York researchers invited to share, collaborate at global health workshop

FEATURED Global Health

Call for presenters: The Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research invites the York University community to join the ongoing discussion on critical social science perspectives in global health research.

Critical research often involves the use of critical theory with social justice aims. Critical social science perspectives in global health (CPGH) are transdisciplinary, participatory, experimental or experiential analyses that seek greater effectiveness, equity and excellence in global health. This means engaging directly with global public health actors, structures and systems to transform global public health while remaining committed to social science theory and methodology. For more information, visit the CPGH project page.

There is an open call to York researchers to consider presenting at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research’s fourth annual, Workshop on Critical Social Science Perspectives in Global Health Research on March 29. The registration deadline for new research ideas presentations is March 20. Participants will engage with the research community at York University from a variety of disciplines to create new insights, foster collaboration and discuss research opportunities. The workshop will be an in-person event at the Dahdaleh Institute with continental breakfast and lunch. All are welcome to attend.

Critical Perspectives in Global Health Research Workshop Wednesday, March 29

Who can present?
York faculty and researchers (with the support of a York faculty member) are invited to deliver presentations.

What is the format of the presentations?
Interested participants are asked to prepare a brief five-minute, two-slide presentation on any research project, current or planned, which takes a critical social science approach to global health.

Seed grants
Following the workshop, the Dahdaleh Institute will launch the 2023 Critical Perspectives in Global Health Seed Grant program and award five research seed grants of up to $5,000 each. The seed grants will support critical global health research that contributes to the themes of the Dahdaleh Institute, which are planetary health, global health and humanitarianism, as well as global health foresighting.

For more information on these research themes, visit the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research website. For the event’s full agenda, visit the event page.

York University Black Staff Network offers networking, community building

Two Black women talk together

Formed in 2022, the York University Black Staff Network (YUBSN) is a volunteer network governed by an elected executive committee that serves as a place of engagement, support and community for Black-identifying staff at the University.

To mark Black History Month, YUBSN has officially launched its website and extends an invitation to Black-identifying employees from across the University to join the network, which currently has 80 members.

Close up portrait of overjoyed young multiracial employees team have fun posing for selfie on smartphone in office together. Happy smiling diverse multiethnic colleagues male self-portrait picture.
To mark Black History Month, YUBSN has officially launched its website and extends an invitation to Black-identifying employees from across the University to join the network, which currently has 80 members

“York University is a big place, whether you are just starting out or you’re a long-service employee, just knowing that you are not alone can help to foster a sense of community and belonging,” said Annette Boodram, inaugural Chair of YUBSN. “The COVID-19 pandemic made connecting with colleagues quite difficult. To alleviate these difficulties, the YUBSN facilitates opportunities for networking, professional development and overall advancement of Black employees so that they can find their fit at York.” 

As part of its engagement and education activities, the YUBSN hosts a book club that fosters robust discussions on titles, such as Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta, that bring the community together to learn about and discuss topics and subjects that matter.  

YUBSN recognizes the impactful work of Black writers who have provided insight into the struggles and triumphs of their community through the power of words and literary imagery.

“Writers that center the Black experience and deepen our knowledge help bring about healing and community building,” says Karen Traboulay, member of the executive team and communications co-lead for the YUBSN.

YUBSN has also established the YUBSN Black Health and Wellness Club for health-conscious individuals. The club, which meets for a walk on Wednesdays at noon, shares motivational content that supports each other’s health and wellness goals.

In addition to being a peer support group, the network engages with senior leaders on institutional projects and decisions that aim to improve experiences for Black employees at York, such as the Black Inclusion Framework and Action Plan, Black Advisory Council, and the Security Services Review. 

According to YUBSN Vice-Chair Alicia Pinter, “YUBSN is committed to Black excellence and inclusion through networking, collaboration and knowledge-sharing.

All non-academic employees who self-identify as Black are welcome to join.

