Whether you have an original research idea and are looking for capstone courses, or you just want to learn more about the environment, there is something for every student within Trinity College and the wider U of T community. Use the blue menu items to explore what current students are up to in the classroom, in their communities and beyond, and have a scroll down this page to see featured student work.
As part of our goal to increase awareness and understanding of complex sustainability issues, we are developing additional opportunities for experiential and embodied learning. By visiting successful sustainability organizations, students witness first-hand the intersection of their classroom knowledge with real-life environmental sustainability challenges. Learn more about some of our initiatives:
Trinity’s Integrated Sustainability Initiative launched a new series – Sustaining Conversation. The first two guests were journalist and best-selling author Linda McQuaig and Archbishop Mark MacDonald. Click poster on right to view.
Through the Sustaining Conversations Series, students and faculty have the opportunity to engage with leaders in sustainability across a variety of spheres.
On March 31, 2022, Prof. Stephen Scharper, Director of the Trinity’s Integrated Sustainability Initiative, sat down with guest speaker Linda McQuaig to discuss the intersections among media representation, corporate power, and the environmental crisis.
Journalist and best-selling author Linda McQuaig has been a rare voice of dissent within the mainstream media. Since 2002, she has written an op-ed column in the Toronto Star, challenging the prevailing economic dogma and championing a more equal and inclusive society. Winner of a National Newspaper Award for investigative reporting, she has probed the business dealings of powerful moguls, including Conrad Black, who publicly called for her to be “horsewhipped.” McQuaig is the author of eight national best-sellers, including Shooting the Hippo: Death by Deficit and Other Canadian Myths, which was selected one of the 25 most influential books of the past 25 years by the Literary Review of Canada. Her latest book is The Sport & Prey of Capitalists: How the Rich Are Stealing Canada’s Public Wealth.
On March 24, 2022, Prof. Stephen Scharper sat down with guest speaker Archbishop Mark MacDonald to discuss the intersections among sustainability, faith, and ongoing reconciliation in the Canadian context. Chloe Kapanen, Integrated Sustainability Initiative Intern and member of Environmental Students’ Union, served as respondent.
The Most Rev. Mark MacDonald is the National Indigenous Anglican Archbishop for the Anglican Church of Canada as well as the North American President for the World Council of Churches. Archbishop Mark MacDonald has published several works on multiculturalism and Evangelism, sacral connections between faith and environment, and Indigenous youth ministries.
Pictured below (left) are Margaret MacMillan Trinity One Program students and graduates on a recent trip to The New Farm, a regenerative organic farm located in Creemore, Ontario. You can also read more about how Trinity One students took classroom learning into the field.
During a field trip to U of T’s Koffler Scientific Reserve (KSR), students in the Butterfield Environment & Sustainability Stream of the Margaret MacMillan Trinity One program had the opportunity to experience first-hand the work of a Conservation Biologist (see photos below: right).
Students can also get involved with the Trinity Food Systems Lab (previously known as the Trinity Sustainable Food Systems Research Group or SFSRG) , which includes students and faculty who are focused on research, action, and learning to realize ecologically sound and socially just food systems. Learn more about the Food Systems Lab’s research and projects. Pictured below: raised garden beds at St. Hilda’s College, July 2022: fruits (tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, peppers) that have started to form and later growing stages of plants (peppers, peas, cucumbers, carrots). View more photos.
Sustainability Speaker Series
As part of Trinity’s Integrated Sustainability Initiative, sustainability studies is being integrated into the College’s academic programs to help equip students with tools to address one of the globe’s most pressing challenges. Trinity’s Ethics, Society & Law Program hosted a new Sustainability Speaker Series focused on the ethics, socio-political context, and the legal environment of sustainability issues.
