Sustainable Future – Challenge Accepted! Equitable Communities Ep. 5

How can addressing climate change help us build a more equitable world?

The final instalment of the University of Toronto’s five-part series, Sustainable Future – Challenge Accepted!, explores the intersection between equity, the environment and the economy.

Imara Rolston, assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and founder and director of the Community Climate Resilience Lab, talks about the importance of listening to leaders in the Black, racialized and marginalized communities most impacted by the effect of climate change.

“One of the ways to sort of stabilize a city, and I think that’s what a lot of folks don’t recognize, is to advance racial equity and racial justice,” he says. “When you advance that through policy, through sustained investment, through evidence and research and academia, then you can get ahead of what’s going to happen, and you can actually stabilize the whole city in ways it wouldn’t be if racial equity wasn’t centred.”

Karen Chapple, director of U of T’s School of Cities, an institutional strategic initiative, and professor in the department of geography and urban planning in the Faculty of Arts & Science, says students and researchers are coming up with new ways to address the challenges of affordable housing and energy efficiency – and the next step is to put those ideas into practice.

Ron Saporta – U of T’s acting vice-president, operations and the co-chair of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability – adds that U of T is leading by example through initiatives across the university’s three campuses, including the installation of Canada’s largest urban geoexchange field.

 Watch Episode 5 of the Sustainable Future series