Visit the YUBSN website to learn more.

Paulina Lau Scholar reaches for Mars


By Elaine Smith

Rehan Rashid has set his sights on becoming an astronaut, and the Paulina Lau Scholars Program is helping to pave his way.

Rashid, a mechanical engineering student in York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering, became fascinated by the planets as a child and learned as much about them as possible.

Rehan Rashid
Rehan Rashid

Eventually, the Brooklyn-born, Toronto-raised son of immigrants from Pakistan soon began dreaming of working for the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and becoming the first astronaut to set foot on Mars.

“I’m 23 years old and the U.S. plans to land on Mars in the 2040s, so I’m the ideal age,” Rashid said. “I’ll try to keep my life on track and achieve my goal.”

His choice of mechanical engineering as a major was a deliberate step in his plan.

He has moved closer to his dream with two NASA internships in 2022 and another slated for summer 2023.

Rashid was working at his part-time IKEA job when he received an email informing him of his selection as 2022 paid summer intern at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. The Johnson Space Center is home to NASA mission control.

Excited about his first NASA internship, he yelled out the news while working at his part-time job and received an ovation from hundreds of IKEA customers.

In Houston, as a battery systems engineering intern at the NASA Johnson Space Center, Rashid worked on lithium-ion cell performance and safety testing.

He also took advantage of the opportunities his internship presented, meeting with nine astronauts, networking with NASA employees and touring various other departments, absorbing all the information and advice he could garner.

He followed up the paid summer internship with NASA with another one, a few months later, in Fall 2022. He worked at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia as a battery materials R&D chemist focusing on solid-state battery research and fabrication.

It was during this second internship that the Paulina Lau Scholars Program was a real benefit.

The program was established in 2022 by York alumni and life partners Hian Siang Chan and Paulina Lau, and their families. Through scholarships, the program supports student participation in diverse global learning opportunities.

Throughout his university career, Rashid juggled classes and part-time jobs to repay his OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program) funding and defray the cost of tuition. His course load is heavy when he is back at York; Rashid balances his desire to graduate on time with pursuing NASA opportunities, so he likes to get a head start on his coursework before he resumes classes.  

However, NASA internships require an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. commitment, so studying at night after a full, demanding work day seemed to be his only option. Fortunately, Rashid was named a Paulina Lau Scholar in time for his second NASA internship.

“The Paulina Lau Scholars Program significantly helped me to focus on studies for the upcoming academic semester during my Virginia internship at NASA by allowing me to quit my part-time job at a local Walmart that was a one-hour bike ride each way,” Rashid noted. “I strongly believe that the Paulina Lau Scholars Program allowed me to excel at NASA – a life changing opportunity. It has taken me closer to my dream of one day helping land the first human on Mars.”

NASA, Virginia
NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia, where Rehan Rashid worked as a battery materials R&D chemist focusing on solid-state battery research and fabrication

Rashid is eager for the upcoming summer internship with NASA, his third so far. In each of his previous internships, he has been the only student from a Canadian university in a group of 20-plus interns. It is something that makes him proud, but also gives him a sense of responsibility in representing an entire nation.

After the upcoming summer internship, Rashid has one more year of courses before earning his mechanical engineering degree. The next step in his plan is to earn an MSc from MIT or Stanford in mechanical or aerospace engineering before applying for admission to the 2040 astronaut corps at NASA. After talking to astronauts, he realizes “the odds are slim,” but he has a fallback plan: working at mission control or flight control for the Mars mission.

Meanwhile, Rashid is truly appreciative of the support he has received in working toward achieving his lifelong dream.

“I will never take the sole credit for obtaining these fiercely competitive internships at NASA,” Rashid wrote in an email. “I believe it is a team effort of everyone who had supported me, especially the school and donors who have provided me the opportunity to learn and grow from these experiences. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to the donors of the Paulina Lau Scholars Program, and York University who are helping mold the next generation of scientists and engineers who will change the world.”

