Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver

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Windermere students race to save the planet at the Great Climate Race


About 50 students from Windermere Secondary raced to save their planet this year at the Great Climate Race. Photo by Jewel Dimayuga/Pooja Nair


We may not know what our future holds, but what we do know is that the rate at which climate change occurs depends on us. The Great Climate Race is a reminder that we can control our future, we just need to act fast.

On October 27, 2016, the second annual Great Climate Race took place. More than a thousand people of all running abilities gathered together at Stanley Park to raise awareness for climate change by completing either a or 2.5 kilometre or 10K run.

What makes this event so unique is that co-founders Ben West and Mari McMillan, both passionate environmental activists, designed it to be a zero-waste race that was more than just a run or walk.

The goal of the Great Climate Race is to spread awareness about climate change, bring together community in an encouraging and enjoyable way and fundraise for solar energy projects. Some of these projects include OrcaLabs to help make the orca research facility on northern Vancouver Island completely dependant on renewable solar power as well as a solar power project for the new Tsleil-Waututh administrative and Health Centre in North Vancouver

Our 50-member team at Stanley Park on that beautiful Sunday morning was a group of students from Windermere Secondary School. Located in the heart of East Vancouver, Windermere boasts a thriving garden, bike shop and Leadership program, amongst many other features. Vancouver is considered one of the “greenest” cities in the world, and Windermere definitely reflects that ideal.

These Windermere participants are also part of an in-school mini program called Leadership. With focuses on environmental stewardship and student growth through being active citizens, the Leadership program develops students into leaders of the present and the future. The Leadership program goes beyond school lessons to teach students, or have students discover for themselves what is going on in the community, and what they can do to help.

When the chance to attend the Great Climate Race was sprung upon us, we (the Leadership students) were brimming with excitement. Last year’s race seemed like an unbeatable event with all the smiles, encouragement and pride that was felt on the day of the race, but somehow we managed to top it.

“This is my second year running this race and it’s still an amazing experience,” said Janette Chen, a Grade 10 Leadership student. “It really brings awareness to the cause that we are fighting for and it’s a great opportunity to help out or show that you care!”

This year a Windermere team was organized by two Grade 12 students, and around 50 students raced to save their planet this year at the Great Climate Race. Prior to the race we were all preoccupied with asking for pledges and spreading the news about the event to all of our friends, families and classmates. Those who didn’t attend the event pitched in and pledged those who did, and mini-fundraising events such as bake sales took place, too.

On the day of the race there was no tension in the air. We knew that we could run competitively if we wanted to, but the Climate Race was also just an opportunity to enjoy the gorgeous sea-wall scenery and spend rare moments with friends face to face.

I went into the event unsure of whether I wanted to run or just take it easy, but I came out feeling proud that I accomplished something because I tried my best.

Propelled by the colourful posters and kind words from people I encountered while running, I ran faster and faster and started to realize what the race meant to me. To me, the race is a metaphor that we are in a race against time to save our planet, and the only people we need to beat are ourselves. We need to stop ourselves from destroying our home before it’s too late.

Right now, it’s not too late to take action. We might already be witnessing the precursors of climate change, but there are things we can do to slow down the effects of climate change. There are a multitude of things you can easily do, such as choosing electric power, starting a garden, or biking, walking, taking public transit more often instead of riding in a car. Anything, no matter how small, will make a difference. Change starts with us, and climate change ends here.

Clara Sun is a Grade 10 student in the Leadership program at Windermere Secondary.

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Windermere students celebrate Earth Day with David Suzuki, April 21

Grade 11 Leadership student

Monday, April 21
Parade starts 11:00 am at Commercial-Broadway Skytrain station
Festivities at Grandview Park 12:00-3:00 pm

Windermere Secondary’s Leadership program is throwing their fourth annual Earth Day Extravaganza. Earth Day is a youth-led event run by grade 8 to 12 Leadership students from Windermere Secondary. This event seeks to spread awareness about climate change, the impacts of pipelines and tankers in our own province and a wide variety of environmental problems youth will inherit, as well connecting youth from across the Lower Mainland.

A recent NASA study concluded “Industrial civilization heading for irreversible collapse” as climate change continues to increase temperatures 1.5 degrees from before the Industrial Revolution.  We may be passing the point of no return and youth need to take action for a brighter future. Earth Day is a great opportunity to stand up for what youth believe in and support our environment.

The first Earth Day Parade was back in April 2011, and it keeps getting better! The Leadership program is planning to host its best Earth Day yet! This event is supported by well-known organizations including Wilderness committee and Forest Ethics. The hype is rising and more people are taking notice of this incredible event.

World-renowned environmental scientist David Suzuki has taken notice and will be speaking at this year’s event! Along with other amazing speakers, there will be musicians, performers, fun workshops and plenty of NGO tents. Hundreds of fellow high school students, elementary school students and citizens will be attending this years event.

This is a family fun-filled event, so come out and support one of your community’s very own high schools! Bring your friends and family down to the fourth annual Earth Day Parade Extravaganza! Last year almost 2,000 people turned out; let’s raise the bar and bring even more out this year!

Don’t miss out on the great opportunity of hearing the one and only, David Suzuki, as well as coming out to support your community. The event will kick off with a parade at 11:00 am, starting at the Commercial-Broadway Skytrain station. Then the festivities will commence at  Grandview Park from 12:00 to 3:00 pm on Monday, April 21st!

You won’t want to miss out on this amazing opportunity! For more information, please visit and click attending on the Facebook page event: Earth Day Parade and Celebration 2014

Like and follow the YOUTH FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW page on Facebook. Follow on twitter and instagram for the latest scoops @Y4CJN

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April 2013 issue of the RCC News is here

Get your April 2013 issue of the RCC News at your local coffee shop, grocery story, library and community centre.

RCC News April 2013 issueClick on the cover image to view the new issue.

In this issue:

  • Gladstone robotics teams headed to the World Championships
  • Gear up for the Renfrew-Collingwood Talent Show
  • Any meal can be a feast … just ask any Greek – recipe by Rania Hatzioannou
  • Eating Out in RC: Kingsway Coffee Shop/ Dias Kingsway Cafe
  • Healthy Teeth = Healthy Body
  • Climate justice from a youth perspective
  • Being a treekeeper