When Greta Thunberg launched her movement to fight climate change just 15 months ago she likely never imagined that she would influence not only her hometown in Sweden but the entire world.
And yet just this past Friday, as part of the Global Climate Strike that she inspired, thousands of Canadian students began a series of walkouts, marches and interventions that will culminate with a global day of action on September 27.
Schools, colleges and universities as well as many businesses and unions across Canada are joining the movement and are either closing their doors for the event or have announced that they will accommodate those wishing to participate in this Friday’s day of action.
The University of Ottawa stands in solidarity with this global student-led movement. uOttawa supports student engagement in the democratic process as well as evidence-based policy-making. We understand that urgent steps must be taken to reduce global carbon emissions to ensure a secure future for today’s young people, as there is overwhelming scientific evidence that anthropocentric climate-change is a reality and that without real change it is only going to worsen.
“As a university with an important focus on sciences and as a member of the global community, uOttawa is committed to playing its part in fighting the climate crisis. I encourage all members of our community to learn more, to take steps, to express their views and to engage in making a positive difference in the world”, said the President of the University, Jacques Frémont.
The University will maintain regular academic and administrative activities on September 27 but teaching staff have been directed to accommodate students who wish to participate in the march organized in Ottawa and Gatineau. Indeed, uOttawa encourages those students who wish to participate to do so.
Over the years, uOttawa has taken a bold approach to sustainability. uOttawa was the first Canadian university to sign the Montreal Carbon Pledge and in 2016, vowing to reduce the carbon footprint of its investments in accordance with Canada’s national climate commitment. As indicated in the President’s report Action on climate change, the University has made clear commitments to fight climate change through teaching and research excellence, efficient management of our operations and facilities, and responsible long-term portfolio investments.
The Office of Campus Sustainability has been central in these ongoing efforts, making uOttawa one of the most environmental-friendly campuses in the country.
Last spring, the University of Ottawa ranked among the world’s top universities for its contributions in meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The University placed 69th in a Times Higher Education (THE) survey that recognizes universities for their social and economic impact.
uOttawa is committed to a sustainable future.