Positive Sustainable Impact

Oct 12 - Social responsibility discussion question

Considering the highest level of the Social Responsibility Core Competency that states:

"I can initiate positive, sustainable impact on others or the environment"

Give two examples of situations where you think this has either happened or not happened (could be one of each or two of of the same). The examples can involve things you have done, but they do not have to.  Just be sure to make the examples specific, such as we discussed in class.  This is an assignment for the students at Charles Best, but if others would like to add their thoughts, please feel free. If you have any questions, please a private message to either Ms. Martin or Ms. Stuart. 

Original Post

"I can initiate positive, sustainable impact on others or the environment"

A large situation where I believe people are leaving a positive impact on the environment is bringing your own grocery bags when doing your weekly shopping and certain stores transferring over to paper bags like Thriftys. Personally, my family always uses reusable bags because on average 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used a year. Although most stores now have a small fee for the usage of plastic bags, it doesn't stop shoppers from using them and damaging the environment. Not to mention when plastic bags are broken down in factories, harmful toxins are released or if they happen to land in the ocean, we put many species at risk by polluting the water.

A negative impact on the environment that some don't notice is the usage of air conditioners in the summers. As our summers are getting hotter due to global warming, every mall is fully air conditioned and it's very unlikely to see newly built houses without a built in air conditioner. Yes we are cool, but did anyone think of the negative impacts on our environment? Air conditioning bring fresh cold air into the room but releases harmful toxins into the environment. Also after a while the air conditioners filters become over used and if you don't change it in time, the toxic air will pass into your house. Although air conditioners produce cool air instantly, we could switch over to a more environmentally friendly solution of fans that create cool air from the fresh air within your house. 

Hello everyone! 

"I can initiate positive, sustainable impact on others or the environment" is a core competency. Let's kick this off with a rather amusing quote: 

If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room. _ Anita Roddick

I feel like, you are what you want to become. This means your actions are also going to result in a lot of different things. From big to small it causes negative or positive impacts around us all. 

One specific example could be the jokes/humor i add to the announcements i do on Thursdays. This is a great way to make announcements that generally people, even teachers, ignore much more interesting. It may brighten someone's day or give them a good groan. Something a small as adding humor would allow people listen for important information or lift someone's spirit. However, while this impact is sustainable and positive, there's the other flip side. It's also negative because what if there was a test and people need the time they can get? 

This summer I had a job in Montréal for a short while and one was time sheets that we had to fill out. Initially, the process was sticking it to a wall. This was not efficient when there are a lot more people working there and getting the sheets was not easy. So I created a folder and attached that to the wall. I believe a few years down the road, this folder will still be there and used with ease than the previous method. 

Take a look at this video, as something like this Ea creates is also another example and form of impact. By using our abilities the way we can for positive sustainable impacts, he creates poems and videos for that. This video alone has 4 million views which means around 4 million people would have seen this and been inspired through his messages in a positive form. 

That's all! Thanks! 


I think initiating a positive and sustainable impact on the environment can be as small as being inclusive at school or in extracurricular activities. Helping someone feel more involved or included in a team or group also creates a positive and safe environment for others in the group, helping everyone feel more connected making it easier to play or share new ideas. Another example of initiating a positive and sustainable impact that may establish a larger and more beneficial influence is volunteering at local centers in order to help your community. By volunteering it helps your society as a whole and forms a better influence for younger youth. There are many ways that attempting a positive impact can do more harm than good though it may be with good intentions but by reflecting on the significance of your deeds, can help you realise weather this action can accomplish a valuable response.

"I can initiate positive, sustainable impact on others or the environment."

There are so many ways to initiate positive impacts, but it is important to recognize sometimes that you may think you are making one, but in reality, you may not be doing such... here are some examples!

A negative impact that some people don’t notice is the usage of electric cars. There are advantages, but personally, it is shocking to see how the negatives may potentially outweigh them. To begin with, it is evident that electric cars run on electricity. In some areas, they use coal-fired power plants to produce this sort of energy. Electric cars run on that electricity, so in retrospect, using this sort of automobile is hardly a step up for those wanting to decrease the amount of greenhouse gases they consume. However, the way of which electric vehicles are made is a also pretty interesting topic when viewing from the scale of emissions it can produce in doing so. In an electric car, it is known that it is made from many rare metals to help make the vehicle light. The question is where do they come from? They originate in environmentally destructive mines. To make matters more difficult, rare metals are also found in small quantities and very inconvenient locations. Mining, to begin with, has many hidden emissions. For example, they use rock-crushing equipment to coal-firing furnaces to reach and make the metals useable. All of these ways used to obtain these metals can create a lot of carbon dioxide that will be released into the atmosphere. Consequently, is it that green? I found an interesting fact that stated that manufacturing an electric vehicle generates more carbon emissions than building your typical gas-run vehicle. Furthermore, recycling your electric automobile may be harder as well.  However, it’s not only electric cars that rely on these rare metals, but there are also solar panels. Personally, I find this quite shocking. Receiving energy from the sun may be green, but getting the tools needed to do so is the complete opposite. Wow!

