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Is climate change a time for ingenuity or urgent action?

A stylized graphic of a loon sitting on top of a dry lake bed with sustainable industries in the background

UBC Okanagan Debates is back with a timely and highly complex topic--climate change.

After the past few extremely hot summers and drought-ridden winters, the question is no longer whether climate change exists or not. Indeed, debaters in UBCO's upcoming event are faced with the topic of how to best respond to climate change.

Is it an opportunity to seize? Or a crisis to manage?

The Okanagan is on the front lines of climate change, and the impacts on our communities are all too clear, explains Dr. Lesley Cormack, Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at UBC Okanagan. What's less clear, she notes, is the best way forward.

"Delving into how we should respond to climate change--collectively and individually--is a timely and important debate," says Dr. Cormack. "Do we focus on the emergency actions needed to slow or reverse the pace of change or look to the economic and social opportunities of a new normal? Either way, the audience will be challenged to deepen their understanding of all that goes into such a complex topic."

Four leading thinkers will take the stage on Wednesday, May 15 to make their arguments for their side of the climate change debate.

The resolution before the debaters is:

Be it resolved:

Is climate change an opportunity to harness? Should communities see climate change as an opportunity to explore creative solutions? Will those solutions spark hope and ingenuity, especially around green technologies and creative funding sources?

Or, is climate change a crisis? Communities across Canada have already been devastated by fires, floods and ecosystem collapse. Is now the time to act, perhaps by sacrificing some personal freedoms for the collective good?

Speaking on the side of opportunity will be Dr. Ross Hickey a Public Economics Researcher at UBCO and Shauna Sylvester, Lead Convenor with the Urban Climate Leadership.

Debating that the current climate situation is a crisis to manage will be Carol Liao, an Associate Professor in UBC's Allard School of Law who is an expert on corporate law and sustainability, and Brett Favaro, a scientist and Dean of the Faculty of Science at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

"This debate will challenge our audience to consider if our efforts and resources are better spent in an existential battle against greenhouse gases or in finding ways to prioritize human resilience and economic evolution," says Marten Youssef, Associate Vice-President of University Relations at UBCO. "We encourage our community to join us as we challenge our priorities, inspire out-of-the-box solutions, and guide our community's path toward a sustainable and resilient future."

UBCO's third debate takes place Wednesday, May 15 at the Kelowna Community Theatre, 1375 Water St., beginning at 7 pm. This is a ticketed event with reserved seating. Each ticket costs $8, additional fees apply.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit: ok.ubc.ca/ubc-okanagan-debates.

The post Is climate change a time for ingenuity or urgent action? appeared first on UBC Okanagan News.

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