UTM will be holding a series of events in support of the Global Climate Strikes taking place on September 20 and 27, which coincides with the upcoming United Nations (UN) Climate Action Summit that aims to present viable plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Climate change is clearly one of the most, if not the most, important issues of our time… The Strike represents a pedagogic moment that UTM wanted to be part of,” wrote UTM Media Relations spokesperson Nicolle Wahl to The Varsity.
Classes at UTM will not be cancelled on the days of the strikes. However, in an email, former acting Vice-President and Principal Amrita Daniere encouraged faculty to be mindful of the walkouts and to remind their students to request accommodations should they participate.
In coordination with local groups, UTM is arranging drop-in workshops for making banners supporting climate justice, one-hour sessions with professors from various facilities, and TED-style climate talks.
An event titled “Meltdown: A Climate Change Summit” will be hosted at The Maanjiwe nendamowinan Building on September 24, bringing environment and health experts, including former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Dr. Diane Saxe, to discuss the impact of climate change on health.
The week of Climate Strike events will conclude on September 25 with an outdoor screening of ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch — a multiple-award winning documentary focusing on the Anthropocene Working Group.
As part of a global effort, the Climate Strike aims to “declare a climate emergency and show our politicians what action in line with climate science and justice means,” according to its website. The global strikes are inspired by school strikers, like activist Greta Thunberg, who has been leaving class every Friday since last August in protest of the climate crisis.
In a video in support of the Global Climate Strike, Thunberg said, “This shouldn’t be the children’s responsibility. Now the adults also need to help us, so we are calling for them to strike from their work because we need everyone.”
“Climate change is clearly one of the most, if not the most, important issues of our time”
U of T faced criticism in 2016 when President Meric Gertler opted not to divest from all fossil fuel companies, instead choosing to assess investments individually.
The UN Climate Action Summit, occurring the same week as the strikes, is urging world leaders to enact plans that address more than just fossil fuel mitigation and encouraging countries to move forward in fully transitioning to sustainable economies. This includes prioritizing renewable forms of energy, such as solar and wind, and removing subsidies for fossil fuels.
The UN also emphasized that these climate action plans must not add to economic inequality and that those negatively affected by shifts toward renewable energy production must be given new opportunities.
UTSG and UTSC have not announced any events for the Global Climate Strike. A full list of UTM’s Global Climate Strike events with dates and locations can be found on their website.
This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.