Sustainability at McMaster

Sustainability at McMaster

How McMaster is transforming our campus into a living laboratory for sustainability

McMaster’s university-wide Sustainability Strategy aligns with its vision to advance human and societal health and well-being. 

Achieving these goals means a continued collaboration with all partners across the university, and finding new ways to help our researchers and students tackle the most pressing challenges facing our communities and planet. 

Below are just a few of the ways our staff, faculty and students are working to address sustainability challenges, on our campus, in our community and around the world.

A student and professor examining a plant

Sustainability research at McMaster

wind turbines Developing energy technology for a green future: Q&A with expert Drew Higgins

Looming climate goals and the swelling demand for renewable energy mean advancements in the creation and storage of low-carbon electricity are more critical than ever.

fungi Climate change could lead to more fungal disease in humans, says expert

Warming temperatures, heavy rainfalls and rising sea levels caused by a changing climate could teach fungi to thrive in new environments, says Jianping Xu.

peatlands Analysis — Up in smoke: Human activities are fuelling wildfires that burn essential carbon-sequestering peatlands

Human actions are turning climate-friendly peatlands into liabilities, with potentially devastating consequences, researchers warn.

Teaming up: 4 partnerships that focus on sustainability  An aerial view of Hamilton, Ontario

‘Soft’ chemical sprays, packaging solutions and more: Here are examples of McMaster researchers working with industry and academic partners to create a more sustainable world.

Water coming out of a tap Filter that effectively clears ash, dissolvable debris from water after wildfires identified

The simple technology could be a faster and more affordable option for remote and marginalized communities recovering from major fires.

Two researchers in white lab coats workingA star is corn: Researchers develop biodegradable mask material made of corn

A biodegradable mask that can comfortably protect its wearer without harming the environment is one step closer to reality, thanks to research at McMaster’s Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials.

hands cupping water How Indigenous and western knowledge can work together to improve Six Nations water security

Dawn Martin-Hill is advocating for Indigenous knowledge to be used alongside western science to tackle water security issues in Six Nations of the Grand River.

bundles of used clothingYour used clothing donation may be doing more harm than good

In Ghana, clothing resale is big business. But it also carries big consequences — from perpetuating the institutional factors that drive it, to the environmental degradation it can cause.

An aerial view of farmland and greenspaceMapping of carbon stores by McMaster researchers helping guide national restoration priorities

Carbon mapping data developed by McMaster’s Remote Sensing Laboratory is helping policymakers make informed decisions as Canada tries to meet national and international restoration targets.

An electric vehicle plugged into a charging station Making sustainable transportation a reality in our communities

From designing the future of inclusive transportation, to guiding consumer choices on electric vehicles, here’s how McMaster researchers are re-imagining the future of clean transportation. 

A view of downtown Toronto and Lake Ontario from the Toronto Islands Ontario municipalities not ready for climate migration boom: study

“People should be able to migrate to where there’s freshwater, and Canadians need to be ready to welcome people in from places that are under tremendous stress” — Gail Krantzberg

A plant sticking out of the ground

Power plant: McMaster teams up with energy industry leaders to tackle sustainable agriculture

A new partnership between McMaster and an integrated energy company has led to the development of a soft chemical spray with the potential to revolutionize the agriculture industry. 

One industry’s waste is another’s green productA globe with arrows surrounding it and text that reads, 'circular economy'

Marketing professor Ashish Pujari is part of a collaborative research team exploring innovation in sustainable food packaging to help companies move to a circular economy model.

A hand on a steering wheel Analysis: What you need to know for your next hybrid or electric vehicle purchase 

A guide to understanding hybrid and electric vehicles as you decide which is best for your lifestyle from Gaoliang Fang, a postdoctoral fellow at the McMaster Automotive Resource Centre. 

cherry blossoms with a McMaster University building in the background

A sustainable campus

5 ways you can contribute to sustainability on campusA sign reading 'McMaster University"

Every day, community members work to advance the principles of McMaster’s Sustainability Strategy here on campus. Here are 5 ways you can get involved.

A blue sky and the tops of treesEarth Day tree planting marks new phase for McMaster Carbon Sink Forest

The planting will help create a model of a carbon sink forest — a forest that stores more carbon than it releases.

McMaster continues to divest from fossil fuel investmentsThe exterior of University Hall on McMaster's campus

Fossil fuel companies now make up just 2.7 per cent of McMaster’s investment portfolio, down from 4.5 per cent in 2018.

fruits and vegetablesHave your say in shaping the food system on McMaster’s campus

A new survey will help develop the Campus Food Charter which willidentify ways to foster food sovereignty — the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods.

New geothermal green energy system on campusGreen fern leaves encased in a maroon circle

McMaster will heat its new campus greenhouse with emissions-free geothermal energy, and is exploring multiple locations on campus for future geothermal sites.

The Edwards Arch on McMaster's campus

McMaster’s campus is on the road to net zero carbon emissions

McMaster’s Net Zero Carbon Roadmap was developed in 2020 as a pathway to net zero carbon emissions on campus.

 Ask a McMaster expert: Net zero carbon campusA headshot of Jim Cotton

Engineering professor Jim Cotton, an expert on sustainable energy, answers questions about McMaster’s plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions on campus.

A student planting a tree

Student life

Science champion wins GradFlix competitionA headshot of Emily Robson

Emily Robson is the winner of this year’s GradFlix competition for her one-minute video on the amount of microplastics in freshwater mussels collected from the Grand River.

Zero Waste McMaster logoZero Waste McMaster helps students live more sustainably 

How a student group is helping others adopt small, accessible, low-waste lifestyle changes that can add up to a big difference. 

Students planting trees by searching the webA graphic image of trees on a laptop screen

A group of sustainability-focused students are encouraging the adoption of a search engine that helps fund reforestation projects. 

The exterior of McMaster's community fridgeMeet McMaster’s Community Fridge 

The student-led initiative began as an idea for a project in a third-year undergraduate McMaster SUSTAIN course.

A keyboard with a button that has a green shopping cart on it Sustainability students help McMaster buy better 

McMaster’s Strategic Procurement team has partnered with students to help make purchases for the university that promote social and environmental good.

An aerial view of McMaster's campus that shows Cootes Paradise

McMaster alumni

A headshot of Sharolyn Mathieu Vettese Finding opportunities in the search for energy solutions

McMaster graduate Sharolyn Mathieu Vettese (’76) shares how the great North American blackout of 2003 spurred her to launch a renewable energy company and start a lifelong search for green energy solutions.

A headshot of Winnie May Chan Making the fashion industry more sustainable, one piece at a time

Winnie May Chan (’15 & ‘17) shares how her time at McMaster led her to a career at the intersection of innovation and sustainability in the textile and apparel sector. 

A headshot of Martin Green Revolutionizing the world’s energy future

Martin Green (’74) has spent his career working to improve the efficiencies of solar cells. The engineer and McMaster grad shares his insights on the future of the industry. 

Read more about McMaster’s Sustainability Strategy here

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