We are in a climate crisis and we need to act.

In 2019, we declared a climate emergency. This is the most urgent issue of our time, further deepened by systemic injustices and colonialism.

As researchers, we are dedicated to answering questions about how the climate is changing, and how these changes are driven by human activity. As a community, we are committed to the work of climate justice.

Why do we need climate justice?

Climate change, and the extractive practices that drive it, most heavily impact those who have contributed least to the current crisis – many in the Global South, Indigenous and Black communities, and people of color.

We must ask how our global economies and societal structures can be reconfigured to tackle the climate crisis in a way that also battles existing inequalities.

Currently in development, the Centre for Climate Justice at UBC will work to advance the urgent social, political and economic changes necessary to address the climate crisis. 

As a Centre for Climate Justice, our aim is not to create new initiatives led by those who already hold the privilege and power of being part of the university. Instead, we will utilize UBC’s resources and capacities in service of those working towards environmental justice in diverse spaces. This means working beyond the university in innovative ways; bringing together activists, policy makers, elders, scholars, and communities to identify priorities, facilitate community action and policy change.

Crucially, as a Centre operating on unceded Musqueam territory, this work takes place in the spirit of repair. This includes an ongoing attempt to repair the damage done to our collective environmental knowledge through the systemic exclusion of Indigenous, Black, and community and land-based experts and knowledge holders, including through extractive, unaccountable research practices in frontline communities.

Housed within UBC Geography, the CCJ will be led by an interdisciplinary team from across the Faculty of Arts.

The current UBC advisory board includes Rafi Arefin (Department of Geography), Candis Callison (School of Journalism, Writing and Media), Jessica Dempsey (Department of Geography), Gastón Gordillo (Department of Anthropology), Leila Harris (Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability and Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice), Avi Lewis (Department of Geography), Naomi Klein (Department of Geography), Geraldine Pratt (Department of Geography), M.V. Ramana (School of Public Policy and Global Affairs).

Created in 2019, the committee is tasked with overseeing the implementation of UBC Geography's Climate Action Plan and exploring the actions we can take as a department for a better future.

2021/22 Members

Nina Hewitt (Chair)
Sara Knox
Michele Koppes
Suzanne Lawrence
Aaron Woods
Holly Denson-Camp (Project Assistant)
Ploykarn Kunkonlakarn (GSA Representative)
Audrey Irvine-Broque (Graduate Student Representative)

Aidan Haigh (Undergraduate Volunteer)
Aryanna Alikhan (Undergraduate Volunteer)
Paul Li (Undergraduate Volunteer)
Margaryta Pustova (Graduate Volunteer)

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One of the things that motivates me to keep doing good science is because I have colleagues and students who will go out and try to make the world a better place. Being positive and hopeful is actually in itself an important way to combat climate change.
Sung-Ching Lee
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
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Losing islands in the Pacific to sea level rise is not a foregone conclusion. We know that protecting reefs is one way to protect islands from erosion, and people in the Pacific Islands have been extremely active in advocating for climate policy.
Sara Cannon
PhD Candidate

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