Email sign-up

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

World Environment Day

June 5, 2015

National Aboriginal Day

June 21

Canada Day

July 1


International Day for Biological Diversity
May 22nd, 2015

May 22nd is recognized around the world as the International Day for Biodiversity.   In 1993 the United Nations proclaimed this annual celebration to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity and to encourage the protection of all species.  The theme for this year’s event is 'Bioiversity for Sustainable Development'.

While this theme was chosen by the United Nations General Assembly to emphasize the relationship between biodiversity and sustainable development, The International Day for Biological Diversity provides an excellent opportunity for students and teachers to explore biodiversity issues within their own communities.

Why Care About Biological Diversity?

  • The more biodiverse an ecosystem, the greater its ability to withstand disturbance.
  • Even the smallest and most obscure species play vital roles in sustaining the web of life in all ecosystems.
  • Biodiversity provides goods and services essential for human health – including nutrients, clean air and water and regulation of pests and vector-based diseases
  • Biodiversity is a vital asset in global and local economies
  • The extinction of each additional species brings the irreversible loss of unique genetic codes which are often linked to development of medicines, crops, and jobs.
  • Of the top 150 prescription drugs, 118 originally have come from living creatures. Cures for existing and future diseases may well be found in nature’s inventory of species. The potential pharmaceutical value of marine ecosystems is estimated at more than five trillion dollars.
  • Not since the disappearance of the dinosaurs has the rate of species extinction been greater than today. Virtually all of this loss is being caused by human activities.
  • Clean and secure supplies of water depend on biodiversity.
  • Food production also depends on biodiversity and the services provided by ecosystems.
  • The loss of biodiversity is perhaps the only truly irreversible global environmental change the Earth faces today.

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in the International Day for Biological Diversity. Top R4R Picks will connect you to some excellent resources to support these efforts.

Other Resource:

World Environment Day:
June 5, 2015

World Environment Day was established by the United Nations in 1972 to encourage global action on behalf of the environment.  A primary objective of this special occasion is to personalize environmental issues and help people realize not only their responsibility, but also their power to become agents for change in support of sustainable and equitable development. This year's theme is "Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care."

Canadian Environment Week is held annually during the first week of June to coincide with World Environment Day.  Other highlights of this week-long event In addition to marking World Environment Day, this week-long  event include Clean Air Day (June 4) and World Oceans Day (June 8). 

World Environment Day and Canadian Environment Week provide many opportunities for teachers and students to investigate a range of important environmental issues and bring about positive changes within their own communities.

Why Participate in Canadian Environment Week & World Environment Day?

  • Canadian Environment Week can help focus attention on important issues related to our environment and our quality of life.
  • Participation in Canadian Environment Week can demonstrate the importance of individual efforts in caring for the environment.
  • Canadian Environment Week can provide opportunities to recognize our shortcomings and celebrate our achievements in protecting the environment.
  • Canadian Environment Week is a great time for students to get outside and make real contributions to improve local environments.

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in the Canadian Environment Week.  Top R4R Picks will connect you to some excellent resources to support these efforts.

For more information and activities to support this special week, be sure to check:

National Aboriginal Day:
June 21, 2015

National Aboriginal Day was first proclaimed in 1996 by then Governor General Romeo LeBlanc to honour the unique heritage and outstanding contributions of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. In consultation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations, June 21 was selected because of the significance of the summer solstice in Aboriginal culture and tradition. June 21st marks the official start of Celebrate Canada which in addition to National Aboriginal Day, includes Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (June 24), Canadian Multiculturalism Day (June 27) and Canada Day (July 1).

National Aboriginal Day provides all Canadians with an excellent opportunity to celebrate Aboriginal culture and to learn more about the many achievements of First Nations, Métis and Inuit in fields as diverse as agriculture, the environment, business and the arts.

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in National Aboriginal Day. Top R4R Picks will connect you to some excellent resources for exploring Aboriginal perspectives on a number of themes and issues related to sustainable development.

Featured Resource:

LSF is pleased to recommend one of its own resources, "Protecting Our Sacred Water". Produced in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute, this guide helps teachers bring FNMI knowledge and culture into their classrooms and provides ways to incorporate traditional FNMI knowledge into the implementation of a water action project


For more information on this day, please visit the Aboriginal Affairs website.