York holds its first annual Climate Change Month hosted by the Organized Research Units

(Courtesy of Pixabay)

Hosted by various Organized Research Units (ORUs), York celebrates its first annual Climate Change Research Month this March with events taking place just every few days. Organized by Professor Elaine Coburn, director of the Centre for Feminist Research (CFR), ORUs have come together to contribute varied and broad-ranging discussions and screenings focused on various aspects of climate change.

“Climate change has consequences for every aspect of our lives. This means that virtually all research units knew of scholarships and work that links climate change to their own mandate, whether it’s faith-based environmental action rooted in Jewish theological commitments for the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies, or gender and low-carbon economies for the CFR, or just renewable energy transitions in Canada, for the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies,” says Dr. Coburn.

Dr. Coburn decided to organize York’s first annual Climate Change Month when she learned through her children how pessimistic young generations feel about the future of environmental health. 

Originally planning to run events concerning climate change solely through the CFR, Coburn soon decided to collaborate with other ORUs.

“I quickly realized that one research unit, no matter how significant and wide our mandate, has a limited impact. So, I invited other research units to join. Then, with the CFR Coordinator, Dr. Andi Schwarz, we assigned a couple of days in the month of March 2022 to each organized research unit. None of the days overlap, allowing each research unit to organize their own speaker or event. 

“Fifteen of about 25 ORUs are participating, each autonomously organizing their event. The CFR coordinated the calendar, Dr. Schwarz created the programme, and, in February, the Vice President Research and Innovation Office offered support through the office of Senior Communications Manager Krista Anne Davidson. This means that the month is a true, collaborative effort across all the participating research units,” continues Dr. Coburn.

The commitment to creating an annual Climate Change Month is another crucial step towards widespread education and another example of how York is committed to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

“The climate crisis stands to impact every aspect of our lives, including areas such as employment, equity, health, and the wellbeing of our communities,” says York’s Vice President Research and Innovation, Dr. Amir Asif.

“York’s organized research units have done a commendable job in coming together to boost awareness about climate change research and mobilizing the community to take action in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.” 

Dr. Coburn encourages other ORUs or researchers to participate in Climate Change Month, as slots to contribute are still open.

“What we are facing is so existentially threatening that we need all voices. For this reason, the framing has been kept deliberately broad, so scholars who use different vocabularies about climate change feel welcome.  

“It matters and it only works because it is a collaborative effort. This month says that climate change matters to us, whatever research and scholarship we do — so let us come together to talk and to think and to inspire ourselves to act.” 

Anyone wishing to participate in the climate change events for next year in March 2023 are also welcome to get in touch with Dr. Coburn at ecoburn@yorku.ca

About the Author

By Jeanette Williams

Photo/Video Editor

Jeanette is in her third year double majoring in Film and English at York University with a keen interest in science and technology. She loves to write and aspires to be a showrunner or major writer for a TV series or documentary filmmaker. When Jeanette isn’t writing or studying, she is watching documentaries on anything related to politics, the health industry, or true crime.


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