About EfS (Education for Sustainability) program at The University of British Columbia

This Is Our Story

UBC’s Education for Sustainability program is inspired by an Adaptive Education pedagogy, designed in an on-going relationship between city studio and the City of Vancouver. This means that we are learning about sustainability by contributing to real world projects in the city. 

Our students come from an eclectic background. Our first cohort was made up of 15 people from all walks of life. We've had a lawyer, a politician, teachers, a filmmaker, and many more. 

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To disregard the problems facing the Earth and to proceed with business as usual in education would be a betrayal of trust. We need a new way of learning that guides our culture into harmony with the earth’s living systems again. Enter the EfS program. We take students outside the classroom and into the real world where they create projects that make our communities more sustainable. Our projects address 4 problems in our community: Loneliness, unused terrain, food waste, and a lack biodiversity in the city.


At any given time in north america, 40% of people are lonely. Vancouver is no exception. When people are lonely, they don’t take part in community. And without active communities, it’s unlikely that we will resolve the many ecological issues that our communities face. To tackle loneliness, we have created an awareness campaign that has taken the form of 2 films. We are Alone Together and more information can be found HERE.


Accessing Vacant Land:  

Because land in Vancouver is so unaffordable, it’s difficult for communities to find space for themselves. Yet there are over 300 parcels of abandoned industrial land in the city that sit unused. We are a social enterprise aiming to make vacant land accessible to communities in Vancouver. We are identifying vacant sites with the goal to empower and mobilize communities around a common vision that is portable, scaleable and for interim temporary use with the objective of increasing neighbourhood social capital. The name of our social enterprise is Unused Terrain and more information can be found HERE.


Food Waste: 

Every year metro-Vancouver wastes 100, 000 tonnes of edible food. We are working towards reducing this food waste by creating interactive modules for elementary and high school students to inspire them to be creative in their reduction habits and to share their knowledge with others. By sharing stories about food we will encourage them to see the food that we are allowing to go to waste as worthy of being used and consumed in healthy ways. Our social enterprise is called Food Worthy and more information can be found HERE. 


A lack of biodiversity:

We’ve paved over a rainforest to make Vancouver. And all this concrete can look rather gloomy. We want to engage residents in increasing plant life in the city. We are focusing on the residential spaces which are not on city property but have an opportunity to enhance our urban landscape. We are the Rewilders and more information can be found HERE.


And Make A Difference