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Round Square Takes Part in Sustainability Summit

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On February 21, three Senior School Round Square Students participated in a fun online Sustainability Spotlight Summit organized by Pearson World College. Students enjoyed guest speakers and breakout rooms where they could discuss individual topics. 

“I was keen to offer this opportunity to anyone available and interested in our 40 member strong Round Square Committee, as many of them have expressed interest in local and global issues around climate change,” said Ms. Sarah McKerlich, Senior School Round Square Coordinator. “The fact that this Sustainability event was run by students at Pearson College, a United World College school, which was also founded by Round Square founder Kurt Hahn, and that this online opportunity was in our timezone made this a good fit.”

Stephanie Borissov ’21, Sophie Pathak ’24 and Eya Ibrahim ’22 all participated in the summit, and they said they enjoyed learning new information and engaging in discussions with other students from around the world. 

“The summit was all about sustainability and climate change, and how we as youth and anyone interested in the cause can make a difference and change,” explained Stephanie. 

There were three keynote speakers at the summit: Elizabeth May, Parliamentary Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands; Barb McMahon, Founder of Sprouting Chefs; and Lilah Williamson, climate activist. 

“It was a really good reminder for youth in particular the urgency of taking action and that climate change matters,” said Eya. “All these people were telling us to pressure the adults in our community, pressure our local MPs because climate change isn’t an issue that we can just put aside, it’s something we really need to take action on and do that immediately otherwise there might not be a future—and it’s our future that is the hands of these big corporations, so it’s important that we start now.” 

Stephanie agreed with Eya, especially because the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many issues, such as climate change, away from the forefront. 

“Elizabeth May said we need to treat the climate crisis the same way we are treating COVID-19—it is a crisis and that was really powerful to hear,” she said. 

Sophia said this was the first conference she attended online, and she was interested to see how it would work and to listen to the different speakers. 

“It was cool to see all the different perspectives and see what they had done to help with climate change,” she said. “My biggest takeaway was that you can make a difference in your community, and small actions can make a big difference.”

Overall, the students enjoyed their experience of the conference as it allowed them to not only see local, but global perspectives on issues that are important to them. 

“It was a really nice event. I know the person who was organizing it and it was nice to see someone in my community who was taking action,” said Eya. “There was a lot of global engagement and we felt empowered and it was fun to talk to different people. There were breakout rooms where we could discuss issues important to us, and there was the aspect of, what are you going to do to make a change in the community? So it was interesting to hear everyone’s ideas.”