Sustainable Futures initiative launched

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Estimated reading time: 2:30

On September 19, the University of Waterloo launched the Sustainable Futures initiative – a collaboration that brings together the Waterloo Climate Institute, the Water institute, and the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy to accelerate holistic approaches to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a focus on the interconnections between energy, climate and water.

The event was held at Federation Hall with 125 of Waterloo’s key collaborators, including government, industry partners, community organizations, researchers and students who gathered to celebrate the launch and learn about the current and future projects we are pursuing to unlock solutions for greater impact.

Charmaine Dean, Vice-President, Research and International, and Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Waterloo, welcomed the audience and were followed by keynote speaker Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Destination Zero, who provided a reality check on climate change in Canada and reasons to push towards a net-zero society.

A panel session “Exploring Waterloo's Sustainable Futures Initiative” with Institute Executive Directors, Sarah Burch, Waterloo Climate Institute, Roy Brouwer, Water Institute and Claudio A. Cañizares, Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy was moderated byTova Davidson, Executive Director, Sustainable Waterloo Region. The panel focused on the Institutes’ strong history of collaboration and the potential to unlock more impactful solutions to advance progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in Canada and around the world.

Fostering deeper partnerships between the three institutes holds great promise in accelerating innovative research and education aimed at achieving Canada’s net zero commitments.

Sarah Burch

The afternoon technical panels on advancing climate change science and technology toward a net zero future described leading-edge research programs and projects.

Theme 1: Exploring nature-based solutions

  • Marjorie Shepherd (moderator), Director, Science and Technology Strategies, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Dr. Pascal Badiou, Research Scientist, Ducks Unlimited Canada
  • Nandita Basu, University Research Chair in Global Water Sustainability and Ecohydrology, Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences/Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo
  • Meaghan Eastwood, Supervisor, Climate Transition & Sustainability, Region of Waterloo
  • Maria Strack, Canada Research Chair in Ecosystems and Climate, Professor, Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo

Theme 2: Exploring technology-based solutions

  • Peter Massie (moderator), Senior Policy Advisor, Energy Technology Policy, Natural Resources Canada
  • Kate Daley, Environmental Sustainability Specialist, Region of Waterloo
  • Laura Hug, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Microbiology, Professor, Biology, University of Waterloo
  • John McNally, Program Director, Clean and Resilient Growth, Smart Prosperity Institute
  • Vanessa Schweizer, Professor, Knowledge Integration, University of Waterloo

Theme 3: Exploring municipal-scale solutions

  • Mary Jane Patterson (moderator), Executive Director, Reep Green Solutions
  • Amelia Clarke, Professor, School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, University of Waterloo
  • Michael Drescher, Professor, School of Planning, University of Waterloo
  • Geoff McMurdo, Chief Administrative Officer, Activa

Thank you to all those who attended and to the guest speakers and panelists for making the event a success.

If you missed the event, view the recordings and stay up to date with the Sustainable Futures

Contact us for media inquiries to learn more about this or other climate change related stories. 

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Monday, September 26, 2022

Meet Waterloo's COP27 delegation

The University of Waterloo, through the Waterloo Climate Institute, is an official observer to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and participates in the annual Conference of the Parties (COP). This year, COP27 will take place in Egypt from November 6 to 18, 2022, and Waterloo will send a delegation of four outstanding candidates: Sarah Burch, Zahid Butt, Isra Saeed and Alexandra Ho.