Written by Brigid Wren
Visuals by Kayla McIntosh
Layout by Krista Shepard
On November 12th the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) wrapped up in Glasgow Scotland. Canada signed onto many pledges during the conference but will Ryerson University be taking it upon themselves to look at the proposed goals.
The goal of COP26 is for countries to recommit to emissions reduction, and other issues, sustainable finance, carbon markets, deforestation, amongst other things as well. All these aim to keep global warming under 1.5 C and contribute to a net transition in a way that’s just and equitable.
COP26 was also an opportunity for governments to hear from, academics, civil society and NGOs to inform these discussions.
But does what happen at large climate conferences like COP26 affect University campuses?
Stephanie MacPhee is the manager, sustainability for Ryerson Universities Sustainability Office.
During an interview MacPhee was asked if the goals proposed during COP26 plays a role in the Sustainability Office’s plans to how to make the campus more environmentally friendly.
MacPhee responded by saying, “Yes, we certainly feel that it is important to understand the commitments Canada has made at COP26 and how we can align what we do to support these commitments through our on campus initiatives, projects and programs.”
During COP26 it was announced that countries governments, cities and major car manufacturer signed onto a pledge stating “that all new cars and van sales are zero emission vehicles by 2035 in ‘leading markets’ and 2040 globally,” said a BBC news article.
The public response to this announcement was not to kinds, expressing that countries should be putting money into bikes and public transit and not electric cars.
So what is the Ryerson campus doing to make it easily accessible for students to get to via public transit and bikes?
“Being located in the downtown core with easy access to the TTC further contributes to enabling members of the Ryerson community to commute sustainably to campus,” MacPhee said.
She then expressed how the campus is bike friendly, “we have more than 1,100 bicycle parking spots on campus. There are 98 reserved secure bicycle parking spaces in the Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex (DCC) available for students, faculty and staff. We also have a bike repair station on campus.”
MacPhee ended her interview by saying, “You’ll be happy to hear that Ryerson actually ranked number one for sustainable transportation in the recently released 2021 Sustainable Campus Index.”
So what is the next step in sustainability for the Ryerson Campus. “I think more secure bike parking would be very helpful to make students, staff and faculty feel more comfortable bringing their bikes to campus,” MacPhee said.