The Centre for Climate Justice works with movements, communities, students, and policy makers to develop research and analysis that addresses climate breakdown in connection with multiple, interlinked, and cascading crises. We believe that climate justice at its best is the labour of repair, redistribution, and world building.
The world is awash in crises: cost of living, war, infectious diseases, ecological decline, climate change, systemic racism, and gender-based violence, to name a few of many. At the CCJ, we recognize the interlocking nature of these crises and hold that treating them in isolation can often entrench and deepen existing inequalities and injustices. Our work therefore illuminates connections among common drivers of crises, and supports responses that redress multiple crises at once. We work with movements, communities, and policy makers to develop research and analysis that is focused on ways that the post-fossil fuel age can open unprecedented opportunities for redistribution and reparation. This work is conducted in accordance with our guiding principles.
As a Centre for Climate Justice, we aim to utilize the university’s resources and capacities in innovative ways, in service of those working beyond the bounds of the academy. The CCJ is a place of translation and mobilization, bringing together activists, policy makers, Elders, artists, scholars, and community groups to foster critical research and engagement that addresses emerging demands for climate justice. Our focus is both local and global because nationalist responses to a planetary crisis are inherently unjust and are insufficient to address the scale of the climate emergency.
As a Centre operating on unceded ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and nsyilxcən speaking Syilx Okanagan Nation and their peoples, this work takes place in the spirit of repair and transformation. That includes an ongoing attempt to repair the damage done to our collective knowledge by the systemic exclusion of Indigenous, Black and non-European experts and knowledge holders, often created by extractive, unaccountable research practices in frontline communities.
Our work addresses four primary challenges with regard to climate crisis and action:
- The climate crisis disproportionately impacts Indigenous, racialized, working class, displaced, and other communities and peoples already impacted by ongoing injustices endemic to colonialism and capitalism, in Canada and around the world.
- Many frontline communities have intimate experience and knowledge of the climate crisis, but their expertise is not adequately reflected in climate-related research and policy. Moreover, these communities may not have access to the research tools and associated resources to advocate for and enact a just adaptation and transition. Barriers to this access and engagement include the harmful legacies of extractive and colonial academic research.
- UBC faculty members and students have the skills and desire to do more to advance climate justice, but may lack the connections or training for research in service of community needs. Relatedly, academic research that serves the needs of communities is not often adequately supported in the academy.
- Just and effective climate action requires critical research that breaks through disciplinary silos and foregrounds the role of power and inequity in shaping climate crisis and action. This means building new bridges among qualitative and quantitative approaches across the humanities, social, and physical sciences – as well as between previously siloed issues – to ensure that justice is front and centre in all climate action and that no one is left behind.
With these challenges in mind, the Centre’s primary aims are:
- To diversify the expertise and perspectives represented in climate justice theory, policy, and research.
- To connect often-siloed issue areas (e.g. between climate and housing, or climate and care work), and the researchers and communities organized around them.
- To support community-led climate action by facilitating actionable and accountable community-partnered research that addresses pressing issues of climate justice.
- To translate and amplify the research, needs, and challenges of community partners and climate justice movements into wider policy, political, and economic transformation.
- To enhance the ability of UBC faculty, staff, and students to collectively support climate justice, through research, collaborations, and advocacy.
We pursue these goals through the following areas of activity:
- Research support and facilitation
- Knowledge sharing and collaborative learning with community partners
- Public engagement and events
- On-campus engagement, training, and mentorship