On Friday, November 8, 2019 professors Anneke Smit and Patrícia Galvão Ferreira and a team of students from Windsor Law launched a new project to support meaningful municipal climate action across Canada and beyond.
The Windsor Law Cities and Climate Action Forum launch took place at the Capitol Theatre, in partnership with the Windsor International Film Festival.
“The Cities and Climate Action Forum is an interactive platform aimed at empowering youth, community builders, and municipal institutions across Canada to collaborate for meaningful climate change responses at the local level,” says Dr. Galvão Ferreira. “The forum also contributes to existing global initiatives to support local actors to address the climate challenge, under the Paris Climate Agreement. With cities responsible for 60 per cent or more of global carbon emissions, they have to be part of the solution to the climate crisis.”
The forum is based at Windsor Hall downtown and is part of the new Windsor Law Centre for Cities.
Students are at the core of its work. In addition to a grant from the Government of Canada, the forum has received financial support from the University of Windsor’s Research Innovation Fund, Windsor Law, and the School of Creative Arts. It aims to create new spaces for training, research, and public engagement via conferences, workshops, webinars, social media, and open access resources, with the ultimate goal of building institutional and community capacity to combat climate change at the local level.
“As a community-facing project, we are delighted to be partnering with WIFF for our official launch,” says Dr. Smit.
Friday’s launch event began at 4:25 p.m. in the Capitol Theatre with a screening of There’s Something in the Water, a film by actor and director Ellen Page and director and producer Ian Daniel. The film is based on Dalhousie University professor Ingrid Waldron’s incendiary study. It follows Page as she travels to primarily Indigenous and Black communities of Nova Scotia that are plagued by toxic fallout from industrial development.
Following the film, 22 year-old Indigenous water activist Makaśa Looking Horse and film co-director Daniel participated in a short panel discussion on climate change, environmental racism, and the power of local action.
“Indigenous and other marginalized communities are often most affected by climate change and in many cases have been doing work to combat it for a long time with little recognition,” explains Smit. “They must be at the centre of climate action moving forward.”
Additional upcoming events for the Cities and Climate Action Forum include co-organizing a national law student research-a-thon on Municipalities and Climate Change on Nov. 18 and conferences in February and March 2020 aimed at providing high school and university students and other community builders the tools to work effectively for local climate action. The forum can also be followed on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at @CityClimateAct.