On Monday, November 18, 2019, law students and faculty at 12 law schools across Canada joined together to engage in a day of learning and research on law and policy related to municipalities and climate change responses. The research-a-thon was organized by Osgoode’s Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic and Windsor Law’s Cities and Climate Action Forum. The teams were linked virtually throughout the day. Each team had a discrete set of questions to complete. The results will be edited and compiled, and made available online for use by municipalities and community partners across the country. The event was timed to coincide with the Global Law Clinics Day of Action on Climate Change.
Research considered the legal and policy tools available to municipalities in order to contribute to climate change mitigation including in the areas of transportation, active transit, buildings, land use planning, energy provision, the protection of natural resources and financing.
All teams participated between noon and 5 pm ET at a minimum, with many teams working longer days. At 12:30 pm ET, Dr. Dianne Saxe, former Environment Commissioner for Ontario, gave an address on Municipalities and Climate Change at Osgoode. The lecture was broadcast to all participating teams, who tweeted questions to Saxe using the hashtag #ClimateChangesEverything. Osgoode’s team was active from 9 am to 5 pm at the Law School.
Osgoode Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic
The Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic is a public interest legal clinic and experiential education initiative housed at Osgoode Hall Law School. The clinic works to advance environmental justice and sustainability in Canada by carrying out a variety of legal work on a pro bono basis for a variety of clients (individuals, communities, NGOs, municipalities, First Nations, social enterprises, etc.), often in cooperation with external public interest-oriented lawyers and legal service organizations.
Cities and Climate Action Forum
The Cities & Climate Action Forum is an interactive platform that seeks to empower youth, other community builders, and municipal governments to work for institutional climate mitigation action at the local level. Upwards of 60 per cent of Greenhouse Gas (GhG) emissions are committed and/or regulated by municipalities. Cities must therefore be part of the solution to the climate crisis. Hosted by Windsor Law with law students at the core of its work, the Forum receives generous financial support from the Government of Canada, the University of Windsor, SoCA and the Odette School of Business. The Forum supports both the passing of municipal climate emergency declarations and their meaningful implementation. It is building capacity in local communities among those working to implement change. It is carving out new spaces for training, public engagement and support for municipalities via conferences, research, webinars, social media, and open access resources.