“Action is the antidote to despair,” folksinger Joan Baez famously said, and this is certainly relevant for addressing climate change and climate justice, globally and locally.
The University of Calgary's Mobilizing Alberta Climate Action Grant launched its second round of funding on Nov. 9, 2023. Through this program, UCalgary supports climate resilience by strengthening community-based climate action. Project teams can apply for grants of up to $20,000 to implement one-year projects that mobilize climate awareness, action and resiliency in southern Alberta. Projects must create meaningful experiential learning opportunities for students to support their development as leaders in sustainability and climate action.
The program is led by the Office of Sustainability and undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada. Applications are open from Nov. 9 to Feb. 9, 2024, for proposed project starts over the summer.
“Through this initiative, the office aspires to provide rich and meaningful experiential learning opportunities for students, develop long-lasting partnerships between UCalgary and community partners, and mobilize climate knowledge into action,” says Rachelle Haddock, MEDes’10, manager of sustainability partnerships and engagement.
In 2022-2023, UCalgary funded 10 innovative, equity-centred, collaborative projects involving students, faculty, and community organizations who are building capacity for climate action and resilience.
For example, Dr. Steven Vamosi, PhD, and Laura Lynes, co-founder of the Resilience Institute, in partnership with the Piikani Nation, are collaborating on a project that centres on Blackfoot traditional ways of climate monitoring (the Winter Count) and Western science. The aim is to increase understanding of sweetgrass as a nature-based climate solution and build community capacity to integrate bison into adaptation planning.
This summer, The Chickadee Challenge: Community-Designed Climate Action Inspired by Nature, was launched. The Chickadee Challenge is a collaborative, community-based design challenge that communities and K-12 schools can implement with the guidance of a nature-inspired design tool kit created by UCalgary students and the project team.
The tool kit will include guides and collaborative activities that will introduce southern Alberta’s species through diverse perspectives, describe learnings from these species, and share how participants can apply these learnings in their schools and neighbourhoods to advance climate action and sustainability. The project was organized by Dr. Marjan Eggermont, BA’91, BFA’96, MFA’98, PhD’18, along with Dr. Mindi Summers, PhD, Dr. Kerry Black, PhD, and Celia Lee, MEDes’10, executive director of Sustainable Calgary.
Another project led by Christine Brubaker, Dr. Bruce Barton, PhD, and Dr. Melanie Kloetzel, PhD, of UCalgary’s School for Creative and Performing Arts, in collaboration with Ian Garrett, associate professor of Ecological Design for Performance at York University in Toronto and co-founder and director of the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, focuses on reducing the carbon emissions of the performing arts sector and creating new pathways to become a regenerative industry that implements sustainable productions.
“The Office of Sustainability is excited to celebrate these inspiring and impactful projects using a variety of storytelling methods in the coming months,” says Haddock. “We look forward to sharing these inspiring climate action and resilience stories from southern Alberta with the campus community and beyond.”
Do you have an idea that can bring together UCalgary faculty and students and community to mobilize climate awareness and action in southern Alberta?
Eligible project teams must include a UCalgary faculty member(s), an eligible community organization, and UCalgary students. It is not required to have the UCalgary students(s) recruited prior to applying; however, project teams do need to outline the experiential learning experience(s) the project will offer.
To learn more and apply, visit the Mobilizing Alberta Climate Action Grant website. The Office of Sustainability will also be hosting a Mobilizing Alberta Climate Action Grant Introduction Webinar on Nov. 27, from 12 to 1 p.m. Register for the webinar