University of Waterloo declares a climate emergency

Thursday, May 20, 2021

On May 19, 2021 member of the University of Waterloo community received an email from President and Vice-Chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur declaring it will join communities and other post-secondary institutions around the world in declaring a Climate Emergency.

With the declaration, Waterloo recognizes: 

  • That the impacts of climate change are already being felt both in Canada and around the world and will continue to intensify, posing acute and lasting risks for communities, business, and natural ecosystems. These risks include, but are not limited to, damages from extreme weather, threats to human health and wellbeing, economic disruption, food and water insecurity, and social instability. These risks also include threats to all other life on earth, and to the richness and complexity of global biodiversity.
  • That the University’s own stakeholders, including its students, employees, partners, alumni, and neighboring communities are and will continue to be among those who experience these impacts.
  • That the climate crisis compounds existing social and economic inequities, creating additional hardships for already marginalized groups including Indigenous people, racialized people, low-income communities or those living in poverty, women, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
  • That human activity is understood to be the main cause of recent experienced climate change and dominant driver of future climate change, and urgent global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is needed to avoid worsening impacts.
  • That efforts across many levels of government and industry have yet to reach the scale and speed necessary to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement to limit global average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius, much less the 1.5 degrees Celsius target that would, according to the best available science, ensure a climate-safe future.
  • That there are tremendous opportunities for transformation to a future defined by equitable, inclusive, resilient, and prosperous global societies supported by low-carbon, clean, and circular economies. 
  • That, as a public institution with a robust academic reputation for research and teaching on climate change and energy, the University of Waterloo has a crucial role to play in climate action. 
  • That meaningful climate action must build on the support of the community and on respect of Indigenous Peoples’ human rights. 
  • That our students, faculty and staff have demonstrated strong support for climate justice and have called on the University to act accordingly.

For more information on this important step towards a more sustainble visit Waterloo's Climate Emergency website.

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