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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, 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


Ozone Day:
September 16th, 2015

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

The United Nations International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is celebrated each year around the world on September 16. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, a multilateral agreement designed to protect the ozone layer and eliminate the use of ozone depleting substances. This landmark treaty and the Montreal Protocol that followed have been hailed as prime examples of successful global cooperation to protect our environment. The slogan for this year’s celebration is “Ozone: All there is between you and UV”

On this special day, primary and secondary school educators throughout the world are encouraged to organize classroom activities that focus on topics related to the ozone layer and its protection.

Why Care About The Ozone Layer?

  • Inuvik Sky - Photo Credit: Dawn BazelyThe ozone layer acts as an atmospheric shield. All life on earth depends on its protection from the lethal levels of ultraviolet radiation produced by the sun.
  • Cause and effect has been established between a thinning of the ozone layer and increased incidence of skin cancer.
  • Declines in crop yields of up to 50% in some countries have been linked to increased amounts of incoming UV radiation. A thinner ozone layer is also a factor in the declining concentrations of phytoplankton that support aquatic food webs.
  • Products emitting ozone depleting substances are still produced and consumed throughout the world.
  • Many ozone depleting substances remain active in the atmosphere for 50 to 100 years.
  • Most ozone depleting substances are also greenhouse gases.
  • Protection efforts to date are making a difference. According to the US EPA, the ozone layer has not grown thinner since 1998 and the total abundance of ODS in the atmosphere is decreasing.

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. 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 International Day for the preservation of the Ozone Layer 2015 website.

Great Canadian Shoreline Clean Up TM
FALL 2015

Aquatic habitats deliver goods and services that are essential to all life forms on our planet. Unfortunately human impacts from industrial, commercial and recreational activities are directly or indirectly threatening the health and sustainability of these critical areas.

Taking part in a shoreline or riparian zone clean up can help students appreciate the importance of aquatic ecosystems while making a meaningful contribution to their communities. A shoreline clean-up can also be an enjoyable experience for students and great way to start off the school year!

Why Care About Aquatic Ecosystems and Shorelines?

  • All forms of wildlife require water, food and shelter from predators and the elements. Healthy shorelines provide all of these.
  • Shorelines offer an amazing variety of habitat types that support much of the planet’s biodiversity.
  • Healthy shorelines are requirements for healthy water quality.
  • Two-thirds of the world’s major cities are situated along coasts and millions of people vacation on shorelines each year.
  • Human disturbances are destroying coastal habitats and the ecological and economic services they provide.
  • Shoreline pollution also makes its way into pelagic zones killing aquatic life, threatening human health, causing toxic algae blooms and forcing beach closures.
  • Currents often carry pollutants far from their source of entry where species consume and absorb them.
  • It is estimated that up to 1.5 million tons of trash and debris forced into the ocean as a result of the 2011 tsunami in Japan will wash up on Canada’s Pacific shores.

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in this year's edition of the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean UpTM . Top R4R Picks will connect you to some excellent resources to extend the learning and support this action project.

For more ideas and information visit