Queen's University

A greener world awaits at the Earth Centre




Kermit the Frog was certainly right about one thing – it's not easy being green. Due to the current economy, it  can be difficult, especially for students, to remain environmentally-conscious while trying to watch their spending.

Luckily, there is a place right here at Queen's where students and members of the Queen's and Kingston communities can buy environmentally friendly products at cost.

A greener world awaits in room 031 of the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC). The Earth Centre, a not-for profit shop, offers environmentally-friendly products at affordable prices. IT also has a small library WITH more than 60 books, BY authors ranging from Naomi Klein to David Suzuki. 

The Earth Centre's mission is “to offer students an opportunity to transform their environmental concern into positive action, through responsible consumerism and innovative discussion. [It] is a place that encourages students to engage in a positive dialogue about the environment through exposure to new information and opinions on environmental topics. [It offers] a more sustainable, responsible alternative to student's consumer needs.”

Although the environment has been a primary concern for a while now, the Earth Centre's history has grown in a few short years. The centre was born in January 2007 in the basement of MacGillivray-Brown Hall on Barrie Street, selling a small line of products. This is their first year in the JDUC. The centre has about 40 volunteers, with seven on the executive, says volunteer coordinator Jenna Siu (Artsci '10).

Inventory includes clothing, food, cleaning products, personal hygiene items, and a variety of eco-friendly products from companies such as Cascades Inc., Green Beaver, and Seventh Generation.

“We try to order as much as we can from Canada" says says Raili Lakanen (Artsci'09), co-chair of external operations. "We're very conscious as to the companies that we order from. We try to get products that are manufactured by using less energy and water. Essentially, we want to offer products that are affordable, while still being healthy for humans and the environment.”

Every year, the centre gets more exposure. Its next project, the Buying Club, is partnering with the Outreach Centre to organize local organic food orders.

“We're still trying to expand and let people know that the Earth Centre is a great resource for students at Queen's, in addition to those in the Kingston community,” says Ms. Lakanen. “But above all, we want to keep in touch with our initial idea – of educating people about shopping responsibly and living sustainably.”

The Earth centre is open Monday through Fridays from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm. For more information or to get involved, visit www.queensearthcentre.org, email earthcentre@ams.queensu.ca, call 613-533-3320 or visit the JDUC room 031. 

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Last updated at 4:28 pm EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
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