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Focus on Sustainability Film Festival: Food – Call for Submission 2013

Sustainability Film Festival : Food - 2013

Focus on Sustainability Film Festival: Food – Call for Submission 2013

The second annual Focus on Sustainability Film Festival returns to York University this winter semester 2013, with a spotlight on the increasingly vital and complex topic of Food.  In addition to feature films, panel discussions, and prizes centred on food, the upcoming festival also gives local film makers in the York U community an opportunity to have their food related film featured.  Following the submission deadline, the festival presenters will choose one prize-winning film to be highlighted, and up to three runner-up films to be exhibited.

Submission Requirements:

  • York University enrolled (or previously enrolled) student in any department
  • Run time for films must not exceed 60 minutes
  •  Films must be focused on any food related issue
  • Suggestions include: animal rights, agriculture, veganism/vegetarianism, local/global
  • Deadline is January 10th 2013 to Jessica Reeve, IRIS Junior Fellow
  • Email submissions to; or drop in person to 395 York Lanes, IRIS Offices
  • Submissions must be in digital formats, and accompanied by a 250 word abstract, title, and

Contact information

This call for submission is brought to you by The Osgoode Environmental Law Society (ELS), The Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS), and The Climate Consortium for Research Action Integration (CC-RAI).  For more information please contact Jessica Reeve at

Spring Is Here! And so is the CC-RAI’s Spring Newsletter

More more news click on the links below!

Spring is here and so is the CC-RAI newsletter. To learn more about CC-RAI’s ongoing work simply click on the image below. It has been a busy year and we look forward to an even busier few months to come. CC-RAI is always looking to work with researchers, students and practioners interested in the diverse array of issues associated with a changing climate.

If you are interested in learning more about our work with the Ontario Regional Climate Change Consortium (ORCCC) or efforts to build capacity for interdisciplinary collaboration around climate change research and action please contact Program and Communications Manager – Stewart Dutfield.

CC-RAI Newsletter May 2012

In addition to the information provided in our newsletter you can learn more about our various projects including our climate literacy project, regular blog series and other initiatives by talking a stroll through CC-RAI online.



Advancing Climate Change Literacy and Interdisciplinary Collaboration at York University

Connecting for Collaboration Report

CC-RAI is proud to share our report on the acitvities of two climate change working groups, one focused on climate change literacy and the other on interdisciplinary collaboration and capacity building for research and action on climate change. CC-RAI would like to acknowledge the support of the office for Research and Innovation as well as the many faculty and students who participated as members of our climate change working groups.

Despite existing commitments, a broad array of faculty and students chose to take part in this pilot project. They have included faculty and students from the Faculty of Science and Engineering (Atmospheric Sciences and Chemistry), the Faculty of Environmental Studies, the Department of Geography, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Laboratory of Mathematical and Parallel Systems (LAMPS), the School of Information Technology, and the School of Administrative Studies. We would also like to thank members from Learning for Sustainable Futures (LSF) and Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) for taking part in this initiative.

The climate change literacy tumblr - compiled as part of the literacy project

One of the working groups focused on developing a draft climate change literacy toolkit which addresses a broad range of topics – from an overview of climate change and extreme weather to a discussion of climate change adaptation and the perception of climate change in the media. The current draft of the toolkit represents a working compilation of submissions by the working group. The next revision of the toolkit will focus on harmonizing the various voices of the authors and cohesively improving the overall quality and readability of the material presented. At a recent meeting of the working group the decision was also made to revise the current draft as a resource for teachers wishing to discuss climate change with their students. Subsequent versions for parents and students would be another option. Additional details on this discussion are provided in the workshop report section of the report. Moreover, the revised sections of the text will be incorporated into the online component of the project – a dedicated Tumblr blog entitled Collaborating for Climate Change Literacy.  

With respect to the interdiscplinary collaboration project, between December and mid-February,  an on-line survey was distributed to faculty and graduate students engaged in climate change research. Research Officers and Associate Deans of Research helped to publicize the questionnaire and encourage responses from their faculty. At the same time, CC-RAI contacted researchers from its existing database to complete the survey. Once the data were collected and analyzed, computer programs have been developed to identify connections among participants and summary reports were prepared pertaining to the project. A preliminary network of researchers with interests in climate change research was created to determine the connections and potential for collaboration between researchers. The next interation of the project will focus on bringing faculty and researchers together to work on joint climate change research initiatives in both the social and natural sciences.

