News Uncategorized


Hello, Halt the Hik-ers. My name is Olivia Labelle and I am a Member of the Climate Action Coalition at the University of Alberta. The Climate Action Coalition supports wholeheartedly the opposition to tuition hikes because well-educated citizens and the research that universities and colleges provide are critical to responding effectively to the climate crisis and all of the related problems we face.

The Climate Action Coalition was formed in February 2020 to bring together students, faculty, and staff who want their university to truly lead in responding to the climate emergency.

  • We advocate for greater investment in interdisciplinary research and curriculum related to the climate crisis.
  • We demand that our university divest from fossil fuels.
  •  We support the call to the Students’ Union to stop banking with Canada’s biggest financier of fossil fuel extraction: the Royal Bank of Canada.
  • We want to see university research collaborations with all sectors of Alberta’s society, implementing climate solutions.
  • We want administrators to filter all decisions about operations and facilities and land use through the filter of ecological sustainability.
  • We want the university’s decisions in every sphere to be consistent with decolonization.
  • We want this university to mobilize all of its resources to help fight for our future.

We are in the midst of a historically unprecedented global upheaval of every aspect of human existence. We are shifting from globalized fossil capitalism to what is still a contested future–one we hope will be net zero carbon and will prevent a global temperature rise beyond the 2C that is already locked in. If not, our lives will be filled with pandemics, extreme weather, mass migration, political unrest… The list goes on.

We deserve the chance to avoid this future, don’t we? DON’T WE?

Tuition hikes deny us the opportunities we deserve to fight the crisis that our generation has inherited. We are being denied the opportunity to participate in building the Alberta of the future to our full potential.

Tuition hikes deny us the opportunities we deserve to fight the crisis that our generation has inherited. We are being denied the opportunity to participate in building the Alberta of the future to our full potential.

Our universities and colleges have all the resources needed to help Albertans make this leap, working with Indigenous knowledge holders and citizens.

  • The biggest obstacles to effective action to stop global warming are not technological but political. How can we make our governments accountable to citizens and future generations? Education and research in the arts and sciences play essential roles in forming educated citizens who understand what is at stake and what needs to be done. Citizens who can distinguish between credible sources of knowledge and misinformation. Citizens who can critically assess policy responses to the crisis. And citizens who can push for the needed reforms of our democratic institutions–from our electoral system to the regulation of media.
  • Science, Business, Arts, Law, Agriculture, Environmental Science, and Engineering students will help to phase out our economic dependence on the extraction and export of fossil fuels and make a rapid transition to a post-carbon economy that provides sustainable livelihoods and income security
  • Agriculture, Engineering, Arts, Business, Kinesiology and Environmental Science, students will aid in designing and (re)building urban environments to rely on public transit, be bike and pedestrian-friendly, make buildings more energy efficient, build affordable, zero-carbon housing, create urban forests, and so much more . . .
  • Agriculture and Environmental Science and Science students will aid in growing food production using ecological methods and in ways that protect and restore biodiversity
  • Education, Arts, Medicine, Kinesiology, Nursing and Law students will aid in improving access to human services like health care, child care, elder care, social welfare, and education while improving the quality and working conditions of these services
  • Indigenous studies, Law and Arts students will aid indigenous groups in transferring land back to First Nations so that they can develop viable, self-governed economies that provide for their people’s needs, decolonizing our laws, institutions, and culture
  • Arts and Law students will aid in addressing the root causes of crime, violence, homelessness, and addictions
  • Graduate students will aid in engaging citizens in planning; researching policy options, e.g., for better public health care
  • Science, Agriculture and Environmental Science students will aid in developing the scientific knowledge needed for environmental monitoring in many areas.

Our government and post-secondary executives must Halt the Hikes and reverse them, so that young Albertans will have the resources we need to make this leap to an ecologically sustainable future.


