Local leaders, researchers, and community members with interests in climate action will meet virtually over the lunch hour starting Monday, Feb. 22, in a week-long climate research initiative.
The series of presentations and roundtable discussions are being organized by the Windsor-Essex Climate Change Collaborative in partnership with the Windsor Law Cities & Climate Action Forum and the Windsor Law Transnational Environmental Law Clinic, with the support of the Office of the Vice-President of Research and Innovation, Michael Siu.
“The United Nations Secretary General has noted that 2021 is a particularly important year for global climate action and has highlighted the need for cities and local communities to lead these efforts,” says forum director Anneke Smit. “We know that there is a wealth of interest and expertise in Windsor-Essex and at UWindsor, and this is a way of celebrating that and deepening our collective commitment to climate action in this region.”
The groups hope to highlight the need for climate action to be a whole-of-community approach, including leadership by public anchor institutions.
“Climate change is already impacting our region in profound ways” says Claire Sanders, climate change specialist at the Essex Region Conservation Authority. “In response to the multitude of vulnerabilities and risks facing different sectors, as well as the need for collaborative and collective action, ERCA initiated a regional climate change strategy in 2018 called the Windsor Essex Climate Change Collaborative.”
Speakers on Feb. 22, including UWindsor president Robert Gordon, County of Essex Warden Gary McNamara, Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare CEO Janice Kaffer, Erie Shores Healthcare CEO Kristin Kennedy, Conseil Scolaire Catholique Providence director of education Joseph Picard, City of Windsor climate change specialist Karina Richters, and senior administrators and representatives of several other local public institutions, will highlight ongoing or planned climate action by their institutions.
With climate research — and funding — increasingly focused on interdisciplinary collaboration, the week’s activities are also intended to support the development and strengthening of research networks.
Organizers encourage UWindsor researchers and community partners interested in collaboration to register to participate in one or more lunchtime research roundtable sessions from Feb. 23 to 25. Each session will focus on a different sphere of climate-related research at UWindsor and with community partners.
Topics to be discussed will include climate-resilient watersheds, urban sustainability, and international and transnational climate action, with roundtables taking a broad interpretation of what constitutes climate-related research areas. Participants will be given five minutes each to highlight current or planned research, or ideas for collaboration on climate-related themes. All Climate Week activities are also open to the public.
Researchers and other attendees are asked to register on the Windsor Law Centre for Cities website.