About the Paulina Lau Scholars Program

The Paulina Lau Scholars Program, an endowed award, was created to benefit undergraduate and graduate students travelling overseas to engage in coursework, research or internships. Preference is given to students who demonstrate financial need and are in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, Lassonde School of Engineering or the Faculty of Science. This scholarship program is established by York alums and life partners Hian Siang Chan and Paulina Lau and their family to inspire future generations of students to right the future. Find out more.

York occupational health and safety students build, curate multimedia research repository

Workers clad in hardhats and safety gear inspecting documents

Assistant Professor Duygu Biricik Gulseren’s Fall 2022 Occupational Health & Safety (HRM 3400) class created The OHS Project, which comprises case studies, news and academic articles, and podcast episodes, as a part of a semester-long experiential education effort dedicated to advancing workplace safety.

Professor Duygu Biricik Gulseren close-up photo
Duygu Biricik Gulseren

The newly launched project aims to become an informational touchstone not just for future occupational health and safety (OHS) students at York’s School of Human Resources Management (HRM), but for OHS researchers and educators around the world as well.

In accordance with prevailing open education principles, all research materials offered by The OHS Project are provided without redaction or subscription. Currently the website is home to 23 case studies, 21 articles and six podcast episodes, all published by students. As Gulseren welcomes new cohorts into her courses, and into the project, the breadth of the research materials on display will continue to grow and continue to be shared with students in other OHS courses, as well as with professionals in the field.

“[The project has] great resources for OHS professionals. I liked the cases and podcasts, they are very informative and make you think about company specific OHS procedures,” said Yasemin Mensah, general manager of safety and quality at Wartsila Energy Storage.

“I really appreciate the effort to create a website and share it with us,” said Yisheng Peng, assistant professor of organizational science and communication at George Washington University. “To continue building our future portfolio for occupational health and safety education, I will also encourage my students to engage in these similar activities, i.e. case interviews and analyses.”

Experiential education advantages

Naturally, the benefits of Gulseren’s diverse grading methods, and novel approach to promoting research opportunities, were felt first and foremost by the students who founded the project under her direction.

First-year human resources student Ugur Erdal hosted his own podcast episode which focused on occupational health psychology and the concerns of researchers within that burgeoning field of study.

“The podcast [provides] perspectives related to different academic backgrounds [adjacent to] occupational health and safety,” Erdal said. “The podcast provided me with [access] to international information transfer systems and [readily available] academic information. Even though international meetings and interactions seem hard [to coordinate,] podcasts present excellent opportunities for both students and professors [to engage experts abroad.]”

“The OHS Project offers a wealth of learning opportunities. It allows students to obtain certification in research ethics (CORE-2022), hone interviewing and transcription skills, apply foundational occupational health and safety principles, and offers the opportunity to network… with practitioners in the field,” wrote Jason Molnar, who authored a case study for the project. “Plus, writing the case study narrative was fun. I highly recommend this project for anyone interested in experiential learning.”

In the future, Gulseren plans for the program to not only increase in the quantity of research materials it contains, but to also evolve in how it prepares students for the workplace. There are also plans to expand the podcasting opportunities to graduate and PhD students.

“In the current term, we are also adding a training component to the project,” Gulseren said. “Students from this course, along with Ayesha Tabassum, a PhD candidate in HRM, and I are designing a brief, evidence-based ‘techno-stress’ training [module] for employees working from home. We will evaluate the effectiveness of the training using data from employees working from home.”

York book publishing professor introduces First Novel Prize, book deal for aspiring authors

Two people exchanging a stack of books

Matt Bucemi, an assistant professor in book publishing at York University, created the First Novel Prize in conjunction with Toronto-based Invisible Publishing to advance first-time novelists and provide hands-on experience for publishing students.