Another negative impact that some people don’t notice can be recycling. For example, the recycling process itself produces a lot of pollutants. This is due to exhaust from recycling trucks and the energy used at the recycling plants. Thus, air pollution is still a problem. Recycling does not simply just green. It still can hurt the environment. Furthermore, the current methods that we have aren’t that effective. Take plastic bags for example. It’s estimated that about 91% of plastic is not recycled, and consequently, tons end up the landfill every year. However, some products just can’t be recycled, and we just aren’t there for it to be. As a result, there are many limitations. It is also important to recognize that not all recycled materials are actually recycled after you put them in the bin. Moreover, there is also a negative sentiment that arises from recycling: it causes many people to think that because recycling is available, it’s okay to be wasteful. It gives off this mindset that if we put materials that we’ve used in the recycling bin or if we buy products that are made from recycled material, we are still saving resources. In reality, this “false promise” causes people to feel justified in using more products and feeling good about it since we believe we are still saving the environment. Nonetheless, recycling evidently hold many positive effects on the environment, so it thus arises a question: should we still be recycling? 

From buying energy saving equipment to recycling, it is hard to always cause and initiate positive effects to an environment. However, it is important to keep in mind that commencing a positive and sustainable impact on the environment is always possible and can be found in smallest to largest actions. For example, volunteering outside of school to help people and children grow more comfortable in their own skin to just asking someone in your class whether they want to join your group for a project can do all of that. I personally volunteer that the local library to help elementary students appreciate and grow more comfortable speaking the French language. It’s important to take try to take charge even though you might not be presented directly with an opportunity. 


Thank you for reading,


"I can initiate positive, sustainable impact on others or the environment."

Ironically enough, the first thing I thought of when seeing this post was the Butterfly Effect! For those who don't know, the Butterfly Effect suggests that even the smallest change or action can make a big impact on the world - or in this case, the environment. 

When talking to some of my friends who don't care much about the environment, recycling, or anything of the sort, the most common answer I receive is somewhere along the lines of, "What's the big deal? Is the world going to explode if I don't recycle?" Well, no, it's not. But, if you have the power to make a positive difference in our world, why wouldn't you?

In one of my classes this semester, we are talking about how consumerism and globalization affect our lives and our environment. Considering the extreme amount of products that are mass-produced today, it is very safe to say that our natural resources and therefore, our environment, are impacted greatly. In fact, 80% of our planet's original forests are gone! So, what we have been learning about and have been encouraged to do is precycle. Precycling is the action of trying to reduce the amount of waste we create by avoiding buying products and items that produce unnecessary garbage. Some examples of precycling are buying unpackaged items, using your own plastic bags while shopping, using a reusable water bottle and buying in bulk to avoid extra packaging. This is something I highly encourage you to do as well because our environment is already disappearing because of our actions and with precycling, we can take the first step to reduce the destruction of our land. I have shared what I have learned about precycling to my family and friends; because of my actions, I believe I have initiated a positive and sustainable impact on others and my environment. 

I also introduced some of my friends and family to thrift shopping! I believe that thrift shopping has quite a negative stigma which has convinced some that only those who can not afford to shop anywhere else should buy at secondhand stores, but I do not believe that this is the case at all! I enjoy thrifting for several reasons. First, it is a great way to avoid consumerism (my last cycle was about consumerism, so feel free to check that out if you do not know what it is/if you want to learn more ). You can also always find great deals as the price of most thrifted items are significantly less than if you were to shop at a mall. Lastly, you are way more likely to find unique pieces and are able to figure out your own style instead of only buying "mainstream" clothing items. In sum, not only is thrifting great for the environment, but it's also really beneficial for buyers! I believe that me encouraging those around me to thrift and me doing it myself is another way I was able to initiate a positive and sustainable impact on others and my environment. 

Thanks for reading!

"I can initiate positive, sustainable impact on others and the environment."

This topic is very significant to me as I am passionate about the idea that small things are extremely impactful and can cause extreme change.

An idea that came to me immediately was Ray Bradbury's "The Sound of Thunder." Essentially, men pay to go back in time in order to hunt prehistoric animals whose deaths will not alter the future. The point of this time travel is so they can brag about their victories (basically to be able to say "hey I killed a t-rex!!"). In this story, the main character accidentally kills a butterfly--a tiny, harmless butterfly--that has not been approved as 'safe to kill'. Originally, the man thinks he is alright, but when he returns to the future he finds that it has been ruined; humanity has turned stupid, and the dinosaurs are still alive. Essentially, he returns to the future and finds that the tiny, insignificant murder of this butterfly has changed the course of time. This story really impacted my mindset and showed that even small things that maybe don't change your life at all can change the lives of countless others and perhaps even come back to haunt you. 


