This article by Wan Yee Lok was originally published by UBC News on June 23, 2021.
World-renowned climate activists and journalists Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis are joining the faculty at the University of British Columbia’s department of geography.
“We are thrilled to welcome Naomi and Avi to UBC to advance the urgent social, political and economic changes necessary to address the climate crisis,” says Dr. Gage Averill, dean of UBC’s faculty of arts. “This is a critical moment for the future of our planet and we are committed to highlighting climate justice in all of our priorities.”
Klein is a New York Times best-selling author known across the globe for her work in climate justice and critiques of globalized capitalism. She has written eight critically-acclaimed books, published in more than 30 languages, including The Shock Doctrine, On Fire, No is Not Enough and This Changes Everything. She will join UBC as the inaugural Faculty of Arts Chair in Climate Justice in September.
Klein will also take a leadership role in building a Centre for Climate Justice, currently in development, which will be housed within the department of geography. The centre’s goal is to bring together activists, policy makers, elders, scholars and frontline communities — harnessing the university’s skills and resources in service of those already working towards environmental justice in diverse spaces.
“I’m very excited to be able to focus all my energy on the climate crisis and on the responses to it that centre justice in my new role at the University of British Columbia,” says Klein. “UBC is remarkable for its leadership in climate science and Indigenous studies. Both are at the very core of climate justice. I look forward to working with other UBC educators and researchers to break down barriers and spark important conversations across disciplines and communities.”
Canadian documentary filmmaker, Lewis, will join the university in July as a part-time faculty member, and will teach courses focusing on social and political change, communication and documentary filmmaking.
“It’s a gift for me to work at a leading university during a historical moment that calls on communities to come together and put justice at the centre,” says Lewis. “I’m eager to put my work at the service of students and help them find new narratives to confront the crises of our time.”
The pair says the university’s declaration on the climate emergency speaks to the urgency and priority that is much needed to combat the climate crisis and that there’s no better time to create break-through solutions for a more sustainable and just society across British Columbia, Canada and the world.