Talking about climate change with your friends, colleagues, families and communities is one of the best ways to spark change and motivate collective action. What's more, social science shows that action and agency are vital antidotes to climate anxiety.
TIPs for taking action and Engaging others
Whatever your role is at UBC, and no matter how big or small the actions you're able to take are, if you are interested in engaging others on climate action and taking action yourself, you can play a part! Here's our recommendations for how.
Learn more about the Climate Emergency.
Learn about the foundations of the Climate Emergency through the UBC Climate Hub's helpful resources about climate science, the climate crisis, climate justice, and UBC's response, as well as this collection of UBC video resources about the climate emergency.
See what's happening at UBC and locally. Read up about the UBC Climate Emergency Response and UBC's Climate Action Plan 2030 (or the short version, the Plan at a Glance). You can also check out the City of Vancouver's Climate Emergency Action Plan, or if you live outside Vancouver, look up the climate action plans for your own municipality.
If you can, take a UBC course! UBC offers more than 60 sustainability-related undergraduate, graduate and professional programs and hundreds of courses, including topics such as climate change, climate justice, and climate science.
Explore and learn about climate solutions that can help mitigate climate change and/or support with adapting to a changing climate. See Project Drawdown and, closer to home, the rest of UBC's Take Climate Action Tips and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. Other ongoing UBC Campus as a Living Lab research also has many exciting showcase projects to address elements of the climate crisis.
Reflect on your personal 'why' and 'how.'
Name your "why." Why is responding to the climate crisis important to you, and what is your motivation for taking climate action? Having a good understanding of your own thoughts and feelings about climate change can help you to communicate more authentically about it. Remember -- not everyone's "why" will be the same as yours, so be sure to ask others about their reasons for taking climate action, and what aspects of climate change matter to them the most. You may be surprised by what you learn!
Do a self-assessment. There is no question that sweeping changes at the political, corporate and institutional level are necessary to drive the scale of systemic change required to address the climate crisis. But there can also still be room, and a role, for individual climate action, which can help to foster a sense of agency in the face of the climate crisis. Individuals organizing into groups can lead to collective action and advocacy, and the development of collective solutions; taken together, individual shifts in areas like reducing consumption, advocating for climate justice, voting for climate-friendly candidates, and driving or flying less can collectively make a real difference.
Your self-assessment could include:
- Recognizing that taking climate action will look different for everyone, and may not always be accessible to everyone. Within and across countries, including Canada, marginalized and economically vulnerable communities will be disproportionately impacted by climate change (in addition to often contributing least to overall global emissions). UBC recognizes that the ability to partake in sustainable actions may be constrained by lack of privilege and inequality.
- Considering how you can support climate action at UBC or in your other communities, if you are able to do so. Building a sustainable future for humanity and the planet will require transformational shifts in how we work, learn, live and play. (Check out the UN's Sustainable Development Goals to see just how many aspects of our lives these changes could encompass.) What connections can you draw between these areas and your own life? What are your spheres of influence for catalyzing change?
- Measuring your carbon footprint and, if applicable and possible, considering opportunities for adjustments at a personal, household, professional or community level. Check out the Ecological Footprint Calculator, which helps determine the impact of lifestyle choices and how many planets we would need to sustain current consumption levels. The Global Footprint Network was founded by Mathis Wackernagel, who developed the Ecological Footprint concept as part of his doctoral research at the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning, along with Professor William Rees.
Start the conversation, and look for opportunities to advocate for systemic change.
Ready to start chatting with your friends, classmates, colleagues, families and other community groups? Get communication strategies from the experts. Check out the David Suzuki Foundation's Seven Essential Resources for Climate Conversations. It include suggestions for conversation starters, connecting over shared values, how to find common ground, and why facts don't always change our minds (and what could).
Vote, organize and advocate:
- Use your voice and your vote to support credible climate action at the municipal, provincial and federal level, and leaders and representatives who endorse it.
- Organize with other members of your UBC or local communities, such as clubs, faith groups, local non-profits, or other community centers (UBC's CALP offers a great program supporting climate organizing in Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods).
- Students can advocate for more climate change and climate justice content throughout their UBC academic experience - here's how.
Join a climate or sustainability community, group or network at UBC.
Subscribe and stay informed. Sign up for UBC's sustainability-related eNewsletters for campus and program updates, opportunities to get involved, and resources to help you make an impact.
Would like to get involved or have a sustainability idea, but need funding/resources? Check out UBC's Sustainable Funding Opportunities.
Join a student club or group. There are currently 70+ student groups on the UBC Vancouver campus striving towards environmental and social sustainability in their respective communities. Consider joining one of the many volunteer-run student clubs, organizations and initiatives on campus for a meaningful extracurricular!
