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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

Fall 2015

World Food Day

October 16

Waste Reduction Week

October 19-25, 2015

World Fisheries Day

November 21

Buy Nothing Day

November 28, 2015

COP 20: UN Climate Change Conference

December 1-12, 2015

World Wetlands Day

February 2

World Day of Social Justice

February 20

World Water Day

March 22

Earth Hour

March 26, 2016

Earth Day

April 22

International Day for Biological Diversity

May 22

World Environment Day

June 5, 2016

National Aboriginal Day

June 21

Canada Day

July 1


World Fisheries Day:
November 21st, 2015

World Fisheries Day was established to draw attention to overfishing, habitat destruction and other serious threats to the sustainability of our marine and freshwater resources.  Observance can also help bring awareness of the importance of aquatic environments in sustaining life both in and out of water. Through participation in engaging classroom activities on this special day, young people can be encouraged to help make a difference in the health of our aquatic ecosystems and the variety of species they support.

Why Care about Fisheries?

  • Fisheries and aquaculture employ more than 43 million individuals worldwide.
  • More than 25% of the world’s dietary protein is provided by fish.
  • The human population consumes over 100 million metric tons of fish annually 
  • Each year the Canadian fishery lands over 1 million metric tons of fish valued in excess of 2 billion dollars.
  • Globally, annual fisheries exports are valued at 85 to 90 billion dollars.
  • A recent United Nations study reported that more than two-thirds of the world's fisheries have collapsed or are currently being overfished. Much of the remaining one third is in a state of decline because habitat degradation from pollution and climate change.
  • The largest Northern Cod fishery in the world was located off the coast of Newfoundland.  This engine of the Newfoundland economy collapsed in the early 1990’s due to overfishing and poor fisheries management.  Ten years later Newfoundland’s cod fishery remains closed.
  • Escalating amounts of point and non-point pollution continue to threaten water quality and fish habitat
  • All natural fish stocks today contain at least trace amounts of mercury.

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in World Fisheries Day.  Top R4R Picks will connect you to some excellent resources to support these efforts.

Other Classroom Resources from Learning for a Sustainable Future

For more information and activities be sure to check out the World Fisheries Day website.

Buy Nothing Day:
November 28th, 2015

Spend a day without spending!  The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Vancouver in 1992 to draw attention to the role played by advertising in overconsumption in the developed world. It has since grown into an international effort to underscore the environmental, ethical and social consequences of consumerism.   Celebrated in North America on the day after American Thanksgiving, Buy Nothing Day marks what has traditionally become known as the first day of the Christmas shopping season.  It is an excellent occasion to stop and think about the serious effects that ‘what’ and ‘how much’ we buy are having on the environment and on those living in the developing world where much of what we consume is produced.   

In anticipation of Buy Nothing Day 2015, teachers and students from around the world will be exploring the benefits of consuming less, re-using more and challenging companies to clean up and be fair.


  • Source: http://thecouponproject.com20% of the world’s population lives in the developed world and consumes 80% of the earth's natural resources.  In other words we are consuming far more than our share of the earth’s wealth while causing a disproportionate amount of environmental damage.
  • According to United Nations, the average North American consumes 35 times more of the earth’s resources than a person living in India?
  • Currently four to six hectares of land are required to sustain the consumption demands of the average person from a high-consumption country like Canada.
  • Advertisers spend an average of $370 a year on every person in Canada to get us to buy their stuff.  Over $200,000,000,000 is spent on product advertising world-wide.
  • More and more of the goods we consume are produced in developing countries where labor is cheap and fewer safeguards are in place to protect workers and the environment.
  • Today’s consumption is undermining the environmental resource base of our planet.  60% of the Earth’s ecosystem services have been degraded in the past 50 years
  • The raw materials and production methods used to make many of the products we consume have harmful side effects on the health of humans, wildlife and the environment.
  • Consumers are constantly forced to buy excessive and unnecessary packaging used by manufacturers, box stores, and supermarkets to increase product appeal.
  • Many of the materials used in product packaging cannot be re-used or recycled.
  • While recycling is good for the environment, consuming less is even better.

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in the Buy Nothing Day.  Top R4R Picks will connect you to some excellent resources to further explore the issues related to consumerism.

For more information on activities taking place around the world check out Buy Nothing Day.