Climate Justice & Sustainability

Our 2019–2020 campaign

Climate justice is a term that evolved from recognizing that the effects of the climate crisis are multifaceted and overlap with both social and economic justice. Climate justice movements seek to centre the voices of those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate crises and environmental destruction. 🌎

It’s time to call it what it is: we’re in the middle of a climate crisis.

According to a 2018 report by the International Panel on Climate Change, global net emissions of CO₂ need to reach zero by 2050 in order to prevent global warming of more than 1.5°C.¹ Since then, scientists have come out to say this conclusion is too conservative and doesn’t account for all factors involved.² ³ It has become very clear that stopping the climate crisis requires fundamental changes to the way our system operates. In 2019, Concordia undergraduate students voted to support a Green New Deal type climate plan for Canada that would mobilize the entire economy at emergency speed in order to reach carbon neutrality by 2030. 

And we’re not just talking about the future. The climate crisis is already here, and we’re seeing its effects in our own backyard:

🔥  Québec has been the province hit hardest by springtime flooding in recent years, causing $127 million in damages in 2019 alone and leading the Insurance Bureau of Canada to recommend the implementation of a federal flooding strategy in order to deal with the “rising costs of climate change.”⁴

🔥  Experts have directly linked record wildfire seasons in Alberta (2016) and British Columbia (2017) to the climate crisis.⁶

🔥  In Canada’s Northern communities, melting permafrost is causing serious flooding and erosion issues and threatening traditional ways of life.⁵

🔥  A heat wave in early July 2018 caused the deaths of 66 people in Montreal, leading the city to implement mitigation strategies starting in the summer of 2019.⁷

Despite the fact that the climate crisis is caused almost entirely by industries of the Global North (a recent study shows that just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions)⁸, its effects disproportionately impact:

The poor: People living in poverty around the world are less able to adapt to the effects of the climate crisis than their wealthier counterparts. For example, homeless people are endangered by increasingly severe extreme weather events. Individuals with no access to air conditioning or clean water are at increasingly severe risk during heat waves. We have already seen this during the 2018 heatwaves in Montreal in which the people who died were low-income and/or lived in isolation.⁹

Indigenous peoples: Around the world, Indigenous peoples are among the first to be impacted by the climate crisis. The climate crisis is an extension of the colonial violence that Indigenous communities have already been living through for hundreds of years,¹⁰ and what’s more is that the ability of communities to adapt to the crisis is severely restrained by colonial laws and institutions. The fight against the climate crisis and the fight for Indigenous sovereignty go hand in hand!

The Global South: Due to enduring global inequality, the countries of the Global South are paying the lion’s share of the price for global warming and climate degradation despite being responsible for only a tiny share of global emissions.¹¹ Emissions produced in the Global South fuel the Global North’s overconsumption.⁸ The most exploited countries of the Global South are among the first and most affected, and those with the least resources to adapt. As a result, 24 million people have already been displaced and 143 million are expected to be displaced from the Global South by 2050.¹² For example, droughts in Guatemala have forced farmers to leave their homes only to be met with racist and violent anti-immigration policies in the Global North.¹³ Climate justice is migrant justice.

We’ve changed the world before—together, we can do it again.

There are many examples of mass movements around the world getting concessions and having their demands met. Here are just a few:

✊  The 2012 student strike (or “Maple Spring”) in Québec resulted in the cancellation of a planned 75% tuition increase.¹⁴

✊  The movement against South African apartheid¹⁵ has obtained concessions using mass boycotting and divestment tactics.

✊  The eight-hour workday was the result of protracted labour movement efforts in several countries around the world.¹⁶ 

We need to make fundamental changes at all levels:


Learn about proper recycling guidelines in your area.

Use less plastic at home; bring reusable bags with you on your grocery trips and other errands; consume less in general and buy second hand when you can.

Start a home garden, balcony garden, or permaculture project to increase your own food self-sufficiency.

Donate resources to a climate action group or an Indigenous-led project near you.


Organize your family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, and peers to demand immediate action on the part of government to address the crisis

Volunteer for a local sustainability group or a political candidate.

Attend a local climate action or educational event

Advocate for free public transit and better bike infrastructure in your community.


Get involved with the international Fridays for Future movement.

Vote for candidates who are serious about the climate crisis, and who propose concrete ways to address it systemically (such as implementing a Green New Deal).

Campaign for social justice, migrant justice, housing rights, and indigenous-led movements; lend your support and resources to communities who will be most impacted by the advancing climate crisis.

Get involved!

Student Strikes for Climate: Students across the globe—from elementary to PhD—are organizing walkouts and strikes to demand concrete action to address the climate emergency. To get involved with the local chapter at Concordia, visit or e-mail

Connect with the CSU: Have questions about the campaign? Want to volunteer or receive updates? Fill out the form below or email—we need all hands on deck!

Ongoing struggles

Across Turtle Island (North America), there are ongoing movements and struggles to resist colonial laws, policies, and resource extraction and development projects on unceded Indigenous lands and waters. Here are just a few of the many examples of such struggles, and how to support them:

✊  Support for the Kanehsatà:ke Longhouse’s battle against land theft on traditional Kanien’kéha:ka lands. Learn more.

