Social justice. Conflict resolution. Access. Human well-being. Social equity. Diversity. Intercultural fluency. Quality of life. Global citizenship. Community building.
Although the term social sustainability receives far less attention in the popular press than environmental sustainability, the issues and concepts associated with social sustainability have been addressed for decades.
UBC strives to foster social sustainability in innumerable ways including:
- courses such as those addressing cross-cultural counselling, dispute resolution and feminist geography, just to name a few
- research into gender and race equity, intercultural language studies and social justice
- workplace initiatives such as Positive Space, Leave for Change and the annual United Way campaign
- student-oriented offerings such as the Access and Diversity Office, the Community Learning Initiative, the UBC Learning Exchange and International House
- cultural centres such as the Museum of Anthropology, the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts and the Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery
- community engagement through forums, events and dialouge
- Respectful Environment Statement
- Focus on People Plan.
The ways in which regenerative sustainability can foster a society that is net positive in human terms is an area of particular interest at the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS). Within the CIRS building, researchers are exploring the ways in which a green building can contribute to the health and happiness of inhabitants.
At UBC, we are building a campus that is socially regenerative, yielding more social good--in the form of constructive dialogue and engagement in potentially difficult or highly contentious conversations, intellectual diversity, social inclusion and openness to complexity--rather than prejudice and conflict.
Social sustainability challenges us to take inequity, conflict and intercultural tension and convert them into dynamic human interactions and social cohesion extending and strengthening the societies we want to live in.