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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


World Water Day:
March 22nd, 2015

World Water Day was conceived during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Since then the goal of the annual celebration has been to draw international attention to the need for sustainable management of this vital resource. Each year World Water Day highlights a different aspect of freshwater. This year’s theme is "Water and Sustainable Development". From food security to human and environmental health, water and the services it provides are essential to the well-being and quality of all life.1

World Water Day provides teachers and students with an excellent opportunity to explore the role of water in sustaining life and to become actively involved in water issues affecting their own communities.

Why Care about World Water Day?

  • While 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water, less than .003% of this water is potable.
  • Clean, freshwater is a basic requirement for all life, yet the earth’s water resources are facing increasing threats and demands from users.
  • 75% of the water consumed by industry is used in energy production.
  • There are currently more than one billion people without a supply of safe drinking water or access to electricity.
  • Everyday women spend >200 million hours carrying water
  • Canada’s per capita use of water is higher than anywhere else in the world.
  • More water is required to manufacture a car than to fill a swimming pool
  • For many of the 500,000 Canadians living on First Nations reserves, access to safe drinking water remains a major challenge.
  • Water is an integral part of the earth’s web of ecosystems, providing critical habitat for wildlife.
  • Canadians depend on healthy aquatic ecosystems to provide essential economic and social services.

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

Other Resources:

  • Project FLOW (For the Love of Water) engages elementary and secondary students in action that addresses local water issues and concerns.

1 For more information and ideas be sure to check out World Water Day

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 2012. 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.