Matt Bucemi

Recognizing Invisible Publishing’s status as a fan-favourite publishing house, Bucemi partnered with their local team to push a call for manuscripts to fledgling writers. Based on those manuscripts, one author will be a selected to win a $3,000 cash prize from Bucemi, in addition to a $1,000 advance against royalties and book deal from Invisible Publishing. The winner will also get to deliver a keynote address and Q-and-A at York.

The First Novel Prize launched officially on Jan. 10 and will remain open to submissions until Feb. 28. The prize winner will be announced in April 2023, their manuscript will be published in 2024 or 2025.

The prize will not only give one promising, new writer the chance to have their book appear on retailers’ shelves, it also provides an experiential education opportunity to students of the book publishing program. They’ll get to make a meaningful impact on the winning book, offering editorial notes, story suggestions, advice for the author and marketing input.

“Publishing houses want to hire interns and junior staff who have previous experience in the publishing industry, but it can be difficult for busy students to gain that experience,” says Bucemi. “This collaboration will give York’s publishing students the meaningful experience and real industry knowledge that they need to distinguish themselves in a competitive job market.”

York’s students will get to experience the entire professional publishing process, from sorting through a slush pile of submissions to making suggestions about printing and production.

“I’m really interested in what [the students] have to say,” says Norm Nehmetallah of Invisible Publishing. “Because none of them have worked in publishing before, it’s a completely fresh perspective.”

Visit the Invisible Publishing website for contest details, or click here to submit a manuscript.

York’s peer-reviewed undergraduate research journal issues new volume

writing in notebook

York University’s interdisciplinary and peer-reviewed undergraduate research journal Revue YOUR Review (RYR) has published its ninth volume as part of its collaborative mission to promote experiential learning and open-access publishing.

Sponsored by York University Libraries in support of undergraduate research and in collaboration with the annual Undergraduate Research Fair and Art Walk, the journal’s focus is to provide faculty and librarian mentorship for undergraduate researchers and to guide them through the process of publishing in a peer-reviewed arena.

RYR gives voice to authors from traditionally underrepresented segments of the University community and highlights their innovative research.

Cover of Revue YOUR Review Volume 9
Cover of Revue YOUR Review Volume 9

In this volume, Dara Dillon provides a thought-provoking critique of Liberalism and its systemic failure to confront anti-Black racism, while discrimination and a history of pathologization of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities are the topics of articles by Jacob McGuire and the team of Ryan Yacknovets and Meaghan Landry, respectively. Ayeda Khan confronts the colonial legacy of Western medicine in India, while both Jacqueline Saunders’ and Hannah Santilli’s contributions analyze social inequities for people with disabilities. A collaborative effort from Alexandra Markwell, Danika Wagner, Andreja Stajduhar and Lucas Norton on the psychology of extroversion, competitiveness and humour rounds out the volume.

The volume’s editorial draws on a conversation between one of the journal’s co-editors, Kevin Reynolds, and the artist of the image borne on the cover of RYR’s Volume 8, Natalia Bonczek, reflecting on the possibility of nonbinary language in French. Volume 8’s cover artwork “Misster E” is a portrait of the homonymous alter ego of the artist, a nonbinary “gender-bending, glamorous drag king.” The conversation works through the challenges presented by the translation of the artist statement that describes the cover artwork. French is characterized by grammatical gender as a structural feature that not only challenges expressions of gender ambiguity, but that is entirely rooted in gender binarity. How does one reconcile a binary gender-based language with nonbinary, “gender-bending” identities? As a result, in the artist’s statement for Volume 8, unconventional orthographic means are used to assert the nonbinary identity of the artist in French. The dialogue that ultimately led to these complex decisions of translation is the subject of the co-authored editorial of Volume 9.

In addition to Volumes 8 (2021) and 9 (2022), the journal has released, retroactively, two previously unpublished editions from 2018. The combined issues in Volumes 4/5 and 6/7 are available on the journal’s website.

