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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 Food Day
October 16, 2015

World Food Day was established in 1979 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to raise public awareness of global food issues and to strengthen efforts to end hunger and malnutrition. This year’s theme “Social Protection and Agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty", has been chosen to highlight the need for government policies and programmes in order to reduce vulnerability to food insecurity among the world’s poorest people. World Food Day is an occasion to focus our attention on the crucial role played by social protection in eradicating hunger and poverty.

It is hoped that students and teachers around the world will mark this occasion by participating in classroom activities that explore key food –related issues and support those who do not have physical and/or economic access to enough nutritious food to lead healthy lives.


  • Food is vital to human survival and well-being. It is a fundamental human necessity.
  • Today there are more than 870 million chronically undernourshed individuals worldwide.(FAO,2013)
  • More than one-third of all children are malnourished and 6 million children a year die of causes related to malnutrition.
  • Most of the world's hungry people are found in the developing world, but 34 million live in the developed world. 
  • School Boards across Canada are re-thinking food choices in an effort to battle poor nutritional habits among children.
  • Experts agree that there is enough food in the world for everyone to have enough to eat, but it is unevenly distributed.
  • Many people in the developing world have been forced to eat less because of the higher cost of food.
  • Soil degradation, chronic water shortages, inappropriate agricultu5al policies, and population growth continue to threaten food production in many countries.    
  • Farmers in the developing world gain huge benefits from agricultural cooperatives including bargaining power and resource sharing that lead to food security and poverty reduction for millions.
  • There are more than 570 million farms world wide of which 500 million are family owned*
  • Family farms are responsible for 56% of all agricultural production*

*Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. 2014

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

For more information regarding World Food Day 2015, be sure to visit the FAO website.

Waste Reduction Week in Canada
October 19-25, 2015

Waste reduction week became a national initiative in 2001 with the goal of engaging and empowering Canadians to reduce, reuse and recycle waste. Built on the theme, Too Good to Waste, this week-long campaign highlights the role that waste reduction can play in solving many of our environmental problems.



Waste Reduction Week offers students and teachers from across Canada an excellent opportunity to explore the social, economic and environmental impacts of waste and to take action within their communities to make a positive difference.

Why Care about Waste Reduction? 

  • Across Canada it costs more than $1.5 billion per year to dispose of garbage
  • There are well over 10,000 landfill sites in Canada.
  • Landfill sites account for about 38% of Canada's total methane emissions
  • A plastic bag will take approximately 400 years to break down in a landfill
  • 70% of land-filled waste could be either reused or recycled
  • 5 billion drink boxes are thrown away each year in North AmericaIn a lifetime, the average Canadian will throw away 600 x his or her adult weight in garbage.
  • A 68 kg adult will leave a legacy of 40,825 kg of trash.
  • By the age of 6 months the average Canadian has consumed the same quantity of resources as the average person in the developing world consumes in a lifetime.

  • E-waste is the fastest growing source of waste in North America

  • Only 11% of e-waste is recycled

  • Most e-waste is shipped overseas or land-filled, where chemicals such as lead and mercury can leach into the groundwater and soil.

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in Waste Reduction Week and offers the following suggestions to support this year’s theme.

For more information and activities be sure to check out the Waste Reduction Week in Canada 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