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Minister visits campus to talk sustainability, climate change with students

By Tina Shaygan, October 30 2017 —

The University of Calgary hosted Shannon Phillips, the Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office, for an Oct. 27 event to discuss sustainability and climate change with students.

The event was moderated by undergraduate students Somlina Chom, Celeste Pomerantz and Seema Amin and included a panel discussion and questions from the crowd. Audience questions included concerns regarding the community of Springbank’s flood vulnerability, methane reduction plans and government support for sustainability initiatives.

Phillips said she was encouraged by talking to students from different perspectives.

It’s always great to talk to people who are informed and who are seized of the importance of taking action on the environment but are also keenly aware of the many economic realities that Calgary faces,” she said. “It gives me hope when people are paying attention to what we’re doing on climate action and have a real stake in how we diversify and grow the economy.”

Geoscience masters student Mike Law said he reviewed the Climate Leadership Plan prior to the event and was hoping for more information regarding the government’s overall ideas.

“[Phillips] talked a lot about what they are doing now,” he said. “But I would have liked to hear more about future stuff.”

Geoscience and natural sciences student Chad Airhart added that he hopes to see increased research by the government in addressing renewable energy. He said he wanted to see the government do more to make it cheaper to develop renewable resources.

Phillips said events on university campuses allow for a diversity of voices to be heard.

“You learn about what is on people’s minds and you also learn that universities are that place where we have that kind of critical debates,” Phillips said. “We seek to understand the world around us to a greater degree, whether that’s through arts, through engineering or through all the various undertakings that happen on a campus every day.”

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