On Thursday, Dalhousie University hosted a lecture looking at what has happened since September’s global climate change strike that observed over 10,000 people flooding the streets of Halifax.
The lecture was called “Climate Goals: Addressing Intersecting Crises.” It was part of the College of Sustainability’s ESS lecture series focused on informing students and the wider community about climate change and how to tackle it using sustainable energy. It was co-hosted by the Dalhousie Student Union as part of Green Week 2020.
The lecture examined what happened in the months since Sept. 27, when more than 10,000 people marched through the streets of Halifax to demand that federal and provincial governments take stronger action to address the global climate crisis.
Meghan McMorris, the community energy co-ordinator at the Ecology Action Centre and a consultant for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, was a guest lecturer.
“We are living in a time of ever-growing division and polarization,” McMorris said during the lecture.
The event theme was environmental justice and centred around issues based on social justice and environmental sustainability.
“The heat wave caused by the wildfires in Australia went over 40 C, burning more than 7.8 million hectares of land, which is larger than cities such as Denmark and Belgium combined,” said McMorris.
“We are in a climate crisis right now and we don’t have time to be creating new crises right now and making things worse.”
There was also discussion about where the province stands in terms of taking actions on issues like electricity and transportation.
“After the day of the strike, there was a sudden shift. That day was a changemaker for politicians,” McMorris said.
“They told us to our faces that they realized they have to take action on climate crisis. The public has been very clear of what they expect from them.”
‘We need to do something about it’
Many of the students who attended the lecture study sustainability. Others said they were there because they were experiencing climate grief, anxiety about the future and the sense that there was a lack of real action being taken.
Emily Arteze, a Dalhousie University nursing student, also attended.
“I think it was important to attend this event because I feel that the government is not doing enough. We need to do something about it,” Arteze said in an interview after the event.
In an interview, McMorris stressed the importance of community engagement and the need to motivate to take action on climate change. She encouraged everyone to contact their MPs and MLAs to demand they address the issue.
“Try setting up a meeting with and getting to know them because they are people too,” she added. “Sometimes we get so caught up in taking a right action that we don’t take any action at all.”
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