Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, visited GEOG 312 (Climate Change, Science and Society) on March 3rd as part of her visit to UBC.
McKenna talked briefly about the difficult negotiations at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference but remains optimistic about making realistic changes to combat climate change as she saw “leaders of all backgrounds… all working together on the agreement”. She talked about how everyone has a role to play in combating climate change, from federal to provincial governments, to the students sitting in front of her that day. In an age of rapid technological advancement and innovation, youth have a significant role in the direction technology goes. McKenna expressed optimism and hope while viewing various UBC sustainability initiatives and she told the students that it is exactly that “out of the box thinking” that we need to combat climate change and that the communication pathway between communities, (eg. governments, students, businesses) have to be open in order for our larger community to work together.
The Minister ended the talk by opening the floor to questions from students who asked about potential nuclear energy innovations, a plastic bag free future, carbon pricing in Canada, the state of our environmental assessment process, and current fossil fuel subsidies.