✊  Petition to declare a suicide epidemic in Nunavik, Quebec, and to demand government action. Learn more.

✊  Support for the Unist’ot’en Camp, defending unceded Wet’suwet’en territory (Northern British Columbia) from pipeline and resource extraction projects. Learn more.

Concordia-based climate justice and sustainability groups

Sustainability Concordia
2090 Rue Mackay, 204.1
514-848-2424 ext. 5829

Divest Concordia

Concordia Greenhouse
H-13 (Hall 13th floor)
514-848-2424 ext. 5134

Le Frigo Vert
1440 Rue Mackay

Sustainability Action Fund
514-848-2424 ext. 5138

EHS Sustainability Ambassadors

La Planète S’invite à l’Université: Concordia

Concordia University Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR)

The Dish Project
2090 Rue Mackay

Waste Not Want Not

People’s Potato
514-878-2424 ext. 7590

Right to Move

Concordia Food Coalition
2090 Rue Mackay

Sustainable Engineering Concordia

Le Petit vélo rouge (LPVR)

John Molson Sustainable Business Group (JMSBG) & Enterprise Committee (JMSEC)
514-848-2424, ext. 8530

There are students, staff, and faculty actively working to decolonize Concordia and implement the Truth and Reconciliation’s (TRC) Principles for Reconciliation and Calls to Action. Follow the work of Indigenous Directions Leadership Council and read the Indigenous Directions Action Plan here.

Concordia also has an annual Indigenous-led, week-long event series called First Voices Week which celebrates Indigenous peoples and communities at Concordia and within the Tiohtiá:ke (Montreal) area.

CSU Council Motion — Adoption of 2019-20 Campaign (click to view)

The following motion regarding the CSU’s 2019-20 campaign was adopted by the CSU Council of Representatives on June 12, 2019:

Be it resolved that the annual campaign of the CSU for the year 2019-20 be to inform and mobilize the Concordia undergraduate students on sustainability and climate justice;

Be it further resolved that this campaign emphasizes the systemic causes and systemic solutions to issues of environmental destruction and social justice;

Be it further resolved that this campaign emphasizes the impact of climate change on Indigenous peoples and other front line communities, and reinforces the centrality of their perspectives and actions in environmental justice;

Be it further resolved that for the purpose of this campaign, the CSU works in collaboration with campus and off-campus groups working on sustainability and climate justice issues, including those involved in the global Fridays for Future movement.

Further reading


Climate change and global warming

Life Below Zero (docu-series, 2013-2019)
Our Planet (docu-series, 2019)
True North (2018)
Before the Flood (2016)
Years of Living Dangerously (docu-series, 2016)
The 11th Hour (2007)
This Changes Everything (2015)
The Age of Consequences (2016)
Disobedience (2016)
Chasing Coral (2017)
To the Ends of the Earth (2016)
Six Degrees Could Change the World (2007)
Chasing Ice (2012)
A Beautiful Planet (2016)
Cool It (2010)
Into the Cold (2010)


Tomorrow (2015)
The 4th Revolution: Energy Autonomy (2010)
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014)
The Ivory Game (2016)
More Than Honey (2012)
Minimalism (2016)
Blood in the Mobile (2010)
Manufactured Landscapes (2007)
No Impact Man (2009)
Planetary (2015)


Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2018. “Global Warming of 1.5°C: Summary for Policymakers.” Report, published October 2018 by IPCC Switzerland.

The Leap. 2019. “Migrant Justice is Climate Justice: A Messaging Note for North American Environmentalists.” Report, published April 2019.

National Climate Assessment. 2014. “Extreme Weather.” Global Change. Report.

Wong, P.P., I.J. Losada, J.-P. Gattuso, J. Hinkel, A. Khattabi, K.L. McInnes, Y. Saito, and A. Sallenger. 2014. “Coastal systems and low-lying areas.” In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects, Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, edited by Field, C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J. Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and L.L.White. pp. 361-409. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.



Climate change and global warming

DeMocker, Mary. 2018. The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution. Novato, CA, USA: New World Library.

Goodell, Jeff. 2017. The Water Will Come. Boston, MA, USA: Little, Brown and Company.

Hawken, Paul (ed). 2017. Drawdown: A Plan to Reverse Global Warming. London, UK: Penguin Books.

Jamail, Dahr. 2019. The End of Ice. New York, NY: The New Press.

Klein, Naomi. 2014. This Changes Everything. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Lynas, Mark. 1997. Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet. Washington, DC, USA: National Geographic.

Mann, Charles. 2018. The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World. New York, NY: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Martinez, Xiuhtezcatl. 2017. We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement That Restores the Planet. Emmaus, PA: Rodale.

Roberts, J. Timmons, and Bradley C. Parks. 2006. A Climate of Injustice:  Global Inequality, North-South Politics, and Climate Policy. Cambridge, MA, USA: The MIT Press.

Robinson, Mary. 2018. Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future. London, UK: Bloomsbury.

Spratt, David, and Philip Sutton. 2008. Climate Code Red. Melbourne, AUS: Scribe.

