OISE Update on Sustainability and Climate Action on Earth Day
As a leading faculty of education, we have committed to utilizing our influence in teaching and research to address the climate crisis; as today is Earth Day, I wanted to provide an update on this work, and share new materials to help further sustainability and climate action across the OISE community.
Over the last decade, OISE has been taking steps to address the climate crisis and the deep injustices that are perpetuated by it, aligning with commitments in our Academic Plan to Indigenous education, equity, diversity and accessibility in education. We worked together to establish our own Sustainability & Climate Action Plan in 2021, and launched OISE’s Sustainability & Climate Action Network (SCAN) this winter. This work aligns with and enacts the new Accord on Education for a Sustainable Future recently released by the Association of Canadian Deans of Education, which signals the importance for all faculties of education to make climate action a priority in their work.
This Earth Day, we are proud to share the progress made on our plan over its first year – declaring a climate emergency, establishing a Co-Curricular Designation in Environmental & Sustainability Education, creating a Teaching in a Climate Crisis podcast, and offering a new Sustainability Fund to support OISE projects - are just a few of the projects that have been initiated by the SCAN team and supported by OISE’s Climate Action Advisory Committee. The first successful project to be funded from the Sustainability Fund is a grant to Natural Curiosity, an OISE team dedicated to helping educators learn about Indigenous perspectives in children’s environmental inquiry. We are also happy to share the new Sustainability Guides for Staff and Faculty to complement the Student Guide launched last fall; these may provide ideas for how to shift towards sustainability in your work at OISE.
There is far more to be done to advance climate justice and reconciliation as part of sustainability, both individually and collectively as an organization, at OISE and across the GTA. Watch for the launch of the new SCAN website later this spring, and please consider how you might contribute to this work. I invite you to become familiar with OISE’s Plan and the ACDE’s new Accord on Education for a Sustainable Future to help inform our ongoing discussions about how we can work together to deepen education’s role in addressing the climate crisis.
Normand Labrie, Ph.D., FRSC
Professor and Interim Dean