A lecture series dedicated to sharing academic knowledge and research on climate with the public.
Academics for Climate (AFC) was formed in October 2020 by University of Regina faculty members Sarah Abbott (Film), Dr. Britt Hall (Biology), and Dr. Sean Tucker (Business Administration). We’re interested in the role academics can play in generating awareness, knowledge, and action on the climate crisis, as well as sharing academic knowledge and research with the public. We’re also hoping academics across Canada and internationally adopt the name and similarly engage climate issues.
The first project under AFC in Regina is the Academics for Climate Community Series: Towards a Better Understanding of Climate Change in Saskatchewan. The goal of this 14-part interdisciplinary lecture series is to increase public understanding of climate change and its range of impacts, and to offer audiences tangible actions they can take away as often people leave such lectures feeling overwhelmed and disempowered. Attending each lecture was like taking a full course on a wide range of thinking and issues pertaining to climate. The audience Q&A sessions were just as rigorous and engaging as the presenters!
The series was scheduled to run from January through May 2020, but was interrupted midway through due to COVID-19 social distancing measures. Lectures were filmed and are available on the Academics for Climate – University of Regina YouTube channel.
The AFC-Regina Facebook group is our main communication page for events and updates.
AFC series events were held on the original territories of the Nêhiyawak, Anihšināpēk, Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda peoples, as well as the homelands of the Métis Nation. The University of Regina resides on Treaty 4 lands with a presence in Treaty 6.
“U of R trio aims to teach, ‘depoliticize’ climate change discussions,” Ashley Martin, Regina Leader-Post, January 16, 2020
“U of R Academics to share climate research in community lecture series,” Yorkton This Week, January 25, 2020
(Click titles to view recordings)
The Consensus is In: Evidence Supporting Human Induced Climate Change
Dr. Britt Hall, Professor in the Department of Biology, presents three lines of evidence supporting the scientific consensus that our global climate is changing in response to increased greenhouse gas emissions released by human activities. The overarching goal of her Pubs talk, which is also part of the Academics for Climate Community Speaking Series, is to provide concerned citizens with information that will help them to be confident participating in actions supporting our climate. (January 16, 2020)
What does Climate Change look like in Saskatchewan?
Dr. David Sauchyn, Professor in Geography & Environmental Studies, and Director of the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative (PARC), discusses the difficulty of detecting climate change in Saskatchewan. The images typically used to convey the impacts and urgency of climate change are of phenomena, such as high sea levels, tropical storms, glaciers, polar bears, extreme heat, etc., that don’t exist in Saskatchewan. The strongest indicator of global climate change is a rise in mean global air temperature, which actually does not exist because it’s a statistical concept. In other words, we experience the local weather, not trends or averages. If the weather becomes unusual, we can suspect climate change. But how often is the weather in Saskatchewan unusual? In Saskatchewan, the natural variability in weather and climate is amongst the largest on Earth. (January 23, 2020)
Water in a Dry Land: Adaptation and Mitigation of Prairie Aquatic Ecosystems under a Changing Climate
Dr. Kerri Finlay, Assistant Professor in Biology, speaks to how, in addition to warming temperatures, climate change predictions indicate more frequent extreme droughts and floods, with profound implications for aquatic ecosystems in the prairie provinces, and around the world. She will discuss how changing precipitation patterns are expected to affect water quality in prairie aquatic ecosystems, how current research may aid in forecasting local water quality, how we can adapt to the effects of climate change on our water resources, and the potential for agricultural ponds to aid in the mitigation of climate change through carbon offsets. (February 6, 2020)
Climate Change: Where are We, and What Might the Future Bring? Scenarios and Pathways
Dr. Margot Hurlbert, Canada Research Chair, Climate Change, Energy and Sustainability Policy, presents recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and discuss climate change scenarios and pathways into the future. Her presentation will show that the climate change is real, it’s happening now, and humans are the cause and the solution. With special focus on the IPCC Land and Climate Report that she helped author, Margot will discuss climate models and socio-economic scenarios scientists are using to develop pathways for the future. These pathways represent different socio-economic and behaviour change, governance and decision making, and policy assumptions. (February 13, 2020)
Fake News, Political Ideology, and Climate Change
