Canadian universities are innovating for the planet

May 15, 2023
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Two researchers in a greenhouse

Universities are key players in protecting our planet and fighting climate change. Through cutting-edge research, Canadian universities are deepening our understanding of the Earth, developing new technologies to power our communities sustainably and increasing our resilience against extreme weather events. Universities are also educating the next generation of climate experts and working to reduce emissions on their campuses.  

This Canadian Innovation Week, learn more about the innovative work of universities to better our world. 

Protecting the multifunctional agricultural landscapes of Canada 

Canadian Research Chair in Sustainability at McGill University, Elena Bennett, investigates multifunctional agriculture in Canada. Multifunctional agriculture refers to landscapes that provide multiple benefits, such as providing food, storing carbon to regulate climate change and providing habitats for different species.  

Elena is driven by a desire to protect the iconic, but often overlooked working landscapes that provide biodiversity, places for recreation, flood control – even a connection to history and sense of place. Dr. Bennett wants to know where the most multifunctional landscapes are in Canada and how they got that way. In 2022, her research garnered her a Guggenheim Fellowship. 

Progress towards a net zero Canada 

Through Canada’s universities: Action for net zero, Universities Canada is working with its members to measure and track the sector’s climate progress over time, serve as a hub for sharing best practices, advocate for the supports the sector needs to meet its targets and continue to address climate change more broadly, and collaborate locally, nationally, and internationally to align efforts and deepen our impacts. As of 2023, over 75% of Universities Canada members have dedicated sustainability strategies to achieve net zero and carbon neutrality by 2050. 

Partnering to create climate resilience 

Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria, with funding from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, have launched a four-year project aimed at empowering remote, rural and Indigenous communities to develop innovation solutions needed to flourish in the face of climate change. Serving Rural & Remote Communities: Co-developing Place-Based Climate Resilient Solutions will work with the First Nations Housing and Infrastructure Council, BC Housing and Technical Safety BC to determine policies and innovations in housing practices and the technical safety needed to create low-carbon resilience in remote and rural communities. 

About Universities Canada
Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.

Media contact:

Lisa Wallace
Assistant Director, Communications
Universities Canada
[email protected]

Tagged:  Environmental sustainability

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