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Vancouver October 15 and 16, 2023

complex challenges of climate change, equity, and reconci­liation with indigenous peoples

dialogues

witnessing
distributive & procedural justice

exhibition

Emily Carr Grad students & faculty 

experimental and experiential learning journey

Co-hosted by Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the City of Vancouver | October 15 & 16, 2023

Unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Peoples, also known as Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Implementing Vancouver’s new Climate Justice Charter involves new processes that centre collaboration, sharing power, and nurturing relationships. These draw from the fields of systemic design, social innovation, and equity-centred and decolonising methods. They serve as alternatives to standard policy-making, program delivery, and the public engagement processes typically used in local governments. This symposium documents the co-creating of an experimental and experiential learning journey embarked on as researchers, students, civil servants, and community members working on designing just climate futures.

Making the facets of the dominant systems more visible and nuanced, and identifying specific leverage points to dance/move away from, helps us to see when and how dominant paradigms im/explicitly shape public sector innovation work. And even more importantly, by visualizing paradigmatic moves and leverage points grounded in purpose, values, and visions of social and ecological justice, wellbeing, and liberation we hope to incite and inspire our fellow public sector innovators to really dance up a storm!

Lindsay Cole, Lily Raphael, Maggie Low, Mumbi Maina, and Kyla Pascal. Dancing with Paradigms of Transformative Public Sector Innovation.

Emily Carr University, East 1st Avenue, Vancouver | PHOTO: Peter Skaronis on Unsplash

Vancouver Climate Justice Charter

The vision for climate justice in Vancouver is “A city of interconnected communities collectively advancing climate action, Indigenous sovereignty, intersectionality, equity, and social justice toward a shared future of healing and hope” (City of Vancouver, 2022). The Climate Justice Charter is grounded in five principles:

  1. nə́ c̓aʔmat tə šxʷqʷeləwən ct (we are of one heart and mind)
  2. Indigenous sovereignty
  3. thinking beyond borders
  4. redistribution
  5. fluidity

Guided by the Climate Justice Charter, which community leaders wrote for the City of Vancouver to provide guidance on how to embed justice into climate-related work, the RSD12-Vancouver hub is an opportunity to consider this over the course of a two-day symposium.

Reference: City of Vancouver’s Climate Justice Charter (PDF)

The purpose of the Climate Justice Charter is to act as a ‘north star’ to provide high-level vision, guidance, and accountability to the City of Vancouver and the wider Vancouver community by outlining principles, goals, and other key directions to create the future of climate justice we want.

A Climate Justice Charter for Vancouver, p. 6. [PDF]

designing just climate futures

North Shore Mountains, Vancouver BC, Canada | PHOTO: Nicolas Savignat on Unsplash

PROGRAMME

Using processes that draw from the fields of systemic design, social innovation, and equity-centred and decolonising methods as alternatives to the standard policy-making, program delivery, and public engagement processes typically used in local governments, this symposium documents an experimental and experiential learning journey that we are embarking on as researchers, students, civil servants, and community members working to design just climate futures.

Context

Cities are facing increasing pressures to address complex challenges of climate change, equity, and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples as intersecting issues. Working on these challenges discreetly or solely within the dominant western colonial paradigm and governance practices is no longer enough. Ongoing harms are caused by climate work that does not embed justice, and there are missed opportunities for synergies across these domains as they have the same systemic root causes. Cities must adapt and transform the processes and practices they use to work alongside community partners to work at these problematic roots.

Skilful use of new and resurgent processes that centre collaboration, sharing power, and nurturing relationships with and amongst communities most impacted by a changing climate is needed to meet the calls to action and accountability for equity, justice, and reconciliation outlined in the first ever Climate Justice Charter for the City of Vancouver.

Systemic design theories, principles, and practices have much to offer—and Emily Carr University and Vancouver, more generally, represent a place for a unique and impactful relational systemic design practice to unfold and contribute to climate justice work. RSD12-Vancouver generated greater curiosity, visibility, and affinity with systemic design amongst communities, institutions, and networks in support of collective efforts to experiment with implementing climate justice in and surrounding Vancouver. However, the explorations also contribute to research and practice in equity-centred design and decolonising design and the connections between systemic design and sustainability transitions.

The content was oriented around the ten forms of justice that constellate climate justice.
1. disability 2. distributive 3. gender, sexual, and reproductive 4. health 5. Indigenous sovereignty 6. migrant 7. multi-species 8. procedural 9. restorative 10. racial

climate justice entangle­ments

What new processes might we use to centre collaboration, sharing power, and nurturing relationships to enact climate justice, or adaptation to changing climatic conditions through lenses of social and ecological justice?

RSD12-VANCOUVER Organisers

RSD is a project of the SDA

This hub was contextualised within a broader six-month-long Climate Justice Field School (CJFS). The CJFC is a 25-person collective made up of City of Vancouver staff and community members who together are building longer-term relationships and shared approaches to implementations of Vancouver’s Climate Justice Charter (PDF).

CONTACTS

Lindsay Cole lrcole@gmail.com | Laura Kozak kozak@eciad.ca

Hub Partners

This gathering was financially supported by the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, Mitacs, the City of Vancouver, and the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia.

Emily Carr University of Art and Design
City of Vancouver