Around the world, researchers have redirected efforts to slow the spread and find a vaccine, national governments have coordinated efforts to secure personal protective equipment, maintain supply lines while curtailing mobility, and launch efforts to restart the economy, and citizens everywhere have followed public health orders to stay at home and maintain physical distancing while volunteering and contributing to community efforts.
The response to COVID-19, imperfect as it may have been at times, has shown us that we can, working together, effect global change and tackle a formidable challenge. Now is the time to apply this important lesson to the greatest challenge we face as humans on this earth — climate change.
As president and vice-chancellor of the University of B.C., climate change and the transition to a low-carbon future has been and will continue to be one of my key priorities for the university.
This work builds on UBC’s recognized leadership on sustainability and climate action. Our work in this area was recognized by the Times Higher Education University Impact Rating last year, with UBC ranking as No. 1 for taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
UC3, a signature program of Second Nature, is a collective of 22 leading North American research universities working together to help local communities achieve their climate goals and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future. For the past two years, I have been proud to work with this outstanding coalition to leverage collective expertise, share ideas, working with local, regional, state/provincial governments and develop new climate solutions. As the new UC3 leader, I look forward to working with university leaders across North America, guiding the development and execution of strategic projects and continuing to build the coalition’s robust network of external partnerships with government, business and community leaders.
At this pivotal moment in our planet’s future, we have a unique opportunity to apply lessons learned from the COVID-19 response to bring about significant and lasting systemic changes to curb GHGs and promote sustainability.
Researchers, governments, citizens are proving that unprecedented global mobilization is possible. Now is the time to act for lasting change.
Santa Ono is president and vice-chancellor of the University of B.C.
Source: Vancouver Sun