Why do people believe what they believe about climate change? Is it all about political ideology and partisanship? What is the influence of “fake news” and other forms of misinformation? Does basic scientific knowledge and critical thinking play a role? Is this lecture just a bunch of questions posed thoughtfully using PowerPoint, or will there be actual empirical data on all of these questions and more? Dr. Gordon Pennycook, Assistant Professor of Behavioural Science at the University of Regina’s Hill/Levene Schools of Business, invites us to “Come and find out!” (February 19, 2020)
How can Regina’s Renewable City Motion Benefit Diverse Communities?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report in 2018 that indicated the pressing need for a global energy transition off of fossil fuels. Only three weeks later, Regina City Council passed a motion committing to a 100% renewable energy target by 2050. In this talk, Dr. Emily Eaton, Associate Professor in Geography & Environmental Studies, discusses the findings of focus group research done with representatives from 27 community organizations that work with marginalized communities as well as 12 representatives from local labour unions. The focus groups examined how a just energy transition in Regina might benefit and impact marginalized communities and organized labour. Dr. Eaton examines how climate change policy can address issues of social and economic justice, and improve the lives of us all. (February 27, 2020)
Indigenous Climate Action: Why land-based, Indigenous-led Responses are Crucial to Effectively Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change
Michelle Brass, steering committee member of Indigenous Climate Action, speaks to the critical importance of Indigenous knowledge, rights, and systems to developing successful climate change strategies, policies, and mitigation and adaptation plans. Indigenous peoples uphold millennia of ancestral knowledge and sustainable systems of living in relationship with the earth, and though we contribute the least to climate change, we are amongst the most severely impacted by it. Indigenous Climate Action strives to become a centralized organization that supports increasing climate change literacy, climate champions, and the creation of a network for Indigenous climate action that supports Indigenous water protectors, land defenders, and knowledge holders. We will continue to work to fill the gaps between the lived experiences of Indigenous Peoples, and the policies and strategies being developed to address climate change. (March 2, 2020)
The University of Regina Geothermal Project: It’s Time has Come!
The need to reduce our carbon footprint and exploration or alternative energy sources has resulted in renewed interest in the use of geothermal energy on the University of Regina campus. A research team at the University of Regina is proposing to construct a deep geothermal energy demonstration project using heat from theDeadwood/Winnipeg aquifer at the base of the Western Sedimentary Basin. Dr. Janis Dale, Associate Professor in Geology, discusses how this work is a continuation of research done in 1979, when an exploratory geothermal test well was constructed. Resulting studies on the hydrogeology and geothermal productive capacity of the well supported the reliable development of this resource in the greater Regina area, and is well documented by over 40 research papers. The second well required to complete the project was never drilled and the original well was capped in 1999. Today, geothermal offers several alternatives to the heating needs on campus and elsewhere. It can provide reliable, cost-effective, base-load heating, is available on demand, has no storage requirements, and has no direct emission of greenhouse gases. (March 12, 2020)
Emergency: The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Action
Dr. Mark Jaccard, professor of sustainable energy in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, speaks on how climate-concerned citizens can overcome myths that hinder us from acting in time to prevent extreme climate impacts. Their actions can involve personal consumption choices (electric vehicles, heat pumps), but these only have an effect if citizens are also engaged in the political process and civil society to elect and support climate-sincere politicians. These personal and collective efforts must align with and foster a global strategy of decarbonization, especially in developing countries. Come to the online talk to find out what is required on a simple path to climate success and what you can contribute. Dr. Jaccard’s talk aligns with the 2020 publication of his book, The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success: Overcoming Myths that Hinder Progress. (April 28, 2020)
Academics for Climate (AFC) gratefully acknowledges support for the Community Series from the University of Regina’s Faculty of Science, Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Business Administration, Office of the Vice-President of Research, Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance (MAP), Faculty of Education, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Luther College, Department of Anthropology, Department of Classics and Philosophy, Department of Economics, Department of Geography & Environmental Studies, Department of Sociology and Social Studies, Department of Visual Arts, and the Department of Film.
Logo design: Annalisa Raho