If you would like to know more about these projects or take part in one of the working groups we would be glad to hear from you. The current phase of the project has led to a range of potential follow-up projects, CC-RAI will keep you posted. Once again we would like to thanks those individuals who took part in the project to date.

A network analysis of CC-RAI interdisciplinary survey

Interdisciplinary Collaboration Working Group: Marina Erechtchoukova (Co-chair, School of Information Technology, LAPS), Rachel Hirsch (Co-chair, Faculty of Environmental Studies, Post-Doctoral Fellow), Susan Chalmers (Faculty of Environmental Studies, CC-RAI Graduate Assistant), Jessica Notwell (Faculty of Environmental Studies, CC-RAI Graduate Assistant), Osama Askoura (International Work Study Student) 

Rick Bello (LAPS), Jennet Poffenroth (MES Candidate, FES), Steven Alsopp (Education), Shishir Handa (MSc Candidate Geography), Ellen Field (PhD Candidate) at the climate change literacy workshop

Climate Literacy Working Group: Rick Bello (LAPS – Geography), Shishir Handa (Co-chair, LAPS – Geography), Monica Vaswani (Co-chair, LAPS – Geography), Georges Monette (Math & Stats), Walter Whiteley (Math & Stats, Education), Hassan Qudrat-Ullah (LAPS – School of Administrative Studies), Masao Ashtine (Faculty of Environmental Studies), Kristina Delidjakova (LAPS – Geography), Bernhard Isopp (Science and Technology Studies), Matthew MacLean (Faculty of Environmental Studies), Jennet Poffenroth (Faculty of Environmental Studies), Aaron Saad (Faculty of Environmental Studies), Diego Alejandro Sotomayor (LAPS – Geography), Janine Baijnath (University of Waterloo), Amit Lahiri (Centennial College, MES Alumni), Christina Wong (University of Toronto).

MAINSTREAM: The National Water Adaptation to Climate Change Forum, March 22 -23rd, 2012


CC-RAI is pleased to highlight a national forum convened by our partners to mobilize knowledge generated from the work of the Regional Adaptation Collaboratives (RACs) in the area of change change and water resources. Project partners include:  Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Research (CFCAS), the Canadian Water Resources Association (CWRA) and the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) with funded provided by Natural Resources Canada.

It is already recognized that climate change is affecting water resources across Canada, with each region and community facing unique opportunities and challenges. Together, we can share knowledge to advance the state of practice for adaptation nationally. The purpose of this event is to share lessons and opportunities, and identify needs and potential challenges in advancing the adaptation of water resource management nationally. Participants will contribute directly to a national compendium for practitioners, assist in developing a briefing document, and exchange best practices and lessons.


  • Provide learning opportunities for new ways of thinking about water adaptation.
  • Reflect upon the current state of practice and share knowledge on water adaptation projects.
  • Showcase a diverse range of projects led by Forum participants.
  • Stimulate discussion to identify: Water adaptation knowledge needs of practitioners (e.g., engineers, scientists, policy analysts, project coordinators, planners, and educators);
  • Opportunities for dissemination of knowledge and collaboration towards the mainstreaming of adaptation.
  • Contribute to: A national compendium of knowledge on water resource adaptation to be used by practitioners; A briefing document on the state of and opportunities for advancing, water adaptation across Canada.
This interactive knowledge exchange will bring together researchers and practitioners alike to advance the state of knowledge around climate change and water. This is a by invitation event – if you are interested in attending or would like additional details please contact  Harris Switzman (
or call 416.661.6600 x. 5931.

1st Annual Sustainability FilmFest: Water

WATER: 1st Annual Sustainability FilmFest

CC-RAI is a proud partner of Planet in Focus and York University’s Focus on Sustainability Film Festival – this years premiere event will focus on water and the complex environmental issues involved both nationally and international. This engaging, entertaining and thought provoking showcase of award winning films will be enhanced by conversations and discussions with filmmakers, activists and academics alike.

