Climate justice advocates for a shift in the focus of dialogue on climate change away from economic imperatives and technical solutions, to protecting the human rights of those most vulnerable to its effects, both globally and locally.

Climate change causes disproportionate impacts on people. Youth, in particular, see the climate crisis as one of the defining challenges of their age, noting that continued fossil fuel expansion will lock in decades of greenhouse gas emissions, jeopardizing their human rights and future prospects. 

In response to the focus on climate justice as part of UBC’s Declaration of a Climate Emergency and recommendations from its Climate Emergency Task Force (CETF) Report the UBC Sustainability Initiative is launching the Climate Justice Series, featuring sessions that examine climate justice from various perspectives, locally and globally.

In addition, the student-driven UBC Climate Hub is organizing a year-long event series on the theme of climate change, race and intersectionality. These examine in detail the disproportionate effects of the climate crisis on Black and Indigenous communities, and what it means to build respectful relationships and equity in the future.

Together, our events are presented in partnership with the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.


Take Nature as the Measure: The Search for Sustainability

Wednesday, April 21

12:30pm – 2:00pm

Join for a conversation between Wes Jackson, one of the founders of the sustainable agriculture movement, and author Robert Jensen as well as UBC professors Ramana and Hannah Wittman.

In more than four decades as president of The Land Institute, Wes Jackson became widely known as one of the founders of the sustainable agriculture movement for his work on perennial grains and Natural Systems Agriculture. Learn about Jackson’s ideas to advance sustainable agriculture and the other dramatic changes necessary if we are to effectively address climate change and other ecological crises crisis and create a sustainable and just society for all to thrive.

Learn more about the book, The Restless and Relentless Mind of Wes Jackson: Searching for Sustainability.


  • Wes Jackson, founder and president emeritus of The Land Institute.
  • Robert Jensen, author of The Restless and Relentless Mind of Wes Jackson: Searching for Sustainability
  • Hannah Wittman, Professor, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC
  • M. V. Ramana, Professor, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, UBC

Moderator: Paige Inglis, Student, Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs

Organized by the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs.




Friday, April 9 

1:30pm – 3:00pm

What role can and should UBC play as we strive for climate justice? Join a discussion with UBC faculty and staff committed to this work.

The webinar will include reflections on what climate justice means to the panelists and the role they feel that UBC and postsecondary institutions have in relation to climate justice. Panelists will consider UBC as an institution engaging in education, research and outreach as well as the role of students, faculty and staff in bringing about climate justice.


  • Adriana Laurent (Project Administrator, UBC Climate Hub)
  • Charles Menzies (member of Gitxaała Nation; Professor, Department of Anthropology, UBC)
  • Jessica Dempsey (Associate Professor, Department of Geography, UBC)
  • Sharon Stein (Assistant Professor, Department of Education Studies, UBC)


  • Michelle Marcus (Environmental Sciences student; Former Climate Emergency Task Force Co-Chair; Climate Justice UBC divestment organizer)
  • Tara Ivanochko (Academic Director, UBC Sustainability Initiative; Associate Professor of Teaching, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, UBC).

Organized by the UBC Sustainability Initiative.



UBC Reads Sustainability with Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Friday, March 26, 2021

12:00pm – 2:00pm

Featuring The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet

The Arctic ice is receding each year, but just as irreplaceable is the culture, the wisdom that has allowed the Inuit to thrive in the Far North for so long. And it's not just the Arctic. The whole world is changing in dangerous, unpredictable ways. Sheila Watt-Cloutier has devoted her life to protecting what is threatened and nurturing what has been wounded.

Join for a conversation on The Right to Be Cold – a culmination of Watt-Cloutier's regional, national, and international work over the last twenty-five years – exploring the parallels between safeguarding the Arctic and the survival of Inuit culture, of which her own background is such an extraordinary example. This is a human story of resilience, commitment, and survival told from the unique vantage point of an Inuk woman who, in spite of many obstacles, rose from humble beginnings in the Arctic to become one of the most influential and decorated environmental, cultural, and human rights advocates in the world.

Moderator: Dr. Ananya Mukherjee Reed; Provost and Vice-President, Academic, at UBC Okanagan and Professor in the Department of Economics, Philosophy and Political Science at the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Organized by the UBC Sustainability Initiative.

Presented in partnership with the First Nations House of Learning, Okanagan Campus, Sustainability Ambassadors, Centre for Community Engaged Learning, and School of Public Policy and Global Affairs.



Friday, March 19


The discussion will include reflections on what climate justice means to the panelists, and how they are building it into their work; the process of translating climate justice activism and advocacy into government action; and the role of citizens and social movements in bringing about climate justice focused government action.


