David Miller, president and chief executive officer of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada and former mayor of the City of Toronto, has recently been appointed as an adjunct faculty member in York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies.
Miller’s many contributions in the areas of environmental sustainability and social justice closely align with the activities and objectives of York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, says Noël Sturgeon, dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies. His wealth of knowledge of critical environmental concerns supports the Faculty’s commitments to cross boundaries within its programs, support student-centred learning, offer opportunities for experiential learning, demonstrate leadership in interdisciplinary teaching and research, and promote significant social and environmental change toward the creation of a more equitable, just and sustainable world.
Sturgeon says, “Besides benefitting from David Miller’s knowledge and experience of urban planning, environmental advocacy and organizational politics, he will serve as an important role model for our students as an effective and courageous leader, one not afraid of controversy.”
Accompanying Miller’s appointment is a developing collaborative partnership between the Faculty of Environmental Studies and WWF-Canada, which encompasses robust plans for a wide range of projects related to support for emergent research priorities within the Faculty and enriching opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.
Miller has been the president and CEO of WWF-Canada since 2013, driving forward the organization’s threefold mission: to sustain renewable natural resources, to diminish pollution and wasteful consumption, and to conserve biological diversity worldwide. WWF-Canada and the Faculty of Environmental Studies share a vision of a future world where humans and nature harmoniously coexist.
Miller stated that the partnership is a fantastic, bold step and he believes WWF-Canada’s work can be significantly enhanced by it. According to Miller, the goal of the collaboration is to support York’s scientific research in practical ways through WWF-Canada’s work, while allowing WWF-Canada to make its own work more effective. In addition to noting that the partnership brings huge potential benefits for both participants, he mentioned it is accompanied by opportunities for joint research projects and for students to conduct research on the ground.
Miller’s numerous achievements during his time as mayor of Toronto include effecting sustainable employment for Toronto residents while protecting the environment through his unwavering support of a national transit strategy, chairing the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group combatting climate change from 2008-10, and the Clean City Beautiful City initiative, which urged businesses, municipal governments and individuals in Toronto to work together to support vibrant neighbourhoods and healthy urban environments.
The Faculty of Environmental Studies looks forward to working with Miller to advance Faculty plans and priorities and provide students with the necessary tools and avenues to reach their academic objectives and gain positions after graduation that allow them to realize their potential for leadership, says Sturgeon.
By Kate Tschirhart, communications coordinator, Faculty of Environmental Studies