Physical Education Department addresses climate action

The ecological footprint of each Physical Education course at Dawson is being tracked in a pilot project of the department with support from Anna Likht and Rafael Scapin of Information Systems and Technology and the Sustainability Office.

The demo, expected to launch next month, aims to educate staff and students on the greenhouse gas emissions of each class and build awareness of the United Nations’ 17 SDGs. Students will eventually be able to select any Physical Education class and see which SDGs it relates to.  The project “blueprint” will be part of a national tool kit for SDG integration into curricula.

Outdoor Ed. courses enhance a sustainable lifestyle

“We already found that a lot of our outdoor education courses touched upon many SDG goals that enhanced a sustainable lifestyle,” said Richard Montreuil, Chair of the Physical Education Department.


The department is also looking to calculate the total amount of carbon emissions each of the 170 courses per semester produces. From the fuel used for busing to outdoor cooking, teachers will be asked to input various pieces of information, such as the mode of transportation and distance travelled.


Thanks to the sustainability reporting software of Dawson partner Ecometrica, these entries will then be converted into greenhouse gas emissions, which will allow students to see the emissions produced by each course.

Number of trees to offset emissions

With the help of a reforestation non-profit, Taking Root, the number of trees needed to offset those emissions will also be indicated. The organization, founded by Dawson North-South graduate Kahlil Baker, has been a key player in Dawson’s pledge to be Carbon Neutral Forever, and helped offset the college’s carbon footprint with the planting of trees in Nicaragua.

“We’re hoping to make the students and teachers more aware and accountable, and give them opportunities to neutralize their carbon emissions,” said Annie Quadros (Class of 2017, Environmental Science), Intern in the Sustainability Office.

Aiming for carbon neutral department by Fall 2023

After each term, the collected data will be used to develop educational components to offset all emissions during the following semester, and according to Richard, he would love to have a carbon neutral department by Fall 2023.

“We’re at the early stages, but the potential is so exciting,” said Richard. “We’ve always tried to push the boundaries, and this is one where I feel we are demonstrating our collective impact in making the world a healthier and better place.”


Coming up

Work is also advancing on indicating the number of direct and indirect hours of contact with Nature in each Phys. Ed. course.

In the next phase, the Sustainability Office is hoping to replicate the initiative with courses listed with the new
Environment and Sustainability Certificate.

Last Modified: April 6, 2022