With over 100 student members, 15 student leaders, 4 staff advisors & the support of administers, teachers & caretakers, Dr. Norman Bethune C.I.’s environmental club is one student organization to be reckoned with! Bethune’s Environmental Action Team (BEAT) is dedicated to making positive environmental change. Their efforts have been recognized by the City of Toronto (Live Green Toronto Awards: Youth Category 2009), Scarborough (Urban Hero Awards: Environment Category 2010) and the Toronto District School Board (Platinum Ecoschool certified 2010).

BEAT consists of four committees: Waste Reduction, Energy Conservation, Community Outreach and Spirit & Sales. As a result of the Waste Reduction committee efforts, Bethune students produce the least waste (per student basis) in the entire TDSB. This has been accomplished through such initiatives as classroom visits (explaining to students what they can and cannot recycle), a contest to see which teacher can use the least amount of paper, and the creation of a giant water bottle display made entirely of disposable bottles.

Energy Conservation committee strives to reduce energy consumption within the school and larger community. Such initiatives include their Anti-Idling Campaign (students give parent drivers fake “tickets” for idling outside their school), Energy Police checks  (ensuring teachers turn off their lights and close their curtains, lowering energy use & heat loss), and student tours of their Eco-House display for a hands-on lesson about energy conservation at home.

The Spirit and Sales committee regularly holds eco-friendly fundraisers and works to energize “green” students. Such sales include Halloween Candy Grams (printed on one-sided paper and delivered with an organic lollipop), SIGG water bottles and Lock’n’Lock containers (promoting litterless lunches), and Ecojot notebooks (supports a environmentally responsible Scarborough company). This committee also works to raise the “spirit within” BEAT through such events as the hand silkscreening of BEAT T-shirts, on second-hand clothing.

Finally, the Community Outreach committee focuses its energy on mentoring local schools. They have spent countless hours making visits to elementary schools such as Sir Ernest Macmillan S.P.S, Heritage Park P.S. & Wexford J.P.S. They have also collaborated with secondary schools such as Earl Haig S.S. and Mary Ward S.S., to help strengthen their environmental programs. This committee assists schools to become Ecoschool certified and demonstrate to staff and students that being green can be fun! BEAT is now hoping to expand out into the community and work with local Scarborough organizations. Let us know if you are interested!