Next, I have a nice example of genuine positive change. This year I decided to take Textiles, and I have been learning how to upcycle, fix, and hem my own clothing. Before, if something that used to fit me no longer fit me, had a hole, or no longer appealed to my style, I would simply donate it or get rid of it and buy something else in its place. Now, however, I have been able to keep countless garments and socks and so much more that would have previously been wasted. This has impacted my life and the world in so many ways. First, I have been disposing of less clothing. Second, I have been consuming less clothing from the stores (meaning I have not been purchasing as much clothing so they do not need to make more clothing so they do not consume as many resources). Lastly, I have been saving my wallet. I have been saving some serious money, which has also helped the economy in other ways as it means I can spend a little extra money in the future and benefit a business that maybe would not have received my money otherwise. On that note, it means I am more willing to spend a little extra money to benefit farmers markets, local businesses, and fare-trade or smaller companies that maybe could use my money a little more than large corporations like Walmart do. 

Every decision we make has an impact that leads to a chain of events, and we have to consider the real end effect of these actions.

“I can initiate positive, sustainable impact on others or the environment.” 

An example of something that does not have a positive, sustainable impact on the environment is purchasing something such as a more efficient showerhead or a hybrid vehicle, but then using the item more than you would normally do because it does not have as much as a negative impact. Even if you’re using a more efficient showerhead, it won’t use less water if you don’t keep your showers short because you think it’s alright to have longer showers since it doesn’t use as much water. And even if you’re driving a hybrid car, you can’t justify driving it all the time when you wouldn’t normally do so just because it uses less fuel. While using more efficient products is great, it’s only one step towards reducing its negative impact on the environment – you still must take it upon yourself to use/consume less. 

An example of something that does have a positive, sustainable impact is to use reusable grocery bags instead of plastic grocery bags. It only costs a few dollars or less, and then you can keep using it over and over again rather than getting plastic bags for your groceries every time. If you think about all the people in the world doing their grocery shopping and using plastic bags every day, that adds up to a lot of plastic bags. Plastic bags are very harmful to the environment, people and animals. They end up in landfills, in oceans, and even in the stomachs of animals who mistakenly consume them. But if we all started using reusable bags for our shopping, you can imagine how much less waste and health risks would be produced from plastic bags.  

Thanks for reading!

“I can initiate positive, sustainable impact on others or the environment.”

An example of something that does not have a positive sustainable impact on the environment that people might not realize is throwing out ink and batteries. We as humans, throw everything we no longer need away but things such as batteries and ink are really not meant for landfills. After we are done with batteries and ink cartridges, we really have no use for them so most people just put it in the trash. Batteries contain things like mercury and toxic chemicals and if it were to get into wildlife and ecosystems, it could seriously damage wildlife and sealife. The chemicals from ink cartridges have an even worse toxic effect if they were to be disposed of improperly. Approximately 10 million cartridges are sent to landfills every year which is really bad for the environment.  Disposing of these the proper way at recycling places would reduce these problems so much. 

An example of something that does have a positive sustainable impact on the environment is walking, biking, carpooling or taking public transit to school or anywhere you can.   Every car that isn’t on the road makes a difference. For me personally, I walk to school and back most days and I see many other people who are walking as well so that is good for the environment. I don't believe that it's uncommon for people to not do this as everyday I see many people who walk, bike or transit places.  I think that this is one of the most common ways that many people have a positive sustainable impact on the environment. 

Thanks for reading!

"I can initiate positive, sustainable impact on others or the environment." 

Looking at this statement in a general point of view, I can assess many different scenarios where one can truly aspire to be a positive impact on their family, friends or even strangers to their surroundings, and environment. 

For example, safety is very important to me, and obviously others. It's what we learn as kids. We learn it, understand it and promote it. From using scissors carefully as kindergarteners to not smelling chemicals directly in our high school chemistry labs, we are surrounded by all these rules that are implemented in our brains, so we are always on task.

Now that many of my friends and I walk places, or catch the bus home, we are always near the road. Cars are what we are used to seeing everyday, and sometimes we can get impatient by having to wait to able to cross the crosswalk. Jay-walking is widely popular, and commonly done by others on a daily basis. As it might seem like a short-cut in a time of rush, the risks you are putting upon yourself is far worse than simply waiting an extra minute. So, whenever I see my friends about to run across a road where traffic is busy, I remind them positively of the effects and incidents that can occur from what they are about to do. My friend's safety, or anyone's safety, is very important to me. The message I give to them, I give with confidence and trust so they can remember what I said and be able to share with others. Jay-walking can injure, or worse kill, and shouldn't be taken as a joke. This is very important in placing a positive impact on others, because what you say can be shared to others to spread the amount of positivity. 