  • Andrea Reimer (Former City Councillor and Deputy Mayor, City of Vancouver; Adjunct Professor of Practice at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, UBC)
  • Christine Boyle (City of Vancouver Councillor; United Church Minister)
  • Khelsilem (Council Member & Spokesperson for the Squamish Nation Council)
  • Honourable Bowinn Ma (Minister of State for Infrastructure)

Moderator: Sara Muir Owen (Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions).

Organized by the UBC Sustainability Initiative.

watch on youtube



Tuesday, March 16


Join us for an evening of storytelling centered around different intersections on the topic of gender and environmental justice. From issues of migration, activism, leadership, and access to outdoor spaces, we will be exploring the various ways in which the effects of environmental (in)justice are shared unequally across the gendered intersectional spectrum.


  • Niki Najmabadi (former member of the Women’s Centre, Social Justice Centre, and Sexual Assault Support Centre; organizer for Our Time Vancouver)
  • Myia Antone (UBC undergrad in an advanced Squamish language program; Wilderness First Responder; on the Board of Directors for the Indigenous Life Sport Academy)
  • Evelyn Arriagada (Ph.D. student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, member of EDGES Research Collaborative (Environment and Development: Gender, Equity and Sustainability))
  • Adriana (she/her) (an active member of the climate, youth and racial justice organizing community, helped inform climate policy in the city and developed her own policy proposals on climate change and migration)

Moderator: Dr. Tara Cookson (Assistant Professor at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs (SPPGA) and an Associate Member of the Geography Department).

Organized by the UBC Climate Hub.




Thursday, March 11


Are we deranged? The acclaimed Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh argues that future generations may well think so. Join Ghosh for an examination of The Great Derangement and our inability—at the level of literature, history, and politics—to grasp the scale and violence of climate change.

Organized by the UBC Sustainability Initiative.

watch on youtube 


Draining Latin America: Extractivism and Mining

Thursday, March 11


It is not a secret that Latin America is one of the richest geo regions in terms of natural resources. Many extraction companies based in North America have taken advantage of Latin America’s great reserves often to the detriment of the land and its peoples, especially Indigenous communities. Join us as we explore the damage that mining companies and resource extraction has caused in Latin America and more pressingly how these companies have been linked to violence and criminalization of peaceful activism.

Organized by the UBC Climate Hub.



“Just Is”≠ Justice

Friday, March 5


Countries and peoples that are least responsible for causing climate change are the ones suffering most from its effects. Learn about climate justice in Africa, climate justice as a threat to Indigenous sovereignty, BC’s oil tanker and pipeline projects and climate justice, and the global policy framework for acting on climate.


  • Eugene Kung (West Coast Environmental Law)
  • Kathryn Harrison (Professor of Political Science, UBC)
  • Temitope Onifade (Lawyer; International Doctoral Fellow and a Vanier Scholar at Allard Law School, UBC)
  • Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson (Artist; Counsel to the Haida Nation; Masters student, Allard Law School, UBC)

Moderator: Linda Nowlan (Senior Director of the UBC Sustainability Initiative; Adjunct Professor in the Allard School of Law, UBC).

Organized by the UBC Sustainability Initiative.

*This virtual event was interrupted by an attendee posting racist commentary in the chat. The recording was edited to remove any reference to this incident in order to avoid providing a platform for racism. UBC condemns and denounces all incidents of anti-Black and anti-Asian racism and the continued racism and oppression that is directed at Indigenous communities.*

watch on youtube 


Envisioning a Just City - Climate and Racial Justice in Urban Planning

Thursday, February 25


An evening presenting the issues of racial and climate justice in urban planning. We will be addressing the anti-Black and anti-Indigenous planning practices that have marked Vancouver and have been worsened by the disproportionate effects of the climate crisis. Our discussion will unpack what it means to build and strengthen respectful relationships with Black and Indigenous communities, to reimagine inclusive urban spaces, to share valuable expertise and build more equitable cities in the face of climate change.


  • Maggie Low (Status member of Wikwemikoong Unceded Territory; Co-Chair Indigenous Community Planning, School of Community and Regional Planning, UBC)
  • Jahmira Lovemore White (Co-founder of Black Mutual Aid BC, member of Black Lives Matter Vancouver and the Hogan's Alley Society)
  • Salia Joseph, St'axí7alut (she/her) (Executive Director of Kwi Awt Stelmexw, a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh non-profit focused on language revitalization. Graduate of the First Nations and Indigenous studies program, UBC)

Organized by the UBC Climate Hub.

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