Stevenson, Wen. 2015. What We’re Fighting For Now is Each Other: Dispatches From the Front Lines of Climate Justice. New York, NY: Penguin Random House.

Vince, Gaia. 2019. Adventures in the Anthropocene. London, UK: Vintage Classics.

Woodworth, Elizabeth, and David Ray Griffin. 2016. Unprecedented Climate Mobilization. Atlanta, GA: Clarity Press.



Brown, Lester. 2009. Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Chouinard, Yvon. 2016. Let My People Go Surfing. London, UK: Penguin Books.

Kolbert, Elizabeth. 2014. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. New York, NY: Picador.

McDonough, William. 2002. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. New York, NY: North Point Press.

Meadows, Donatella H. 2008. Thinking in Systems: A Primer. White River Junction, VT, USA: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Raworth, Kate. 2017. Doughnut Economics. White River Junction, VT, USA: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Wall Kimmerer, Robin. 2014. Braiding Sweatgrass. Minneapolis, MN, USA: Milkweed Editions.



Cho, Renee. 2018. “How Climate Change Will Alter Our Food.” State of the Planet, July 25.

Hachey, Isabelle. 2018. “À quoi ressemblera le Québec de 2050?” LaPresse, 11 août.

Hoexter, Michael. 2015. “Road to COP 21 and Beyond: The Missing Analysis of the Kyoto Protocol and Its Failure.”

McDonnell, Tim. 2018. “The Refugees the World Barely Pays Attention To.” National Public Radio, June 20.

McGrath, Matt. 2019. “Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months.” BBC News, July 24.

McNeall, Doug, Paul R. Halloran, Peter Good, and Richard A. Betts. 2011. “Analyzing Abrupt and Nonlinear Impacts.” WIREs Climate Change 2: 663-686.

Parikh, Jyoti. 1997. “North-South Issues For Climate Change.” Economic and Political Weekly 5(12): 2940-2943.

Riley, Tess. 2017. “Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says.” The Guardian, July 10.

Smith, Zak. 2019. “Natural Ecosystem Collapse Demands Transformative Change.” Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), April 26.

Soja AJ, NM Tchebakova, NHF French, et al. 2007. “Climate-induced boreal forest change: Predictions versus current observations.” Global and Planetary Change 56: 274-296.

Spratt, David. 2015. “Recount.”

Spratt, David. 2016. “Climate Reality Check.”

Táíwò, Olúfémi O. 2019. “How the Green New Deal can avoid climate colonialism.” Pacific Standard, February 25.

Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). nd. “Each Country’s Share of CO₂.” Union of Concerned Scientists USA. Online resource.

Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). nd. “Water and Climate Change.” Union of Concerned Scientists USA. Online resource.

Watts, Jonathan. 2018. “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN.” The Guardian, October 8.

Whyte, Kyle. 2017. “Is it colonial déjà vu? Indigenous peoples and climate injustice.” Publication details.


(1)  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2018. “Global Warming of 1.5°C: Summary for Policymakers.” Report, published October 2018 by IPCC Switzerland.
(2)  Waldman, Scott. 2018. “IPCC: Was the scary report too conservative?” E&E News, October 11.
(3)  Noor, Dharna. 2018. “Michael Mann: We Are Even Closer to Climate Disaster Than IPCC Predicts.” The Real News Network, October 10.
(4)  Bureau d’assurance du Canada. 2019. “Les inondations printanières dans l’est du Canada ont causé des dommages assurés de près de $208 millions.” Newswire, July 3.–895202187.html.
(5)  The Canadian Press. 2019. “Canadian buildings, coastlines, northern communities face biggest climate risks: report.” CBC News, July 4.
(6)  The Canadian Press. “Alberta wildfires are ‘climate change in action,’ scientist says as summer heat looms.” Global News, June 9.
(7)  Dufour, Thomas. 2019. “Vague de chaleur: ‘Nous sommes prêts,’ dit Plante.” LaPresse, July 3.
(8)  Riley, Tess. 2017. “Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study shows.” The Guardian, July 10.
(9)  MacFarlane, John. 2019. “Montreal Expects More Brutal Heat Waves, Vows to Improve Response.” CBC News, May 15.
(10)  Táíwò, Olúfémi O. 2019. “How the Green New Deal can avoid climate colonialism.” Pacific Standard, February 25.
(11)  Thanki, Nathan. 2019. “System change and internationalism.” The Economist, April 16.
(12)  McDonnell, Tim. 2018. “The Refugees The World Barely Pays Attention To.” NPR, June 20.
(13)  DemocracyNow! 2019. “How the Climate Crisis Is Pushing Central Americans Out of Their Homes Toward the U.S.” DemocracyNow!, July 10.
(14)  Michael, Lindsey. 2013. “Québec’s student tuition protest: Who really won the dispute?” CBC News, August 18.
(15)  Hanna, Megan. 2016. “BDS Movement: Lessons from the South Africa boycott.” Al Jazeera, February 23.
(16)  Kelly, Kim. 2019. “How American Workers Won the Eight-Hour Workday.” Teen Vogue, July 11.