The Sustainability Film Festival 2012 will be hosted in the York University Senate Chambers (North Ross 940) from 10am to 5pm on Monday, March 19th, 2012. Only $2 gets you an all access, all day pass to a diverse array of films that aim raise the consciousness of water issues in Canada and across the planet.

Water on the Table

White Water, Black Gold

“White Water, Black Gold” trailer from David Lavallee on Vimeo.

Carbon for Water

Trailer for Carbon For Water from Vestergaard Frandsen on Vimeo.

The Clean Bin Project

The Clean Bin Project – Trailer from Grant Baldwin Videography on Vimeo.

This festival is brought to you by The Osgoode Environmental Law Society (ELS), The Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS), and The Climate Consortium for Research Action Integration (CC-RAI).
Many thanks to our supporters: The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC), and The Centre for Human Rights.

For additional details and future updates visit:

DAS HAUS is coming to Canada! CC-RAI is pleased to highlight a new international exhibition of renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions


Das Haus 2012

CC-RAI is pleased to highlight DAS HAUS - an international exhibition that connects industry professionals with the latest market-ready renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions from Germany. Central to the exhibit is a pavilion, which demonstrates real world technologies and building practices for meeting ultra-low energy building standards. The DAS HAUS program offers various expert symposiums and networking events allowing participants to share their perspectives on green building design. Admission to the pavilion and participation in the events is free of charge.

DAS HAUS will travel both the Canada and the United States with Canadian city stops in Vancouver, March 12 – 21, 2012; Toronto April 13 – 22, 2012 and Montreal,  May 10 – 20, 2012.

DAS HAUS pavilion - Tempe, USA January 2012







For further information please visit or contact Elisa Seidt:

Schulich Net Impact – GreenEdge Conference March 2, 2012

GreenEdge2012 host by Schulich Net Impact

CC-RAI is happy to promote the Schulich Net Impact - GreenEdge Conference. Join present and future business leaders for engaging discussion and exchange on driving change for sustainability.

Schulich Net Impact will be hosting its annual GreenEdge Conferenceon Friday March 2, 2012. This year’s theme is “Leadership and Innovation in Sustainability”. The opening keynote will be delivered by Andreas Souvaliotis, President of AIR MILES for Social Change, LoyaltyOne. The closing keynote will be delivered by Bruce Poon Tip, Owner of G Adventures.

The day features three interesting and engaging panels:

Sustainable Cities
The Sustainable Cities panel discussion will focus on the areas of real estate, urban development, and infrastructure with respect to sustainability initiatives. It will address factors that contribute to making a city liveable and sustainable, key indicators, best practices, and lessons learned.  The discussion will also address what is happening here in Toronto by highlighting local sustainability initiatives and the leaders instigating them.

GreenEdge 2012

Driving Change in Organizations
Driving Change in Organizations will focus on how to successfully move the sustainability conversation forward in an organization. The panel will address the barriers and challenges, as well as highlighting successful organizational transformations that have incorporated sustainability.

Sustainable Start-Ups

The Sustainable Start-Ups panel discussion will feature local entrepreneurs that have created their own sustainable enterprise, and can educate us on the challenges and successes they faced while growing their sustainable start-up. We hope to give students and industry professionals a better idea of what it takes to be successful in the realm of sustainable business.

Register online by this Friday February 17th to get discounted tickets:
$20 NI members | $25 Non-members |$40 Professionals

After February 17th:
$25 NI members | $35 Non-members |$50 Professionals

For more information and to register:
If you have specific questions or comments, please email:


Faculty and Students Respond to Climate Change Reconsidered

Madhav Khandekar - a member of the ‘NIPCC‘ or Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change.

On February 1, 2012 The School of Administrative Studies hosted  Dr. Madhav Khandekar, a former research scientist with Environment Canada for a presentation of the controversial findings of ‘Climate Change Reconsidered’ a recent report by the ‘NIPCC‘ or Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change.

Over the course of more than an hour Dr. Khandekar presented his views on the Earth’s climate as well as his believe that the Earth may become colder in the decades to come. What follows are responses by faculty and students to the presentation by Dr. Khandekar.

