The Pandemic and Climate Change: Can COVID-19 get us to respond to the climate crisis? | City Conversations

2020, Cities, Climate + Environment, Series City Conversations

The international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while uneven, has shown that humans can react quickly when their health is threatened. 

Another great threat to humanity – and to the planet – is climate change. But unlike COVID-19’s immediate threat, most people and governments have been unwilling to take action against what feels for many like a future threat whose current impacts may be less apparent (although we know that vulnerable populations around the world are already suffering disproportionately from the impacts of climate change). We can talk about future actions, but don’t do too much now that might be expensive or inconvenient. 

So, is it time to rethink and reframe climate change as a threat to public health?

Thirty years ago, a group of Vancouverites wrote Clouds of Change, perhaps the first civic study of global warming. It forecast all the events we now see — rising temperatures, sea-level rise, even the melting of the permafrost in Canada’s northern tundra. It was adopted by the Vancouver City Council in June 1990 and helped shape some public policies. Then it was forgotten.

But some of its creators are still around. We want to celebrate two of them, urbanist and former Vancouver City Councillor Gord Price and economist/entrepreneur Michael Brown. They’ve been thinking about how we might respond to climate change as a public health issue. We’ll also hear from two of the new generation of activists who will have to deal with the life-threatening impacts of climate change well into the future: Adriana Laurent-Seibt, the project administrator for UBC Climate Hub, and Rebecca Hamilton, a core organizer of Sustainabiliteens.

Then it’s your turn to express your opinion, make observations and ask questions. It’s a conversation! 

If you’d like to do a bit of preparation, click here to read the original Clouds of Change report. We recommend reading the Executive Summary on page i-iv (page 31-34 of the PDF file).

Tue, 25 Feb 2020

12:00 - 1:00 p.m. (PT)

Online Event

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


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