Thursday, December 1st, 2011.
The Climate Consortium for Research Action Integration (CC-RAI) and York’s Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) unit hosted two events aimed at engaging professionals and students involved in climate change research and action last Thursday at the York Research Tower. The events served as the capstone to a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) supported project focused on climate change and public outreach.
The morning session featured an opportunity to join one of the United Kingdom’s leading experts on climate adaptation, Roger Street (right), technical director of the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP), for a conversation around issues of climate adaptation and extreme weather.
Karen Kraft Sloan, co-principal investigator on the SSHRC grant, and Lisa Philipps, associate vice-president research and innovation, provided initial words of welcome, while David Phipps, director of Research Services & Knowledge Mobilization, talked about the SSHRC project’s role in the development of 25 clear language climate change research summaries, the placement of six interns and a range of other outreach activities.
Left: Lisa Philipps, associate vice-president research, welcomes guests
Stewart Dutfield, CC-RAI program and communications manager, then introduced Street, who presented on the development of UKCIP as a boundary organization and its role in facilitating stakeholder engagement with the public and private sector. Street, a transplanted Canadian with more than 32 years’ experience working for the federal government, and a father of two York University graduates, addressed the importance of developing a systems approach to multi-sectoral engagement to avoid maladaptation in response to climate change.
His presentation provided the impetus for a discussion of how municipal policy partners and organizations within the public and private sectors could most effectively collaborate to protect against the challenges of a changing climate, such as the increased frequency of extreme weather events. Over the course of breakfast, a two-hour discussion and a networking lunch, a broad array of topics was discussed, ranging from the critical role of political leadership in support of climate adaptation to the importance of effective messaging in communicating to stakeholders short-, medium- and long-term adaptation planning.
Right: Ewa Modlinska, a York University master of environmental studies graduate and Kobo winner, presents her graduate research and analysis
Corin Robertson, deputy British high commissioner, and John Preece, the consulate’s science and innovation officer, along with Jonathan Dart, Toronto consul-general, also took part in the discussion. Dart highlighted the role UKCIP has played nationally in the UK and internationally in raising the profile of climate adaptation, along with the UK government’s willingness to support such work at home and abroad.
Other guests included SSHRC policy partners: the regions of Peel, Durham and York, the City of Toronto’s environment office, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and the Association of Canadian Educational Resources (ACER), among other organizations from the public and private sector, as well as faculty and graduate students.
The afternoon session, the “7&7 Graduate Research Symposium & Mixer”, was an opportunity to develop knowledge exchange among graduate students from across the province. The research symposium allowed students the opportunity to showcase their work on climate change, renewable energy, climate justice and other related topics in only seven minutes and seven slides.
Left: Graduate students from Ontario universities take a break from presentations to relax and discuss the topics
In all, 16 presenters, from York University, Brock University, the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto, among others, took part in a truly interdisciplinary exchange with a wide range of topics presented, including the role of art and science in mediating a discussion on climate change, extreme wind and climate change in Ontario, the survival of the polar bear and the impact of climate change on Ontario’s $1-billion wine industry.
As the first of hopefully many future symposiums, CC-RAI aims to support the development of a network of “climate savvy” scholars and professionals with the experience and expertise to address head-on the challenges of a changing climate. The consoritum was founded in 2008 by York University and the TRCA.
This one-day event was made possible with the generous funding of SSHRC, the Knowledge Mobilization Unit and CC-RAI. Other activities associated with this project have included the placement of six SSHRC interns in policy partner organizations across the GTA.
Green Venture and Green Air Hamilton allowed CC-RAI to showcase a series of posters designed by high school students aimed at highlighting some of the challenges posed by a changing climate. Kobo donated Kobo e-readers as prizes for the graduate research symposium.
Additional details on the SSHRC project and a wide range of case studies are available on the Climate Consortium for Research Action Integration website.
For more information on CC-RAI events, contact Stewart Dutfield at email@example.com.
Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.