I am not a scientist and I make no claim to be a one. However, I would like to offer my reaction to the talk given by  Madhav Khandekar at York University on Wednesday 1 February, 2012. Firstly, I am hoping that the organizers of the lecture by Dr. Khandekar will also see the benefit in inviting other climatologists and scientists to speak on the subject of climate change. It is only befitting that we hear both sides.

Sindy Singh - a MES student and studing climate change and its impact on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), including native Trinidad and Tobago

Dr. Khandekar is associated with the Heartland Institute and a member of the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change, two bodies who have taken it upon themselves to offer what they think to be the truth about climate change. This is my first issue with Khandekar. He claims that the NIPCC  has “over 35” scientists who concur that “global warming” is caused by natural variability in the sun’s radiation. Not that the scientists associated with the NIPCC are not qualified, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is populated by hundreds of scientists representing 194 countries. Several hundred versus 35; Khandekar did not want to go so far as to call the IPCC’s data a global conspiracy but it seems wiser to me to accept the evidence as provided by the IPCC. I doubt very much that so many scientists on the IPCC can agree to a conspiracy because if that were the case, those same 194 countries would have found it just as easy to address global climate change itself. It’s not that I don’t want to believe that conspiracies can exist, I just don’t think that 194 countries would buy into it. He noted that the IPCC data does not consider the effects of urbanization, solar variation, etc. However, the IPCC climate models do take into consideration these factors. It’s plain to see in the IPCC Assessment Report IV, 2007. I will leave that issue for my professors and actual climatologists to debunk further.

Secondly, Khandekar was perfectly fine in arguing that the earth average temperature is actually cooler than they were in the days of his youth. He used anecdotal evidence of the bitter cold winters he spent in Alberta in the 70’s and compared them to current Albertan winters and concluded that the earth is cooling not warming. Even more convincing if you’re so inclined; his friends are quite cold in India as I write this and that is enough to convince him that the global climate is indeed cooling. With all due respect, even the figures and graphs he was using indicated a general rise in average global temperatures. Why he ignores that general trend is beyond me. Further, the term is not “global warming”. Climate change is the correct term because it does mean that some areas may actually get colder and others warmer with an average warming trend overall. Therefore the cold spell in Europe is not reason enough to conclude that climate change is not occurring. As noted by Khandekar himself, weather and climate are not the same thing. The anecdotal evidence he presented would best be described as weather related change, not climate change. He ought to know that.

Khandekar explored regional oscillations like ENSO and the Arctic Oscillation to explain regional warming trends in particular localities. This is not how I ever understood ENSO to work, granted that this phenomenon is not completely understood. I was under the impression that regional oscillations were meso-scale atmospheric phenomena and climate was macro-scale. I solicit a learned opinion in this regard from another scientist. Dr. Kaz Higuchi explained in class recently that ENSO and like oscillations are expected to be exacerbated by climate change in terms of intensity and frequency not the other way around.  Anyone care to debunk this further?

I had major issues with the sweeping generalizations made by Khandekar that were blatantly incorrect. He noted that human health does not suffer negatively from climate change, that plants and animals benefit from increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, that sea level rise has ‘stabilized’, that snow cover is not decreasing, that world grain production has increased. Whilst I can write an entire paper to provide evidence to disprove those claims, I would like to restate that which I stated on Wednesday and leave you to your thoughts. If sea level rise has stabilized, why do we have actual climate refugees from the Carteret Islands? The people of TuvaluMaldives and the many other nations facing this issue as we speak, are they imagining the sea encroaching their land and causing salt water intrusion into their potable water supplies? Khandekar could not answer my question, he claimed to not know of the situation and responded that this was a regional warming trend caused by regional factors and could be dealt with at the country level. Mr. Khandekar, if you did not know, this problem and most of the fallouts of climate change are affecting the poorest of the poor and even if you think this is ‘regional warming’, the poor cannot afford to adapt. That said wealthy countries like Canada itself are also beginning to feel the effects of climate change, notably in communities in Canada’s Arctic, where climate change is impacting biodiversity, transportation and essential infrastructure like ice-roads, etc.

