‘It is our role to empower future generations’
In a world witnessing progressively negative effects of pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change, there is a need for those in the hard sciences, social sciences, and humanities to come together and discuss solutions.
“It is the role of the university to foster discussion, collaboration, and innovation, and thus to empower the generations of the future to make the world a better place,” says Rebecca Tittler, coordinator of the Loyola College for Diversity and Sustainability and the Loyola Sustainability Research Centre at Concordia.
Taking place March 8 and 9, the 2nd Annual Sustainability Across Disciplines Conference will bring together Concordia faculty, students and Montrealers from a wide range of disciplines to discuss sustainability research.
Participating students and faculty will give presentations on topics such as the effects of traffic on wildlife, ethical textile design and sustainable development in the Arctic.
“This conference will provide a much-needed forum for a general, cross-disciplinary discussion of sustainability work,” says Tittler.
“It will provide the basis for future collaborations on sustainability issues, and showcase the outstanding work done at Concordia in this crucial area.”
The event is organized by the Loyola College for Diversity and Sustainability and the Loyola Sustainability Research Centre with additional support from the Office of the Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies, the John Molson School of Business, the Departments of Applied Human Sciences; Biology; Communication Studies; Economics; Geography, Planning and Environment, and Sociology and Anthropology, and the Sustainability Team at Environmental Health and Safety.
Building toward the future, unpacking challenges
New to this year’s edition is a round-table discussion entitled, “How to build a career in sustainability,” which will give attendees the opportunity to meet and learn from various professionals already working in the field.
Jamie Nicholls, mayor of Hudson and former member of Parliament for the NDP, is confirmed as a panelist, as are representatives from Equiterre and PwC Canada.
“Attendees will come away with an idea of the great variety of careers that can be pursued, as well as invaluable advice as to how to get there,” says Tittler.
A second round-table discussion called, “What, if anything, is sustainability?” will look at how sustainability is defined in different contexts, including ecological, cultural and political ones.
The conference will conclude with Kamal Bawa’s keynote address, “Institutions of Sustainability Science.”
Bawa is a conservation biologist and founder of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, a research institution focused on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
His research has touched on issues such as the impact of climate change on local ecosystems, and the relationship between human rights, governance and biodiversity.
Tittler says the conference is designed to inspire students and faculty to collaborate on sustainability projects across disciplines, and to motivate undergraduate students to pursue graduate work or careers in sustainability.
“We hope this conference will be a step in the right direction,” she says.
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