Food, Climate Change and Migration: Public Engagement Forums

2019, Climate + Environment

How is climate change and food insecurity connected to international immigration?

Because it is difficult to measure migration and track people’s movements, we are not yet fully aware of how environmental challenges and the industrialization of food production affects immigration.

Which is why it is crucial that we establish a dialogue between academics, students, policy analysts and – most importantly – refugee communities.

Yıldız Atasoy, the Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development, in collaboration with SFU Public Square and SFU Continuing Studies, invites you to a series of forums about the relationships between climate change, food insecurity and immigration, each hosted by an internationally recognized scholar.

Our public engagement forum on November 16th, 2019 will bring together people with lived experiences of displacement and/or migration for a morning session from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm (includes lunch) in dialogue about the connections between climate change, food insecurity and migration with Dr Jason W. Moore, an environmental historian, historical geographer and professor of sociology at Binghamton University and coordinator of the World-Ecology Research Network.

This morning session is by invitation only. 

The afternoon session, from 2:00 to 5:00 pm is open to morning participants, the academic community, policy makers, students and the general public and will feature a keynote address by Dr Jason W. Moore and build upon themes identified in the morning in conversation format.

Sat, 16 Nov 2019

SFU Harbour Centre
Room 1400
515 W Hastings Street

We respectfully acknowledge that this event takes place on the Unceded, Traditional, Ancestral Territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm First Nations.

Three Public Sessions

We All Live from the Land

Sat, 14 Sep 2019 | 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. (PT)

Dr. Harriet Friedmann

University of Toronto

Dr. Friedmann is a professor emerita of the University of Toronto. She is a food system analyst, writer and lecturer. Her Ph.D. from Harvard University, crosses Rural Sociology and World Systems, by studying food systems and their relationship to economies, finance, migration, and inter state power.

SFU Vancouver 30th Wordmark

A Third Emergent Migrant Subject Not Recognized in Law

CANCELLED: Sat, 05 Oct, 2019

Prof. Saskia Sassen

Columbia University   

Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Member, The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University. Her latest books are the 5th fully updated edition of Cities in a World Economy (Sage 2018) and Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Harvard University Press 2014, now out in 18 languages.) She is the recipient of diverse awards, including multiple doctor honoris causa, the Principe de Asturias 2013 Prize in the Social Sciences, and made a Foreign Member of the Royal Academy of the Sciences of Netherland.

Climates of Crisis: Food, Power and Civilizational Transitions, 1300-2020

Sat, 16 Nov, 2019 
Lived Experience Dialogue: 10:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. (PT)
Keynote Dialogue: 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. (PT)

Dr. Jason W. Moore

Binghamton University

Dr. Jason W. Moore is an environmental historian and historical geographer at Binghamton University, where he is professor of sociology. His books and essays on environmental history, capitalism, and social theory have been widely recognized and he coordinates the World-Ecology Research Network.


Tesicca Truong

Tesicca Truong 張慈櫻 (she/her/hers) is an anti-oppressive facilitation specialist, an intersectional community builder, and a serial changemaker. She is a Vietnamese, Chinese, Canadian-settler born and raised on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. She co-founded CityHive, a non-profit on a mission to transform the way that young people are involved in decision-making in their cities and co-chaired the inaugural Vancouver School Board Sustainability Conference, now in its seventh year. She also helped kickstart Vancouver Youth4Tap, a pro-tap water, anti-bottled water coalition of high school students whose campaign resulted in the installation of one water refill station in every single public high school in Vancouver.

She has served on Vancouver Mayor’s Engaged City Task ForceSFU Senate, the Starfish Canada and the Simon Fraser Student Society. She now serves on the Board of Sierra Club of BC and advises BC’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy as the youngest member on the Climate Advisory Council. For her work, Tesicca was awarded SFU President’s Leadership in Sustainability Award and Vancouver’s Greenest City Leadership Award. She was also named Top 30 under 30 by Corporate Knights and the North American Association for Environmental Education. Outside of work and community activism, Tesicca is learning to decolonize herself and loves to spend time in nature. She is an avid cyclist, kayaker, hiker, longboarder, snowboarder, and rock climber.

Nathalie Lozano-Neira

Nathalie Lozano-Neira came to Musqueam land, Coast Salish territories (Vancouver) as a refugee from Muisca territory (Colombia) 17 years ago. She has been working with immigrant and refugee communities for the past 14 years as a facilitator, youth worker and community member. Nathalie completed her MA in Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies at Simon Fraser University where she focused on the well-being of racialized migrant community workers and settler-Indigenous relationships. She strongly believes in the power of creating meaningful ally-ships with Indigenous peoples as a base in order to advance any social justice cause. In her spare time she enjoys dancing salsa, playing soccer and eating.

Land Acknowledgement

Kim Haxton

Kim Haxton (Potowatomi) is a multifaceted, multidimensional educator, rooted in knowledge and steeped in community. She is Potowatami from Wasauksing. She has worked across Turtle Island and abroad in various capacities, always emphasizing local leadership development toward genuine healing.

In her work with Indigeneyez, a creative arts based organization she co-founded, Kim works with Indigenous communities toward decolonization and liberation. Grounded in the arts and the natural world for embodied awareness and facilitated rites of passage, Kim develops de-escalation skills and diversity and anti-oppression education.

Kim currently leads Peace and Conflict Resolution programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, cultivating local leadership in Congolese women who have been affected by civil war, poverty and sexual violence. Kim has developed and facilitated programs in over 8 countries, and has been working in land-based education and leadership for the past 20 years.


  • There has been a 45% increase since 2015 in the number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people in the world.
    • Approximately 60% of these refugees are from Syria (30%), South Sudan (11.7%), the Central African Republic (10.7%) and Afghanistan (7.2%).
  • Between 2015 and 2017, Canada settled approximately 94,000 refugees, 51,000 of whom were Syrian.
  • British Columbia experienced a 76% increase in the number of new refugees in 2017 over 2016 levels, many of whom were settled in Metro Vancouver.

Because of the difficulties of measuring migration and tracking people’s movements, we are not yet aware of the combined effects of environmental challenges and industrialization of food production on immigration. Thus, it is crucial to establish dialogue and engagement around topics of climate change, food insecurity and migration.



Community Partners