Explore student leadership, work and research opportunities. Check out programs to engage your peers and the UBC community about sustainability like the Sustainability Ambassadors Program, Sustainability Scholars Program, Zero Waste Squad, UBC Climate Hub, Student Sustainability Council and SEEDS Sustainability Program.
Join an employee sustainability network. Are you a passionate advocate for sustainability, interested in building a network with like-minded members of the community, or simply want to dip your toe in to learn more? UBC offers a number of pathways for deeper involvement:
- Subscribe to the UBC Workplace Sustainability eNewsletter to receive the latest updates on workplace sustainability-related news and campaigns, networking and learning opportunities, cross-campus sustainability highlights from fellow staff members, and tips for integrating sustainable practices into your workplace and routines.
- Become a Sustainability Coordinator. Open to all UBC Vancouver employees, join an ever-growing network of campus coordinators and receive the support, awareness, skills and tools to foster sustainable practices in your workplace.
- Work in a laboratory environment? Participate in UBC’s Green Labs Program, which empowers researchers to reduce the environmental impact of laboratory-based activities by implementing sustainable practices and technologies.
- Stay tuned for more exciting new UBC programs to support you and your UBC community in taking climate action! In mid- to late 2022, UBC will be rolling out a new sustainability engagement program for employees in offices and laboratories, and for student clubs, that will provide a comprehensive framework and resources for taking collective climate action in support of UBC's climate goals.
Find a Sustainability Representative. Looking for like-minded employees in your faculty, department or building? Search for Sustainability Coordinators or sustainability committee / task force contacts within your UBC community. Can't find anyone near you? Consider becoming a representative yourself through the UBC Sustainability Coordinator Program, or join with other staff members to form a faculty, department or building sustainability committee.
Support climate and sustainability research at UBC. The SEEDS Sustainability Program provides an opportunity for faculty to sponsor, and employees to serve as partners and collaborates in, student-led applied sustainability research projects or interdisciplinary collaboration.
Collaborate with faculty to integrate sustainability into UBC's educational programs. Interdisciplinary Education and Climate Education Grants are available to support small teams of UBC Vancouver faculty members to design interdisciplinary sustainability curriculum. Or, become a climate expert to collaborate with UBC course instructors and deliver paid guest lectures on climate change-related content via the Climate Teaching Connector.
Nurture your mental health and wellbeing.
Feeling anxious about climate change? You're not alone. Climate anxiety is real and, especially with the recent natural disasters British Columbia has experienced, many of us have felt it. The Climate Hub provides ongoing resources about climate anxiety and wellbeing through their Climate Wellbeing Engagement Network, but be sure to check out other wellbeing support programs that UBC offers, including through UBC Wellbeing, HR's Health and Wellbeing Resources for UBC employees, and the Student Centre's Health and Wellbeing Resources for students.
Connect with nature. It's not only great for your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing, it reminds us why our climate and sustainability efforts matter in the first place. Luckily, engaging with nature is easy at UBC! Here's some ideas to get you started:
- Take regular movement breaks outside - rain or shine!
- Bring a plant (or five!) to your dorm or office. Keeping flowers or indoor plants can positively impact our mood and help to reduce stress levels.
- Explore one of the easily-accessible wooded areas on UBC's beautiful campus.
- Visit one of UBC's gorgeous outdoor spaces: Nitobe Garden, Rose Garden, UBC Botanical Garden or the Greenheart Tree Walk.
- Get active in Pacific Spirit Park, with its rich network of trails, right next to campus.
- Visit one of the spectacular nearby beaches, from Wreck Beach to Jericho Beach.
- Go on a treasure hunt to spot specific plants, trees or birds -- like UBC's biggest tree, a 400-year-old Douglas fir, Bald Eagles, Banana Slugs, Sword ferns and more.
Take a Self-Guided Sustainability Walking Tour and visit several places on the Vancouver campus that showcase UBC's sustainable buildings and our commitment to enhancing human and environmental wellbeing. Download the guide here.
We are what we eat. Check out our suggestions for eating for both personal and planetary health, and help support a climate-friendly food system at UBC.
Be prepared. Climate- and weather-related emergencies can happen at any time. Check out UBC's Emergency Preparedness website for information about how to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from any emergency that could affect the UBC community, and have a plan for how you (and, if relevant, your UBC unit or community) will respond.
- UBC: Take Climate Action Now
- UBC Climate Hub's Climate Emergency Resources
- UBC Climate Hub
- UBC's Emergency Preparedness website
- UBC's Sustainability-related eNewsletters
- David Suzuki Foundation's Seven Essential Resources for Climate Conversations
- Climate Wellbeing Engagement Network
- Pacific Spirit Regional Park