On June 10, UBC students, staff, faculty and members of the wider community gathered inside the Nest for the UBC Green New Deal town hall.
This event was one of many Green New Deal town halls happening across Canada, all with the goal of bringing Canadians together to discuss blending climate action with tackling inequality and building a foundation for Canada’s climate future. Attendees were encouraged to develop “green lines” and “red lines” to help frame the way towards a zero emissions and climate conscious society.
The event was co-hosted by the UBC Climate Hub, UBCC350, Our Time Vancouver, IdeasXChange and the UBC Social Justice Centre. But the idea to host the event came from Maayan Kreitzman, a current UBC graduate student and PhD candidate at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, who noticed there was no Green New Deal town hall happening at UBC and decided to organize one herself.
“In the last three months in my life, I’m feeling a greater sense of urgency around the climate and the ecological crisis, and I’ve become more active in different roles,” Kreitzman said. “So this is just one more opportunity there was to bring a conversation, I think that is really urgently needed.”
The event began with an introduction and community agreement from Adriana Laurent, the co-founder of UBC Climate Hub, who urged the room to put justice, empathy and hope into climate action. Participation and discussion of the community members' visions for a Green New Deal were encouraged throughout the event, and the passion around the room was evident.
Em Mittertreiner, a Work Learn student for UBC Climate Hub, emphasized the need for this passion, as well as a sense of community in talking about climate change.
“Sometimes it’s not even about what’s being said but the fact that all of these people are in this room,” they said.
“I’ve seen profs that I’ve had, people that I know from all over Vancouver, all kinds of different groups, and just to see more than 77 people all come together in one room and be talking about this kind of stuff is super inspiring.”
While Green New Deal has gained momentum and become a significant point of conversation in Canadian politics, Kreitzman encourages UBC students to be activists in whatever way is most inspiring for them.
“[Green New Deal] is not the only flavour of activism out there, there is more radical activism, and there is more mainstream political party participation as well, and there is more local activism as well,” she said.
“We need everybody, and that includes organizers, advocates, people who are doing direct helping, rebels — everybody has a place and can find that place.”
This article has been updated to correct the year level of Maayan Kreitzman.