UBC Climate Strike Open Letter
To President Santa Ono, the UBC Administration, the Council of Senates, and the Board of Governors:
On September 27th, we — the students, faculty, and staff of UBC — will join the Global Climate Strike (1) by walking out of our classrooms and offices in solidarity with millions around the world.
We strike because we are in the midst of a crisis - one that threatens to destroy our collective future. Scientists have said we must take drastic action within the next decade to prevent catastrophic and irreversible warming (2). This requires undergoing massive and rapid transformations across all sectors of the economy. Our leaders have failed to recognize climate change as the emergency it is and we no longer accept their promises of incremental change.
We strike because marginalized communities — especially Indigenous communities, Black communities, people of colour, queer and trans communities, migrants, the poor, and the disabled — are bearing the brunt of fossil fuel extraction and climate destruction. We strike because those who have done the least to cause the climate crisis, especially members of the Global South, are paying the greatest price. We recognize that the countries who have profited from climate change — including Canada — must bear the cost of solving it.
We also strike because we are hopeful. We have been inspired by the clear-eyed urgency of youth around the world who are organizing for a just and livable world, and by the resilience of Indigenous people who continue to resist resource extraction on their lands and in their communities. We stand with them, because we know that a better future is possible.
As a public institution dedicated to higher research and education and with a purpose towards “foster[ing] global citizenship and advanc[ing] a sustainable and just society across British Columbia, Canada and the world,” (3) UBC has a responsibility to stand with us in taking bold action. It is far time for UBC to act on its repeated commitments to climate action (4) and sustainability (5) in a way that matches the scale of this crisis.
As such, we call on UBC to declare a Climate Emergency, while recognizing that a state of emergency has been experienced for decades by Indigenous communities around the world. In doing so, UBC should commit to:
1. Reassessing divestment of the University’s financial holdings from fossil fuels through an open, transparent and evidence-based process.
2. Expanding opportunities, resources and support for faculty, students and staff to research, learn about and take action on climate change and climate justice within their departments and units.
3. Accounting for scope 3 emissions, including those from commuting and aviation-related travel, and land use change emissions in UBC’s future emission reduction targets and enacting measures to reduce them.
4. Initiating a process to develop specific actions the University will take to implement commitments 2-3, including plans to allocate additional resources and funding to carry out the actions, and report back within 120 days. The process should be overseen by an advisory group representing students, staff and faculty - with invitation extended to Musqueam - and involve consultation with the relevant campus units, as well as opportunities for wider community input.
Our futures are at stake, and we — the UBC community — are calling on you to act like it.
In unity, the undersigned,
The UBC Social Justice Centre
UBC Climate Hub
UBC Alma Mater Society
UBC Women's Centre
Ignite Undergraduate Journal
The Gender, Race, Sexuality & Social Justice Undergrad Association
UBC Environmental Policy Association
UBC Green Party Club
UBC Science Undergraduate Society
UBC Forestry Undergraduate Society
UBC Land & Food Systems Undergraduate Society
UBC Arts Undergraduate Society
UBC Vancouver School of Economics Undergraduate Society
Vegans of UBC
UBC Student Environment Centre
Mexican Students Association
UBC Ski & Board Club
RES Student Society
Centre for Sustainable Food Systems @ UBC Farm
Roots on the Roof
Anthropology Students Association
UBC Graduate Student Society
AMS Refugee Relief at UBC
Law Students for Decriminalization & Harm Reduction
UBC Environmental Law Group
Students for Mining Justice UBC
Project Imagine UBC
Amnesty International UBC
The Bike Kitchen
UBC Pottery Club
Intergenerational Landed Learning Project
UBC Pre-Vet and Animal Welfare Club
UBC Law and Society Chats
UBC Pilates Club
UBC Parks Canada Club
First Nations Studies Student Association
Residence Hall Association
Orchard Commons Residence Association
Totem Park Residence Association
Ponderosa Commons Residence Association
Place Vanier Residence Association
Young Women in Business UBC
Spanish for Community (FHIS)
Social Enterprise Club
UBC Canadian Society for Civil Engineering Student Chapter
Thunderbird Marching Band
Sponsor a Child's Education UBC
Sikh Student’s Association
UBC Canadian Liver Foundation
Bangladesh Students' Association
Hempology 101 UBC
Ecuadorian Students Association
AMS Italian Student Association
Los Cerritos Wetland Protectors
UBC School of Music
Seri Malaysia Club UBC
UBC Mental Health Network
UBC Heart and Stroke Foundation Club
UBC Slam Poetry
UBC Thai Aiyara
AMS French Club of UBC
UBC Biological Sciences Society
and Students, Staff, & Faculty of UBC
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