The Series is organized by the TRN312 “Sustainability Issues in Ethics, Society and Law” course, which is taught by Professor Nicole Spiegelaar, Associate Director of the Trinity’s Integrated Sustainability Initiative, and is co-sponsored by the Trinity’s Integrated Sustainability Initiative and the Ethics, Society & Law Students’ Association. Recent guest speakers included: Darcy Lindberg (Addressing Sustainability Issues with Indigenous Legal Orders); Spotting (and Communicating) a Fake: Debunking the Recycling Myth with Environmental Defence; and Dayna Scott (A Feminist Political Economy of Pollution: Advancing Analytics and Ethics on Toxics and Gender). Click poster on right to view or click here for more information.
Featured Student Work in TRN312: Communicating Knowledge Creatively
The addition of TRN312: Sustainability Issues in Ethics, Society & Law, marks a shift within the Ethics, Society & Law program and embodies the philosophies of the Integrated Sustainability Initiative. Taught by our Associate Director, Professor Nicole Spiegelaar, this course allows students to delve headfirst into issues of environmental justice. Students are encouraged to think creatively about communicating sustainability issues to the broader public by translating academic knowledge as well as political and legal discourse. See below for featured student work.
“Human womb can no longer support life with ease, human mind can no longer calm itself, human body contorts around particles of anthropogenic creation, swelling into tumours of confusion.”
Honour’s piece speaks to Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) reform, plastic pollution, and endocrine disruptors as they relate to women’s health. Follow the YouTube link to read on about the justice needed in this area.
About Honour Stahl
Honour Stahl is a fourth-year undergraduate at U of T majoring in Ethics, Society & Law and minoring in Environmental Ethics, and Buddhism, Psychology and Mental Health. This creative piece is inspired by many aspects of her degree and pulls strongly from her background as a dancer, choreographer and nature-bather. TRN312 was the first course in which she was able to produce genuinely creative work, sparking a new enthusiasm for her university experience and the world of sustainability. She is enjoying her Sustainability Certificate Program and looks forward to pursuing a master’s degree expanding on this project upon graduation. Ask Honour about her research, her involvement with the sustainability initiative or her involvement with the Community Research Partnership in Ethics through social media. LinkedIn
This piece was created digitally and represents the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act that was passed in 2013. The Canadian government has failed to meet many of the requirements in ensuring safe drinking water within First Nations communities and we are now seeing a failure to end long-term drinking water advisories by their target date in 2021. The left side of the piece was inspired by a real image of unclean water within a Nova Scotian Indigenous community and the right side represents the connection to water that is integral to Indigenous spirituality. This portion of the artwork is inspired by the work of Indigenous Canadian artist, Norval Morrisseau.
Hessey, K. (2021, February 25). Temporary Fixes, outdated policies leave some First Nations without safe drinking water: auditor general. Canada’s National Observer.
Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act. S.C. 2013, c. 21. (2019, August 28).
Stefanovich, O., Jones R. (2021, March 10). The federal government vows again to end boil-water advisories but offers no new target date. CBC News.
About Katie Manzer
Katie Manzer is a fourth-year student majoring in Ethics, Society & Law and minoring in Cinema Studies and Philosophy. She is passionate about ethics and the arts and would ideally like to follow a career path that could incorporate both ideas, like promoting ethical concepts through art or creating ethical/children’s media. Katie took TRN312 in her third year at U of T because she wanted to learn more about sustainability and our role in leaving the world better than how we found it, as well as the ways in which global governments allow change or impede it from occurring. The rights of Indigenous Canadians play a vital role in creating a more sustainable world and these communities exemplify the accountability that must be taken by our government. Follow Katie: LinkedIn
Listen as Fayha explores the concept of Carbon Pricing in an easy-to-digest, critical analysis.
About Fayha Najeeb
Fayha Najeeb is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto double majoring in Ethics, Society, and Law and Peace, Conflict, and Justice. Upon graduation, she aspires to attend law school to pursue refugee or immigration law. She recalls TRN312 being a turning point for her in terms of her relationship with the environment as it made her more conscious of her positionality and helped her develop an understanding of the relationship between the environment and the law. Follow Fayha: LinkedIn