The second way I seem to place a positive and sustainable impact on others or the environment, is bringing a water bottle everywhere I go. Not only do I bring it to school, but I will bring it if I must run errands or if I'm going out for the day. There are many advantages to using your own refillable bottle, as in saving your own money and most importantly, protecting the environment! 1 out of 5 plastic water bottle are actually properly recycled, meaning you can put an immediate stop to your own contribution to this damaging waste of resources by using your own reusable bottle. Not only are you placing a positive impact on the community, but you can also influence others to follow in your footsteps and prevent from always buying recyclable plastic water bottles which are not so good for the health of our planet!

Thank you for reading!


I can initiate positive, sustainable impact on others or the environment"

A core competency, with many things that would count towards it. Things instantly come to mind on this subject, as there are many smalls things we do in a day that this would be true to. The one that I think most people actually do is recycle. Its not difficult and it reduces the number of things that go to landfills to get burned, which also reduces carbon emissions, which then in turn helps against the fight against pollution. Which in term helps us in the long run with how long before there is too much pollution that, it starts to get dangerous; it already has become dangerous in some places where you need a air filtration mask for when you outside, there’s also the fact that in 2015 there was a study conducted, and the conclusion was that around 9 million people died prematurely do to pollution, another study conducted by the world health organization concluded that 1.8 million people died directly due to effects of air pollution. So, even though it may seem like a small thing to throw your paper into the recycling bin instead of the garbage it does effect us, it’s usually the small things in life that have the biggest effect as there are many small things that gradually add up; recycling is but one of many options there’s also composting, glass recycling and more, that help us have a positive and sustainable impact on the environment around us.

The second example I would like to use is also a small thing, and it’s the use of less water. I mean it’s something you hear all the time, but why is it good for the environment when we use water it doesn’t disappear? Well when we use water it has to be filtered, heated, pumped and treated, which actually uses a bunch of electricity, and other things, things that we would be better off the less we use. We use about 5000 joules of energy for every liter of tap water, now on average a human uses approximately 341 liters of water in a day, totalling at about 1.7 million joules of energy per day, per person. Now all that energy has to be made from somewhere, and while we are llucky here in british Columbia since 95% of ours is made at hydro-elecric power plants there are other places in the world that still relie heavily on the burning of gasses and coal. A few ways that we can reduce our water usage to have a smaller inpact on the encironment are, turning off the tap when we arent using it like when we brush our teeth, don't take extremely long showers, low flush toilets...

"I can initiate positive, sustainable impact on others or the environment"

This is something that is very tricky to navigate and something that i didn't really think about before this.  Things aren't one sided and i think that's hard to remember sometimes. 

An example of something that has a positive sustainable impact is recycling your tires.  By doing this, energy consumption and pollution is reduced.  Not to mention now a days this material is made into various different substances.  If things get reused then not as many new items have to be made.  Different substances made from tires include: playground mulch, roof shingles, underlay for athletic fields and more.  recycling tires can also be used for retreading tires, being broken down to form new products and "incineration" witch is breaking it down so much that it produces energy for manufacturing.  So as you can see by taking  this simple step of recycling you tires, many many things will be impacted.  

An example of something that does not have a positive sustainable impact is electric cars.  I think that this specific topic is also not one sided however there are some serious concerns about it.  The biggest question that seems to be avoided is where are these gigantic car batteries going to go and will they decompose?  The car batteries are not good for the environment.  Yes no gas is used, but is the alternative better?  The batteries are lithium-ion batteries and there is no environmentally safe way of recycling them.  Not to mention some of the materials such as the nickel used is toxic to extract from the ground.  So really is this supposedly "great" solution of electric cars really that great in the end?

"I can initiate positive, sustainable impact on others or the environment." 

In my opinion, I think I make both positive and negative sustainable impact on others or the environment. 

For example, when I am staying with my friends, if I am focusing on study, they will not pay all attention to their phone. In another hand, there is another kind of impact. Take pho as an example, first when I came to Canada, my uncle took me to try pho and I just fall in love with it! However, it is rare in my home country, not really my Chinese friends had ever tried it. After I introduced pho to them, they got a high interest in it and eventually go and try it. I would like to say this reaction makes a positive impact because I bring the interest to the people around. 

However, I think I make some negative impact as well. I was a really negative emotion one that even some little things will make me down. At this moment, I might go talk with all my best friends about how I got upset. However, sometimes, my story will cause them to think of their similar experience and finally inspire the same negative mood. Repeat this part again and again. Hence, I think that I could make a negative sustainable impact on people. In addition, for the environment, I make some negative impact as well. A simple example is that waste! The waste of water of waste of paper and so on. Sometimes, when I could write on the back side of the paper, I still would rather get a new sheet of paper. The environment needs sustainable development to protect it. 

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