Open Letter from McGill University groups: Respect Wet’suwet’en Sovereignty and Divest from CGL Pipeline

A solidarity declaration with the Wet’suwet’en and call for McGill’s divestment from the CGL Pipeline, February 8, 2021


CAUA media release March 10, 2021

University Leaders Challenged to Commit to Climate Goals

3,500 Faculty, Staff, and Students Petition Canadian Universities to Sign Global Climate Letter

EDMONTON, MARCH 10, 2021 – Frustrated by the gulf between expert research on climate change and milquetoast institutional responses to the crisis, Canadian university faculty, staff, and students have raised their voices. Over 3,500 individuals from 74 post-secondary institutions have added their names to a petition calling on Canadian University leaders to sign the Global Universities and Colleges Climate Letter, a document sponsored by the United Nations Environment Program and organizations supporting sustainability in higher education.

Signatories of the petition include members of academic staff, non-academic staff, undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research associates, alumni, and emeriti professors.

To date, 606 post-secondary institutions around the world have signed the Global Climate Letter, which declares a “Climate Emergency in recognition of the need for a drastic societal shift to combat the growing threat of climate change.” Institutional signatories to this letter also commit to fulfilling three goals, all of which are consistent with the mandate of institutions of higher learning to contribute to the public good:

1. Mobilize more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation;
2. Commit to going carbon neutral by 2030 or 2050 at the very latest;
3. Increase the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curriculum, campus, and community outreach programmes.

The petition, circulated by the Climate Action Coalition at the University of Alberta (CAUA) and supported by the Canadian Association of University Teachers, has garnered over 3500 signatures to date, including over 1800 continuing faculty members. 

The thousands of Canadian university faculty, staff and students supporting this petition are sending a clear message to university and college leaders: if our institutions of higher learning are not willing to squarely address the most pressing challenge of our century, they risk losing their legitimacy as leaders of institutions mandated to serve knowledge and the public good. The time to commit to a sustainable future is now.

Comments from CAUA members, who note that the University of Alberta is the only university among Canada’s “top five” that has not yet signed the Global Climate Letter:

Professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta, Dr. Laurie Adkin, underlined the message of the petition: “Universities have important roles to play in helping our societies and governments grapple with the complexity of the climate crisis, and in developing ecologically sustainable ways of living well. University staff, academics, and students want to work with our communities to achieve climate justice--at home and globally--and we need our institutions to prioritize these tasks.” 

A non-academic staff member and member of the CAUA who wishes to remain anonymous, views the letter as a bare minimum: “Frankly, signing onto the Global Universities and Colleges Climate Letter is the absolute least our institutions should be doing. If we fail to make even the most basic of commitments to our collective future, what message are we sending to the students we teach, and to the communities we serve? If our institutional leaders cannot sign, we must ask ourselves: what – or who – is stopping them?”

University of Alberta Professor Emeritus, Dr. David Cooper, says: “As a retired, but long-time Business professor, and a former member of the Board of Governors, I strongly support a serious move to ethical investment for the university's investments and to our pension plans. This is not only a matter of being fiscally responsible (though it is that) but it is also a commitment to moral leadership in the face of climate chaos and the substantial threat to our planet.”  

Graduate student Rohan Nuttall (Computing Science) says: "Failing to take meaningful action on climate change (e.g., divestment, signing the Global Climate Letter) is not only uninspiring to students, but it is economically foolish. Our administrators should understand the sunk cost fallacy . . .  If the U of A wants to create "changemakers" and "future leaders", it should lead by example."

As of March 10, 2021, 59 per cent of the signatories come from academic staff, 31 per cent from students, and 10 per cent from the other categories. 

The largest single group of signatories is from the University of Alberta, which accounts for almost 20 per cent of the signatories. 

CAUA is sending the petition to the leaders of the universities that are CAUT and Universities Canada members, as well as to Universities Canada. 

The petition will remain open to new signatories until all of Canada’s universities have signed on to the Global Climate letter.

The full list of signatories to the petition, as of March 10, 2021, as well as numbers by institution and occupational category, may be found here.

Laurie E. Adkin, Ph.D. 
Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta
Convenor, Climate Action at the University of Alberta (CAUA)

David J. Cooper, Ph.D.,
Professor Emeritus, School of Business, University of Alberta

Debra J. Davidson, Ph.D.,
Professor, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
University of Alberta

Call to Canadian universities to divest from fossil fuels

Divest Canada campaign endorsed by CAUA


campaign updates

UBCc350 releases recommendations for divestment from fossil fuels, August 5, 2020