Sustainable Futures initiative launched

Friday, October 7, 2022

On September 19, the University of Waterloo launched the Sustainable Futures initiative; -  a collaboration that brings together the Water institute, the Waterloo Climate 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.<--break->

The event was held at Federation Hall with more than 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 followed by keynote speaker Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Destination Zero, who provided a detailed outline of 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 by Tova 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.

Director's Panel

“The combined expertise of Waterloo’s research centres on climate change, sustainable energy and water holds great promise in accelerating innovative research and education aimed at achieving Canada’s net zero commitments,” said Roy Brouwer, Executive Director, Water Institute.

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

Panel 1Panel 2

Panel 3Poster Session

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 Initative.