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Hot Topics Calendar

Exploring current issues in the classroom

This feature was developed by Resources for Rethinking to connect students to some of the efforts being made to solve important problems that are affecting our planet. Hot Topics are published during the school year to coincide with the timing of national and international campaigns taking place to raise awareness of these key issues.

Each Hot Topic edition includes links to classroom materials from theResources for Rethinking database that will encourage students and teachers to explore the environmental, economic and social dimensions of these issues and to take action in support of the larger campaign.

Hot Topics Calendar

UN International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

September 16

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

September 20-28, 2014

World Food Day

October 16

Waste Reduction Week

October 20-26, 2014

World Fisheries Day

November 21

Buy Nothing Day

November 28, 2014

COP 20: UN Climate Change Conference

December 1-12, 2014

World Wetlands Day

February 2

World Day of Social Justice

February 20

World Water Day

March 22

Earth Hour

March 28, 2015

Earth Day

April 22

International Day for Biological Diversity

May 22

Canadian Enviroment Week

June 1-7, 2014

National Aboriginal Day

June 21

Canada Day

July 1


Earth Hour: 8:30 PM
March 28th, 2015

Earth Hour had its beginning in Sydney, Australia in 2007.  Since then it has quickly become a global environmental movement uniting people from all nations in an urgent call for action on climate change.  This year hundreds of millions of people around the world will turn 'lights out' for one hour to show their commitment to  helping something we all have in common- the planet.

For young people, Earth Hour can be a visual reminder that important environmental issues don't have to overwhelm us and that there are small things we can do every day to bring about a better future.  The days leading up to March 29th are an excellent time for students and teachers to explore climate change in the classroom and bring meaning to participation in Earth Hour.

Why Participate in Earth Hour?

Climate change is altering the planet.  Severe environmental, economic and social consequences are becoming more and more common as global temperatures increase. 

  • Rising temperatures due to global warming threaten to increase flooding and droughts, putting millions of homes at risk and endangering as many as 30 percent of animal species, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, the leading driver of climate change, have increased by 32% in the last 15 years (WWF Canada 2014)
  • Melting permafrost will affect development in our northern communities.  Rising sea levels and more severe storms will cause flooding for those living along the Atlantic coast and water supplies will be threatened in prairie cities. (NRC Canada, 2013)
  • Two-thirds of the world's polar bears could be lost within 50 years as a result of retreating sea ice, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
  • The IPCC estimates 3 billion or more people will be at risk of water shortage due to climate change in the decades ahead.
  • Research conducted by the NRDC shows that if present trends continue, the total cost of global warming over the next century will be measured in the trillions of dollars.
  • Emissions from the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity cause air pollution and are a key contributing factor to thousands of hospital stays and premature deaths in Canada each year.

Climate change will increasingly affect human health, species distribution and the ability of the planet to provide.   How we deal with climate change is a crucial discussion that teachers and students should be actively engaged in.

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in Earth Hour 2015. Top R4R Picks will connect you to some excellent resources to support these efforts.

For more information and activities be sure to check out the Earth Hour Canada and Earth Hour Global websites.


Earth Day
April 22nd, 2015

It is expected that 6 million Canadians will join more than a billion people from 192 countries to participate in the 45th anniversary of Earth Day.  Since 1970 Earth Day organizers around the world have celebrated April 22 by staging events and projects that encourage citizens to address local environmental issues.  Schools have played an increasingly significant role in promoting Earth Day and it is hoped that every child in Canada will have the opportunity to take part in Earth Day activities this year. 

Why Celebrate Earth Day?

  • Earth Day draws attention to the planet and our dependence on it for survival.
  • Earth Day can raise awareness of key environmental problems that threaten earth’s ability to support life.
  • Earth Day can highlight the importance of sustainable development and promote the necessary changes in human practice to achieve its results.
  • Earth Day can provide the motivation and opportunity for participants to take action to improve the environment of their local communities.
  • Earth Day presents an excellent interdisciplinary theme for schools to celebrate.
  • Earth Day celebrations give schools a great opportunity to model environmental stewardship.

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in Earth Day

2015. Top R4R Picks will connect you to some excellent resources to support these efforts.

For more information and activities be sure to check out the Earth Day Canada website.