Cover of Revue YOUR Review Volume 6/7
Cover of Revue YOUR Review Volume 6/7
Cover of Revue YOUR Review Volume 4/5
Cover of Revue YOUR Review Volume 4/5

In his introductory editorial to Volume 6/7, “Stepping into Tomorrow,” Professor Emeritus Paul Delaney (Physics & Astronomy) writes to “citizens of the future” about the importance of scientific literacy and the courage it takes young scholars to go through peer review. The cover image for each of these volumes is the work of Cree-Métis artist and York alumna Marissa Magneson, who also contributed the editorial for Volume 4/5. In the editorial, Magneson reflects on her photograph “Frozen Chains of Childhood” and the brutal legacy of residential schools in Canada: “Like the swing in the cover photograph, many Indigenous children felt isolated, frozen, neglected, and immobile at these schools.”

Volume 6/7’s cover image, “Reflections,” symbolizes the coming-together of two cousins, Magneson and wood carver and Nuu-chah-nulth language activist Joshua Prescott, whose artistic collaboration reflects a gradual reclamation of their Indigenous culture and identity.

“While Frozen Chains of Childhood looks to a past where Indigenous peoples were not allowed to express their culture(s), Reflections looks to the future, as we carve a path forward where future generations know what it means to be Indigenous and are proud to share who they are,” says Magneson.

All volumes are available online.

York University maps courses that teach about Sustainable Development Goals

Image shows a hand holding a pine cone against a lush backdrop of greenery

York University is internationally recognized for its contributions to addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) through teaching, research, stewardship, and partnerships. York’s annual SDG report is a snapshot of some of the work the University is doing in collaboration with Canadian and international partners to advance the Global Goals.

“The University is making determined and substantial strides towards the goals, through the power of higher education,” says York University’s Provost and VP Academic Lisa Philipps.  

As the world rapidly approaches 2030, youth have been mobilizing to compel global leaders to take urgent action on the SDGs. “As a global SDG leader, York University and its students are already playing an integral role in this movement,” adds Philipps.

To continuously improve the support offered to students and graduates who are tackling these challenges, York University has embarked on a process of understanding how its courses address or are linked to the SDGs. This initiative maps York courses with one or more of the SDGs, as appropriate, and the University is making this information available to the community on its SDG website.

The goal is to better inform students about learning opportunities related to the SDGs, to understand York’s strengths and curricular assets across the disciplines, and to increase awareness and deepen SDG-related conversations at the University and beyond.

Teaching the SDGs: the number of York courses related to each Global Goal

The above graphic shows the number of courses that relate to each of the United Nations 17 SDGs

Lessons learned from mapping courses

In consultation with OSDG, an open access tool developed by the United Nations Development Program’s SDG AI Lab and the EU-based thinktank PPMI, York analysts were able to undertake this process. They looked at both undergraduate and graduate courses offered in both English or French across all Faculties and all courses offered at the time of this analysis.

This approach looked at the use of more than 20,000 keywords and with the help of machine learning identified courses that are related to one or more of the SDGs through course titles and official descriptions. The University learned about the OSDG tool from University College London.

York University is the OSDG’s first official North American partner, as the organization works with a range of global partners such as the University of Hong Kong. York analysts consulted other universities in Ontario, British Columbia, California, England and New Zealand, organizations like York that are recognized for their global leadership on SDGs. Those consultations focused on learning about best practices for mapping and sharing SDG-relevant courses with their respective communities.

In total, analysts identified 1,635 courses (38 per cent of all courses), that are related to at least one SDG. Mapping for SDG 17 is still in development. All Faculties were represented among the mapped courses and the above table shows the number of courses that were identified as being related to each SDG.

The OSDG’s machine learning-enabled course mapping functionality flagged SDG-related courses when they specifically referenced the SDGs in the curriculum or where the curriculum empowered students to independently tackle an SDG theme within or outside of the classroom.

