University of Waterloo declares a climate emergency

Thursday, May 20, 2021
This message was originally circulated by President and Vice-Chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

Today the University of Waterloo declared a climate emergency. In doing so we are joining communities, governments and other post-secondary institutions around the world.The impacts of climate change are already being felt in Canada and across the globe. These effects will continue to intensify. They pose acute and lasting risks for communities, business, and natural ecosystems. The risks threaten all other life on earth as well as the richness and complexity of global biodiversity.

As an institution, we have acknowledged in many places, such as in our Strategic Plan, that climate change is a critical issue.

This declaration makes it very clear where the university stands: we recognize that climate change is an emergency, and we must treat it as such.

We also acknowledge that:

  • the University’s own communities are – and will continue to be – among those who experience these impacts, and
  • the climate crisis compounds existing social and economic inequities, creating additional hardships for marginalized groups.

We understand our unique role to play given our robust reputation for research and teaching on climate change and energy. Today we are strengthening our commitment to taking bold action.

I would like to thank everyone in the community who has demonstrated strong support for climate justice. I thank those who have called on the University of Waterloo to act.

I invite you to read the full declaration on our Climate Emergency Declaration website. We will provide regular updates on our commitments on the site. I encourage you to continue to stay engaged on this important issue.


Feridun Hamdullahpur

President and Vice-Chancellor