A panel of advocates, researchers, policy-makers and solution-seekers gathered virtually on May 19, 2021 for a critical and compelling conversation about researching for climate justice.
Climate justice is an approach that embeds climate change within social justice and recognizes that the people most negatively impacted by climate change are those least responsible for creating those impacts and those least able to mitigate or adapt to them. Climate justice also requires that climate solutions use the lens of justice and equity. As an example, climate justice requires governments to not aggressively rush towards climate actions without considering the ways those actions may disproportionately impact vulnerable people and groups.
Rueben George, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, opened the event. George is the manager of Sacred Trust, an initiative of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation mandated to stop the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project. Moderator Am Johal, the director of SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement and co-director of SFU’s Community-Engaged Research Initiative, then introduced a panel of seven speakers and three respondents who each offered a unique perspective on key questions about climate justice including:
- What is climate justice?
- What are the root causes of climate injustice?
- Why should we strive for climate justice?
- Whose voices should researchers and students concerned about climate justice listen to and amplify?
- What are some of the barriers towards embracing climate justice in research and policy?
A key barrier identified during the discussion was the difficulty of developing clear evaluation processes and targets to measure climate justice. This challenge was related to an issue raised by all of the panelists: the need for better data to understand and respond to climate injustices. Specifically, disaggregated demographic data is needed to identify how different groups are experiencing the impacts of the climate crisis.
The conversations from this event will inspire the direction of future events and content as part of Towards Equity, SFU Public Square's 2021 Community Summit series. PICS is proud to be a partner in the Researching for Climate Justice event.
Find out more at SFU Public Square.
Anjali is a climate justice advocate, communicator and consultant. She works to strengthen climate change messaging and discourse in Canada by centering the stories of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis. She brings a strong justice lens to climate change messaging and connects climate issues to socioeconomic and political realities. Anjali works with the Sierra Club BC team to support our role as a strong contributor to the Canadian and global climate justice movement.
Andréanne Doyon is an Assistant Professor and Director of Planning in the School of Resource and Environmental Management (REM) at Simon Fraser University (SFU). Her work is situated within the intersection of equity and environmental planning. Current research topics include governance and planning for low-carbon, resilient, just cities; justice in transitions; and Indigenous representation. She holds a BA and MA (Planning) from the University of British Columbia and a PhD from the University of Melbourne.
Dr. Gislason is a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University and founder of the Research for Eco-social and Equitable Transformation (RESET) team. As an eco-social equity scholar, she works with a range of partners on projects rooted in the ethic of intergenerational climate justice and towards the goal of improving health for people and the planet. Dr. Gislason works with governments using sex- and gender-based analysis approaches to address the impacts of climate change on equity-deserving groups and is championing new work on children’s mental health resilience and climate change.
Eugene Kung (he/him/his) is a staff lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, working on issues related to tar sands, pipelines and tankers, as well as with the RELAW program. He is committed to human rights, social justice and environmental justice and has been working to stop the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion project.
Prior to joining West Coast, Eugene was a staff lawyer with the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre, where he had a social justice law practice in the areas of constitutional, human rights, administrative, anti-Poverty and regulatory law. He has represented low- and fixed-income ratepayers before the BC Utilities Commission; low-income tenants of slumlords; tree planters and temporary foreign workers before the BC Human Rights Tribunal; and families of deceased farmworkers at a coroner’s inquest.
Marc Lee is a Senior Economist with the British Columbia office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). Marc led the CCPA's Climate Justice Project (CJP), which published a wide range of research on fair and effective approaches to climate action through integrating principles of social justice. Marc continues to write about climate and energy policy, as well as strategies for affordable housing. Over his career, Marc has tracked federal and provincial budgets and economic trends, and published on a wide range of topics from poverty and inequality to globalization and international trade to public services and regulation. Marc was "classically trained," with an MA in Economics from Simon Fraser University and a BA in Economics from the University of Western Ontario.
Tesicca is the Ministerial Advisor, Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. She has served on the Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force, the Simon Fraser Student Society, SFU Senate, and as board chair of Sustainable SFU.
Dr. Bentley B. Allan is the Associate Director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). Dr. Allan joined PICS in the summer of 2020 from his position as Associate Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Ohio State University and an HBA from the University of Toronto.
He has expertise in the relationship between science, technology and politics, the history of climate policy, and the political economy of decarbonization. He is the author of an award-winning book with Cambridge University Press and a number of peer-reviewed articles in the top journals in his field.
Jonathan leads Vancity’s External Relations and Impact Strategy division overseeing government relations, communications, community investment, climate strategy and performance, and member and stakeholder engagement.
Mumbi is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia. She is part of a research team working to imagine how Canadian cities can catalyze transformative innovation in tackling colonialism, rising inequities and the climate crisis. Mumbi’s doctoral research examined the roles of various actors, including historically marginalized groups, in the enactment of sustainability in higher education policy and practice. A Social Planner at the City of Vancouver, Mumbi is collaboratively working towards organizational transformation through the development of the Equity Framework. Her previous work focused on grassroots social and environmental justice organizing, anti-racist education and cross-cultural collaboration with immigrant and other communities across North America.
Khelsilem is Councillor, Squamish Nation. He is Squamish and Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw, raised in North Vancouver, British Columbia. As the Squamish Nation Councillor, his lifelong work has been focused on governance, Indigenous languages, and dreams of progressive social change. He has served on various committees, including: Governance, Finance & Audit, Human Resources, and Housing Authority Development. He has strived to create good governance practices that enhance transparency, accountability, and ethical governing standards to benefit the Nation’s members.