Many courses also mapped to more than one SDG – in fact, 285 courses were simultaneously mapped to two SDGs and 43 courses mapped to three SDGs. The process of mapping courses to the SDGs is iterative and analysts recognize that it is reliant upon the use of specific keywords and phrases found in current courses descriptions. As course descriptions continue to evolve, the analysis will be updated.

This approach will continue to improve over time, as new keywords are contributed to the OSDG’s bank. The full list of mapped courses will be published by Spring 2023 on York’s SDG website for the benefit of prospective and current students. The University will invite feedback in the lead up to publishing these courses and will continue to welcome ongoing feedback thereafter to ensure the mapped list of courses are kept up to date, and remain helpful for the York community.

The current analysis will serve as a starting point to improve the process of capturing SDG-related courses and advancing SDG education, and research on the SDGs, as outlined in the University Academic Plan.

Feedback from former Provostial Fellow and Professor Cheryl van Daalen-Smith, associate dean, academic; the Sustainability Office; the UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education Towards Sustainability; and the Vice-Provost Students team has also been invaluable during this initial mapping endeavor. This Provostial initiative was supported by the Associate Vice-President Teaching & Learning, the University Registrar, the Office of Institutional Planning and Analysis and York International.

York promotes Sustainable Development Goals, inclusive insurance at Consortium of Excellence

International flags and Canada stock banner

York professors played vital roles at the Consortium of Excellence for the 17 Goals (C-17), which serves as the hub for academia, industry and governments from around the world to promote and achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Spearheaded by the Risk and Insurance Studies Centre (RISC), the consortium is a recently formalized agreement with: the University of Lausanne, under the leadership of Professor Séverine Arnold; the University of Liverpool, under the leadership of Professor Corina Constantinescu; and York University under the joint leadership of Professors Edward Furman and Ida Ferrara.  

Edward Furman

Furman, in York’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Science, leads the Actuarial Science program and serves as director of RISC. Ferrara is an applied micro-economist with the Department of Economics and deputy director of RISC.

In its efforts to engage with practitioners on important societal goals, as embedded in the UN SDGs, the consortium sponsored a session at the recent International Conference on Inclusive Insurance (ICII), an annual non-profit platform for all stakeholders to present and discuss issues, policies and innovative solutions for efficient, sustainable and inclusive insurance products. More information about the conference is available here.

This year’s conference, organized by the Insurance Association of Jamaica, the Munich Re Foundation, and the Microinsurance Network, took place in Jamaica from Oct. 24 to 28, with around 250 participants from more than 50 countries. Jamaica’s Minister of Finance and Public Service, Nigel Clarke, was in attendance and announced that Jamaica is set to become the first country in the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) to have microinsurance legislation, with a bill to be introduced in 2023.

The focus of the discussions at this year’s conference revolved around strategies to manage climate risks and address the specific needs of small island countries. The consortium sponsored a session, facilitated by Ferrara, which considered the role of academics in the development and implementation of inclusive insurance and highlighted the imperative for a practice-informed approach and close collaboration among academics, practitioners, policymakers and other stakeholders to realize the full potential of science-driven results in addressing major societal challenges.

Ida Ferrara
Ida Ferrara

“I found the experience very rewarding,” said Ferrara. “I met wonderful people who have been grappling with the realities of making markets work for the poor and reducing the risk of poverty traps and who shared valuable insights and perspectives.”

The session featured four presentations: José Miguel Flores Contró, PhD candidate at the University of Lausanne, spoke of the cost-effectiveness of subsidization when considering the public cost of supporting those who fall below the poverty line; Kira Henshaw, postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Liverpool, and Constantinescu, who introduced the idea of country-level risk pooling and provided input on optimal matching of countries using data on floods/droughts in African countries; York Professor Tsvetanka Karagyozova shared her findings about the long-term impact of microinsurance on economic growth based on a sample of African countries. 

