Concordia hosts a public conference on the climate crisis
Amid a global push to tackle the climate crisis, the Loyola Sustainability Research Centre and the Loyola College for Diversity and Sustainability are assembling a who’s who of Concordia environmental experts to examine the problems facing our planet.
“With carbon emissions reaching record highs every month and more than one degree of global warming confirmed already, the climate crisis is rightfully front and centre in the minds of most people thinking about sustainability,” says Rebecca Tittler, Loyola College coordinator and part-time faculty member who also teaches in the Department of Biology.
The fourth annual Sustainability Across Disciplines Conference is scheduled for March 16 to 18 on both Sir George Williams and Loyola campuses. It is free and open to faculty, students and the broader community.
“Given the record-breaking turnout at the September climate march in Montreal, and the wealth of expertise in this area in the Concordia research community, the theme was an obvious one for this year.”
The assembled list of speakers spans Concordia’s four faculties, showcasing the university’s breadth of interdisciplinary expertise in sustainability.
The conference will feature two keynote speakers. Ursula Eicker is a professor in the Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Canada Excellence Research Chair in Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Communities and Cities. Damon Matthews is a professor in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment and a Tier 1 Concordia University Research Chair in Climate Science and Sustainability, Geography, Planning and Environment.
Matthews is also the co-creator of the Climate Clock, a project that counts down the time until the average global temperature is set to surpass the thresholds of 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages.
Two external speakers are also on the program. Angela Carter from the University of Waterloo’s Political Science Department will discuss her research on environmental policy and politics surrounding oil extraction in Canada’s major oil-producing provinces. Ivette Perfecto from the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan will close the conference. Perfecto’s research focuses on agroecology, biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes.
Panels, games and a mini film fest
The conference’s schedule is packed with workshops, panels and poster sessions featuring the work of Concordia faculty and student researchers.
Krista Byers-Heinlein, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and Concordia University Research Chair in Bilingualism, is joining Pedro Peres-Neto, Canada Research Chair in Spatial Ecology and Biodiversity and professor in the Department of Biology, to lead a discussion on sustainable research through open scholarship.
Other programming includes a workshop led by Michael Bossert from the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, during which participants will co-create ideas for the “campus as a living lab” by using a design thinking approach and linking ideas to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The Climate Emergency Committee is inviting attendees to learn about and play their new “Geopardy” game, designed to educate participants about climate change.
And, for the first time, the conference will also include a mini film festival, featuring short works by students.
In addition, more than 70 graduate and undergraduate students will present their work, as will over a dozen other faculty researchers from across the university.
A hopeful message
“This conference is designed to foster discussion and collaboration across disciplines,” Tittler adds.
“Our goal is for people to come away with new experiences, perspectives, networks, hope and inspiration to address the wicked problems of the day.”
Concordia’s Sustainability and the Climate Crisis conference takes places March 16 to 18. The event is free and open to the public but participants must register in advance.