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Elizabeth May to speak on sustainability

by The Concordian March 27, 2012
Elizabeth May to speak on sustainability

The Loyola College for Diversity and Sustainability will host the seventh edition of the Concordia-Siena conference on globalization March 30 and 31, under the theme ‘‘Sustainability: Rio +20.’’
The conference, which is held alternatively at Concordia and at Siena College in New York state, has hosted prominent speakers in the past such as newly-elected NDP leader Thomas Mulcair. This year is no exception, as British Columbia MP and Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and Concordia geography, planning and environment professor Damon Matthews are expected to speak about the environment on March 30. The conference will look at globalization from many different angles.
‘‘I was a participant in the process leading to the Rio [de Janeiro International Earth Summit] and the summit itself in 1992, and in those days, Canada was in the lead concerning sustainability and global warming,’’ said May.
As this year marks the 20th anniversary of the summit, it seemed appropriate to put the focus on sustainability, she explained. May said she was thrilled to speak at Concordia and believes that youth involvement in politics is critical.
‘‘Whenever I can fit a university event in my calendar, I do it,’’ she said.
Her presentation will look at how the Conservative government brought Canada backwards in the fight for to protect the environment.
‘‘Stephen Harper withdrew Canada from the Kyoto Protocol without warning us during the electoral campaign,’’ said May.
Matthews’ presentation will look at the history of global warming as well as what is to come. “There is not a lot of good news in the climate change story of the past 20 years. Human societies have yet to make any dramatic changes to reduce emissions and slow the pace of climate warming,’’ he explained.
Both May and Matthews believe that Canada has lost its leading position at the international level concerning global warming. ‘‘Canada has become an international embarrassment as a result of its position on climate change,’’ said Matthews.
The conference will also have students from Concordia University and Siena College share their views on sustainability.
‘‘We have five students of Loyola College and seven students from Siena College along with other professors from Concordia presenting on March 31,’’ said Cristina Barbu, assistant to the college’s principal.
In keeping with the theme, the organizers of the two-day symposium tried to make the event as sustainable as possible.
‘‘We wrapped the gifts in newspapers,” said Barbu. “Also, we will have real dishes or biodegradable dishes and combusting bins [at the event].”
The conference will take place on Friday, March 30 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturday, March 31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is free and open to everyone. It will be hosted at Loyola’s Richard J. Renaud Science Complex, room SP-S110.

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