The Ontario Climate Symposium: Facilitating Knowledge Exchange since 2013
The Ontario Climate Symposium: Facilitating Knowledge Exchange since 2013

Guest post by Simran Chattha, Coordinator Communications and Engagement, Ontario Climate Consortium

When we hosted our first ever climate change symposium in May 2013, we wanted to bring together researchers and practitioners from the public sector, academia, and private sector on a global issue that has implications for all of us here in Ontario. This symposium has become a signature event hosted by the Ontario Climate Consortium annually in May. We put this event together because we want attendees to hear from leading experts, and participate in discussions with one another, on topics related to both adaptation and mitigation. The main goal of this event is to facilitate knowledge exchange between attendees to ultimately advance climate action.

Fast forward to 2017. So far, we’ve partnered with four universities in southern Ontario to host four symposia to-date (visit the following link for more information). Each event has been successful in bringing together attendees from different backgrounds and sectors on a variety of topics including: climate change science, the impact of extreme weather on urban communities, climate change communication, and building resilient food systems.

This year, we’ll be hosting our 5th annual symposium at York University in May. The theme for this year’s event is “Just Transformations: The Next 150“. In the context of Canada’s 150th anniversary, the event is looking forward to the next 150 years and what we need to be doing now collectively to set us on a path towards a just transformation. In creating this vision, we recognize that from many indigenous perspectives, individuals have a collective responsibility for ensuring the well-being of the Earth and its communities (both human and non-human) when looking into the future.

The symposium will be taking place at York University from May 11-12, 2017. Similar to previous years, there will be discussions around climate research and action in the context of both adaptation and mitigation. Over the two days of the event, you will have the opportunity to hear from over 50 researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners about leading edge thought and practice. Sessions at the symposium will cover topics related to:

  • Sustainable Energy;
  • Climate Justice;
  • Regional Planning for Collective Action;
  • Ecohealth; and,
  • The Future of the Water System.

Please see the program for the great line-up of speakers. The OCC team has also confirmed a performance on the evening of May 11th of the award winning play Sea Sick by internationally-acclaimed Globe and Mail journalist Alanna Mitchell.

Since our first symposium, we have expanded the scope of the event to provide a number of opportunities for students. For example, we will be hosting a Student Poster Competition once again this year. The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students undertaking research on a wide range of topics related to adaptation and mitigation. Students participating in the competition will have a chance to win one of three cash prizes – a $1000 prize for the top poster and two $500 runner-up prizes.

In addition to the Student Poster Competition, we will also be hosting the first ever Disrupt Climate Data Challenge at this event. We know that in order to make effective decisions, practitioners need climate data that is understandable and easy to use. At the same time, we need to make sure that the complexities and uncertainty in climate modeling are also considered. We are looking for students to disrupt the status quo by thinking about new ways to display and represent the uncertainty in climate data from online portals.

Our team is really excited about hosting this upcoming symposium. We hope that you will join us at the event in May!

Our Steering Committee

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