This past year, the Sustainability Council expanded our internship offering, supporting the outcomes of the Alberta Climate Change Office’s Adaptation Resilience Training, a cost-shared initiative under Natural Resources Canada’s Building Regional Adaptation Capacity and Expertise (BRACE) program.
The Adaptation Resilience Training is a three-year project focused on deepening understanding of adaptation and its applicability across sectors and professions in Alberta. The aim is to build accountability within organizations including municipalities, utilities, agricultural supports, water resource managers, and community organizations.
The Sustainability Council has helped develop a program that will support these aims while also encouraging recent post-secondary graduates to tackle climate adaptation in their careers. The paid internship we developed matches recent graduates with subject matter experts and professional mentors. This has the benefit of providing recent graduates in Alberta with career development while also building adaptation capacity in organizations across the province.
Using the Sustainability Scholar program structure as a template, the first Adaptation Resilience Training cohort was recruited in August 2020. 21 interns worked full-time for six or eight month terms with 14 organizations across Alberta (including QUEST Canada, Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, EPCOR and WaterSMART). Interns devoted most of their time to climate adaptation projects within their host organization and they also contributed to the creation of a specialized adaptation curriculum. Through this curriculum, the interns’ best practices around climate adaptation will be taught to professionals who can apply the concepts in their day-to-day work.
that included a showcase of their work (using the 3-Minute Thesis format), a session focused on the Beaver Hills Biosphere, and a career panel with professionals in the climate field.
A second cohort will be hired for 2021–22. Before the end of June, we recruited 25 host organizations who will create 32 paid internship positions. This second cohort increases participation in Northern and Indigenous communities in Alberta.
It is estimated that between ⅙ and ⅓ of the university’s greenhouse gas emissions are associated with air travel, notably for travel to academic conferences. For several years, the Sustainability Council has worked with the Kule Institute for Advanced Study to encourage the adoption of some online video conferencing to reduce the university’s academic carbon footprint and to increase inclusion in conferencing.
With the pandemic requiring all events to move online, the Sustainability Council was well served by this partnership. Drawing on our e-conferencing toolkit, Moving Ideas without Moving People, in April 2020 we immediately circulated a tip sheet to help faculty prepare for giving online conference presentations. Over the summer, we developed an internal process for delivering our own lecture series online. This process has been shared publicly with the university community and presented at several networking meetings.
In the spring, we collaborated again for the book launch of