In the final presentation, Michael McCord, managing director of the Microinsurance Centre at Milliman, underscored the importance of bridging the gap between academia and practice and provided insight into how to support and facilitate partnerships among academics, practitioners and regulators. 

To further their commitment to promoting greater engagement between academics and practitioners, the proponents of C-17, along with co-guest editors McCord and Dirk Reinhard, vice-chairman at the Munich Re Foundation, are currently co-editing a special issue of the journal RISKS on inclusive insurance. The aim of the issue is to gather science-driven and practice-informed data to address opportunities and barriers for inclusive insurance and identify ways of accelerating growth and economic viability in inclusive insurance for the benefits of all parties (households, insurers, and governments) in emerging markets.

Workshop series brings SDGs to forefront of teaching and learning

Featured image for stories related to sustainability

A series of one-hour workshops at York University will launch in the new year and share ways in which educators can infuse the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SGDs) into teaching and learning.

Co-developed by York’s Teaching Commons and SDGs-in-the-Classroom Curricular Innovation Hub, The Sustainable Development Goals in Teaching and Learning series launches Jan. 25, 2023 and presents five online workshops.

UN SDG wheel with the 17 SDGs

The series explores how educators might speak to the SDGs through curriculum, teaching practices, course design and assessments. The outcomes are developed to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable development and prepare students with the knowledge, skills and attributes to tackle the world’s greatest challenges.

The workshops, which run from 10 to 11 a.m., are:

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)-in-the-Classroom Curricular Innovation Hub is part of the SDG Teach In, a campaign to put the SDGs at the centre of all stages of education, and across all disciplines. The SDG Teach In, hosted by Students Organizing for Sustainability United Kingdom (SOS-UK), is a student-led education charity focusing on sustainability with a belief that change is urgently needed to tackle the injustices and unsustainability in our world.

The 2023 campaign will run from March 1 to 31, 2023, and encourages educators to pledge to include the SDGs within their teaching, learning and assessment during the campaign and beyond. Educators can pledge to take part now via the SDG Teach in pledge form

Study reports public control over energy policy required to avert climate crisis

climate change iceburg

A new paper authored by York University PhD student Erin Flanagan and Professor Dennis Raphael explores the future of the environment in this time of climate crisis.

Dennis Raphael
Dennis Raphael

From Personal Responsibility to an Eco-Socialist State: Political Economy, Popular Discourses, and the Climate Crisis” was published in the Sage journal Human Geography and looks at how Canadians think about the crisis, and what can be done to move toward a more environmentally friendly future.

The study builds upon research from Flanagan’s major research paper completed as part of her MA degree in health policy and equity, at the Faculty of Health’s School of Health Policy and Management.

Based on the authors’ review of different ways of resolving the crisis, the paper concludes that averting a catastrophe will require gaining public control over energy policy and countering the power and influence of fossil-extracting industries.

“In theory, this could be accomplished through existing policy instruments, but in reality, it may require the establishment of a post-capitalist eco-socialist state,” says Raphael.

  • while what this state will look like is uncertain, certain features can be envisioned, he said. These would initially include:
  • universal access and social justice: ending energy poverty while reducing energy consumption and prioritizing the needs of communities, households, and marginalized people;
  • renewable, sustainable, and local energy: shifting to renewables by leaving fossil fuels in the ground, divesting from fossil fuels, and investing public funds in local renewable energy systems to create thriving communities;
  • public and social ownership: bringing energy production under democratic control, within new forms of public ownership by municipalities, citizens’ collectives, and workers;
  • fair play and creation of green jobs: building renewable energy through fairly paid, unionized jobs; and
  • democratic control and participation: empowering citizens and workers to participate in energy policy by democratizing governance and instituting complete transparency.

The authors state that to accomplish this, Canadians are required to understand that the current features of the country’s economic system make dealing with the climate crisis almost impossible and make the provision of health-promoting living and working conditions difficult.

Read the full paper here.