One response to “UBC one of Canada’s Greenest Employers in 2017”

  1. Green Washing

    While there may be many policies and programs in place that led to UBC receiving recognition as a “green” employer from yet another company that spits out rankings, in practice, I’m not so sure the students, faculty and staff at UBC would agree with this appraisal. Here are just some of the reasons why.

    Buildings that are so cold that space heaters have to be used *even in the summer*. UBC might say that energy use has gone down — but they are not reporting the whole story. If they are talking about the energy used to produce heat centrally, maybe. But if the added electricity used locally is added in, the total has surely gone up. In fact, all energy numbers that UBC reports are self-reported — there has never been an external audit of UBC’s energy claims. (wastes energy and money; frustrates faculty, staff, and students)

    Areas of campus that have been torn up three or in some cases even more times because of bad planning. (wastes energy and money; adds disruption to wildlife; frustrates faculty, staff, and students)

    Despite increasing numbers of students and residents on the campus, UBC has done very little to lobby for or support rapid transit to campus. UBC said nothing when it was announced that Skytrain would also be extended to Arbutus, not all the way to campus. Those who get contracts to develop the campus should have to contribute to a fund to bring rapid transit to campus. But of course, since UBC Properties Trust does not work in the best interests of the community, but instead in the best interests of developers, this does not happen. (keeps people driving to campus; shows disrespect for students who have > 1 hour commutes to and from campus and those who have to watch multiple buses go by because they are too full to take more people; prevents UBC from achieving GHG targets)

    Instead of supporting rapid transit to campus or other green modes of transportation, UBC has decided to put a new underground parking garage in the middle of campus. (keeps people driving to campus; contradicts “commitment” to reducing car trips to campus; adds much more car traffic to an area that is already dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists due to poor urban planning)

    Construction on campus has killed at least a dozen old trees. UBC has said that the trees needed to be removed because they were posing a risk due to their age. This is a lie. If it was true, the trees would have been removed before work began in order to facilitate construction. (wastes money; disrupts wildlife; negatively impacts the look of campus; removes trust in administration; affects air quality; affects noise levels; affects building temperature)

    Poorly designed water features have been added to campus that require power washing at least twice per year. Particularly problematic is the water feature that also contains numerous plants. The plants were poorly selected. A short time after cleaning, the water is once again murky and the rocks covered in algae. (wastes money and energy; noise of washing is disruptive)

    How can UBC be one of the greenest employers, when there is not a single dedicated bike lane anywhere on campus?

    How can UBC be one of the greenest employers, when the employer discount for monthly transit passes was discontinued?

    In the fall, gas-powered leaf blowers plague the campus. Even when they are highly ineffective (e.g. when it is raining and therefore the drenched leaves are too heavy to blow or when there are so few leaves that it makes no sense to collect them or when it is so windy that any collection is quickly blow away again anyway) workers are still out there making noise and accomplishing nothing. (wastes energy; wastes money; frustrates faculty, staff, and students)