability, we’re responding to the unprecedented challenges of a changing planet by harnessing our individual, collective and institutional powers to accelerate action.

Visit UBC Sustainability to learn more about all the ways that UBC is taking action through teaching and applied learning, research, campus initiatives—such as green buildings, energy management, food, transportation and more—and how you can get involved.

Plus, check out UBC’s Climate Action Plan (CAP 2030) and Climate Emergency Response.

As a member of the UBC community, you are also a significant part of this change. Here are some tips for contributing to climate action and sustainability at UBC and beyond.

What You Can Do

Individual actions

Living in residence is a great way to contribute to sustainability at UBC. By not commuting, you’re already making a big contribution toward emissions reductions.

Here are a few additional ways you can help UBC reduce emissions and reach our collective climate action goals.

Reduce your waste

  • Sort It Out—At UBC, we separate most of our waste into four streams: food scraps, containers, paper and garbage.
  • Choose to Reuse—Help reduce the amount of disposable foodware in landfills and the environment by using reusable mugs, water bottles, food containers and cutlery.

Eat sustainably

  • Enjoy climate-friendly food—Use UBC’s new climate-friendly food labelling system, currently being piloted in residence dining, to help you make informed choices about what you’re eating.
  • Keep it plant-based—at least sometimes! Take part in Meatless Mondays or try limiting meat to just one meal per day. There are lots of great plant-based options on the menu.

Reduce energy use

It takes a lot of energy to provide hot water to our campus buildings. Each year UBC residences use 520 million litres of water. And half of that water is used for showers!

  • Take the 5-minute shower pledge.
  • Use cold water when doing your laundry.
  • Wear warmer layers instead of turning up the heat.

Take responsibility for your belongings

  • Purchase used things instead of new—and buy items that last. Did you know UBC has its own thrift store located in the UBC Life Building?
  • Take care of your belongings—by maintaining, repairing and mending them when possible.
  • Gift, donate or recycle your old stuff—instead of throwing it away.
Caring for yourself is caring for the planet

Connecting with nature is not only great for your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing, it reminds us why our climate and sustainability efforts matter in the first place. Luckily, engaging with nature is easy at UBC!

  • Take regular movement breaks outside—rain or shine!
  • Grow a houseplant—or seven.
  • Explore one of the easily-accessible wooded areas on our beautiful campus.
  • Visit one of UBC’s awesome attractions including Nitobe Memorial Garden, Rose Garden, UBC Farm, UBC Botanical Garden and the Greenheart TreeWalk (just to name a few).
  • Get active in Pacific Spirit Park, with its rich network of trails, right next to campus.
  • Visit one of the spectacular nearby beaches, from Wreck Beach to Kits Beach.
  • Go on a treasure hunt to spot specific plants, trees or birds—like UBC’s biggest tree, a 400-year old Douglas fir, Bald Eagles, Banana Slugs, Sword Ferns and more.

Collective actions

There are lots of great ways you can extend your impact at UBC through community and collective involvement, like joining a residence committee, getting involved in a campus-wide initiative, taking a course and more!


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