Khandekar may argue that he is only concerned with the ‘science’ of climate change. But the consensus by scientists from close to 200 countries differs and as Professor Jose Etcheverry noted, it doesn’t matter how we twist the facts, since the industrial revolution to present, carbon dioxide has increased from 250ppm to approximately 392ppm. That is indisputable and thus the issue is now an ethical one. What are we going to do? What York University can do for my peers and I, is to facilitate a further debate on this matter. Personally, I think the York owes us the real story of climate change

Sindy Singh is a 1st year Masters of Environmental Studies international student at York University. I completed my Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Honours) in 2009 at York and returned to my native, Trinidad and Tobago, to work as an Environmental Policy Analyst at the Ministry of Environment. After attending the UNFCCC COP 16, Cancun, I decided that I needed to go back to school to further my studies on climate change in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with emphasis on policy making. I am interested in the economics of climate change in SIDS, the political economy of the Caribbean and how this shapes climate change policy while exploring the potential of renewable energy in Trinidad and Tobago, the most industrialized (and petroleum state) in the southern Caribbean.”

Happy Holidays from CC-RAI

CC-RAI Newsletter December 2011

It has been a tremendously busy year for CC-RAI, TRCA and York University. As 2012 draws closer we wanted to highlight what we have been working on over the last few months. Our December newsletter is now available, as is our previous September edition. The nature of a changing climate has created a wide range of social, economic and environment issues that will need to be addressed now and in the years and decades to come. CC-RAI looks forward to working with partners in Ontario, Canada and abroad to better understand, mitigate and adapt to the challenges of climate change. If you are interested in becoming involved or would like to work with CC-RAI and its partners on a specific project do not hesitate to contact us.

CC-RAI will be closed over the holidays, but would like to wish all our partners, and supporters a Happy Holidays and a very merry New Year! For our partners and supporters here’s a link to some holiday cheer – “I’m A Climate Scientist (made by real climate scientists).

Happy Holidays!


Happy Holidays from CC-RAI











A Generation of ‘Climate Savvy’ Researchers and Professionals

CC-RAI Graduate Research Symposium, November 24th, York Research Tower

Extreme wind, public health, the Ontario wine industry, renewable energy, polar bears, land cover changes, South American ecology, the Clean Development Mechanism, West Nile Virus, art and design. What do all of these research topics have in common? Climate change. On November 24th, CC-RAI hosted it first annual 7&7 Graduate Climate Change Research Symposium and Mixer at York University.

Monica Vaswani (York University) - presenting her reseearch on extreme wind in Ontario


As one of the final events of a SSHRC public outreach grant, CC-RAI and Knowledge Mobilization brought together students from universities across the province,  including Brock University, the University of Toronto, the University of McMaster, the University of Waterloo, and York University among others. In total, 16 graduate researchers from across the province presented their research to other students, academics and members of the private and public sector. This diverse array of students highlighted an incredible range of research with direct relevance to Ontario’s socioeconomic and environmental future, not to mention a range of global issues. Whether it was the issue of extreme weather, the complexities of the clean development mechanism, the minutia of renewable energy regulation or climate changes impact on Ontario’s 1 billion dollar wine industry – the message was clear – there is no shortage of problems to study and a lot of unanswered questions to address.

Chris Buse (University of Toronto)

Supporting the development of highly qualified personnel (HQP) in the sciences and social sciences with a focus on climate change is critical to maintaining, retaining and developing Ontario’s next generation of talented scientists, researchers and professionals. Another important aspect to this work involves building a network of climate savvy professionals to support such development. We look forward to hosting a second 7&7 Symposium next fall. A complete list of presenters and their research interests can be found online. A complete listing of presentation slides will also be made available shortly.

Presenters and participants from across the province at 7&7 Symposium and Mixer

Winning student posters provided by Green Venture|Clean Air Hamilton

Winning posters, a close-up with a focus on climate change













CC-RAI would also like to thank Green Venture and Green Air Hamilton for allowing us to showcase posters designed by high school students aimed at highlighting some of the challenges posed by a changing climate. We would also like to thank Kobo for generously donating Kobo e-readers as prizes for graduate student presenters and audience members. This one-day event was made possible with the generous funding of SSHRC, the Knowledge Mobilization Unit and CC-RAI. Other activities associated with this project have included the placement of six SSHRC interns in policy partner organizations across the GTA.

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