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IRIS and APECS host climate change workshop

IRIS and APECS host climate change workshop

A growing number of people are experiencing the effects of climate change in their daily lives, but those effects are not distributed equally. A workshop at York on Wednesday will discuss the issue of climate change and who it affects and how, the role of governments and what should be done.

The Climate Justice and Politics Workshop is part of the Climate Justice II Workshop Series, “Bringing a Democratic Canadian Perspective to the Climate Change Conference in South Africa: Taking Action on Climate Change.” The event will take place Oct. 26, from 1 to 4pm, 305 York Lanes, Keele campus. It is hosted by York’s Institute for Research & Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) and Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), and co-ordinated by Mihae Ahn, a student in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES), and JP Sapinski, a PhD student at the University of Victoria.

The workshop will feature five student panelists with follow-up commentary by guest discussant York FES Professor Ellie Perkins. It will also be virtually available for those outside the University to participate. For instructions on how to connect, click here. The idea is to help spark discussion about people who are already marginalized – women, dispossessed classes, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities and citizens of poorer countries – and who are bearing the brunt of the consequences of a warming world.

The workshop is just one of the events being organized by IRIS and APECS in advance of the United Nations climate change conference, COP17, in Durban, South Africa, in November. It is an opportunity to meet and share ideas with like-minded climate justice activists and academics. It is also intended to solicit input from the audience to inform the work of the York University delegates, some of whom will participate in an exhibit booth intended to highlight Inuit experiences and perspectives of climate change. "We are also waiting to hear about the approval of our side event, 'Bridging Knowledges: Communicating on Climate Change Experiences to Build Resilient Communities'," says Rachel Hirsch, a FES post-doctoral fellow and IRIS executive member at York.

Two of the delegates are youth from Arviat, Nunavut. It is important to have the voice of the Arviat youth at COP17, says Hirsch, as they are one of the groups most affected by climate change. The whole idea is to create dialogue. The booth is a joint effort between York University, the Inuit Circumpolar Council and the Nanisiniq Project. “Bringing people to COP17 is one way to get people’s voices heard regarding climate change, but it has become a pan-Canadian initiative,” says Hirsch. The result is that “we all want this to be an ongoing network for continuing dialogue. It has become something so much bigger.” 

The five panelists will discuss climate justice and politics from perspectives ranging from ethics and philosophy to critical discourse analysis to the political economy of global warming. FES student Aaron Saad will discuss, “Just and Unjust Solutions to Climate Change and Human Displacement,” Ahn will look at “Climate Change and Hybrid Ethics: A Review of Four Ethical Theories,” University of Toronto students Rachel York-Bridgers and Paul York will discuss “Animals and Climate Change,” Sapinski will talk about “Capitalism, Climate Change and the Discourse of Ecological Modernization” and University of Ottawa student Chris Bisson will look at “Resilient Cooperation – A (Re)new(ed) Alternative to Sustainable Development." Sapinski and Bisson will join the workshop virtually.

“Such a workshop is crucial because it challenges the way that climate change is currently addressed at the global level. The impacts of climate change on people force them to migrate to other countries or regions (climate refugees) or change their whole way of life (First Nations and Inuit people, especially in the North), among others,” says Sapinski. “However, the issue of climate justice is not limited to the impacts of climate change, as injustices and inequalities also come from the way governments deal with the issue.”

For more information on the workshop, its presenters and their abstracts, visit the Climate Justice and Politics Workshop website. For more information about the Arviat youth, visit the Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project website.

Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.