News  Climate Justice hits McGill community

New workshop opens discussion on environmental issues

McGill’s campus-community radio station CKUT 90.3FM, in partnership with the McGill Sustainability Projects Fund, kicked off their Under the Weather: Climate Change Research and Justice series on September 12. The monthly lecture series hopes to spread awareness on climate change in the McGill community.

The lectures aim to promote environmental and climate justice, and also aim to give students an opportunity to participate in discussions on oft-ignored environmental issues.

“I would love to see action being taken after this. I’ve been collaborating with Climate Justice Montreal and we’ve talked about organizing discussion workshops after these lectures to discuss what we can do here in Montreal,” said Irene Dambriunas, program coordinator and Environmental Studies student.

For the first lecture of the series, filmmaker and social justice activist Amy Miller discussed the root causes of climate change and denounced the hypocrisy of the carbon market today. She focused on the failure of the carbon market, along with some of the paradoxes and problems behind the Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol created a system where companies paid for their emission of CO2 with ‘carbon credits’ in the hopes of reducing pollution. According to Miller, the Kyoto Mechanisms – which include Emissions Trading, the Clean Development Mechanism, and Joint Implementation – prove to be more of a “magic trick” than a real solution to the issue of climate change.

In short, the idea was to reduce pollution without altering any level of production; however, Miller pointed out that this system creates the illusion that the level of CO2 released is decreasing when in reality it is just being concealed.

Additionally, Miller discussed the inevitable consequences of having a system where profit is at stake. Miller exposed what she saw as the disconnect between language and reality using her recent documentary The Carbon Rush as an illustration. The idea of funding green projects all around the world sounds like it could only help, but according to Miller, in reality it is ruining the lives of many inhabitants whose land and property are stolen by the ones who hold power in this capitalist system.

Each of the lectures in the series is also aired on CKUT. “My hopes are that the recordings will help broaden the audience, because these lectures are meant to be accessible to everybody since climate change is something that is going to affect all of us,” said Dambriunas.

The next event in the series will take place on October 10 and will be aired on CKUT 90.3FM.