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Climate Change

Civic Engagement at UBC

One of the key recommendations of the UBC Climate Emergency Task Force Report (2021) is to

"Foster a Culture of Engagement & Advocacy on Climate Action

Encourage civic engagement: Create a culture of advocacy and civic engagement at UBC that encourages and empowers climate justice action by students, staff and faculty through student engagement in elections, a robust culture of climate advocacy among UBC community members, and empowering students to be engaged global citizens and activists"

What is Civic Engagement?

Civic engagement can pursue a broad range of objectives, such as: influencing policies, holding public authorities accountable, transforming attitudes and cultural norms; and complementing the state delivery of services, among others. -United Nations Development Programme

This definition from the UNDP emphasized the broad range of goals that civic engagement can pursue. It can contest or collaborate government officials or specific policies, or can be aimed toward the community in general. Because civic engagement is so broad, there are also  varying degrees of engagement. Some are quite simple activities you may already engage in, while others require significant skill and time investment. This infographic from Seminole State College places examples of civic engagement on a scale from passive and individual to active and collective, and can help you identify where your current engagement falls and what next steps are available to you.Civic Engagement Continuum image showing spectrum from individual to collective and passive to active engagement.

Source:Seminole State College

Research on Civic Engagement and Climate



Blue, G., & Medlock, J. (2014). Public engagement with climate change as scientific citizenship: A case study of world wide views on global warming. Science as Culture, 23(4), 560-579. 10.1080/09505431.2014.917620

Brulle, R. J. (2010). From environmental campaigns to advancing the public dialog: Environmental communication for civic engagement. Environmental Communication, 4(1), 82-98. 10.1080/17524030903522397

Wibeck, V. (2014). Enhancing learning, communication and public engagement about climate change: Some lessons from recent literature. Environmental Education Research, 20(3), 387-411. 10.1080/13504622.2013.812720


Local Gov Resources

City of Vancouver Website:

  • Citizen Involvement: The city of Vancouver provides a variety of ways to get involved. Options found here range from surveys and public consultations to volunteer opportunities, openings on boards and commissions, and speaking at a council meeting.
  • Open Data Portal: Many cities, including Vancouver, provide data to the public to increase transparency and encourage creative problem solving. There are a number of climate related datasets, and the Vancouver Dashboard (found under dashboards on the top toolbar) shows the climate change goals the city has committed to and the progress that has been made.
  • Green Vancouver: Read reports and learn about initiatives related to the climate emergency

Vancouver City Council:

  • Meeting Agendas and Minutes: Read the items to be discussed at upcoming meeting and see related reports, or check out what was discussed at previous meetings and how councillors voted. Watch the full recording for more information about why decisions were reached- you can't assume why someone voted for or against a motion in all cases!
  • Comment on an agenda item: Use this form to contact city council about issues on upcoming agendas. This is an easy way to make your voice heard.
  • Speak at a meeting: This page contains information on how to sign up to speak at a council meeting and what to expect. Speaking at a meeting is more visible than commenting and is a great way to draw attention to issues you care about. 


Union of BC Municipalities:

The union of BC municipalities has members from municipalities across BC. The UBCM fosters communication between municipalities, helps coordinate action on issues of common concern, and advocates to provincial and federal government on issues affecting municipalities in BC, among other things. Use the directory to find contact information for municipalities and their elected officials. Take at look at UBCM's Environment Policy page for policy recommendations related to environmental policy.


Organizing & Lobbying Toolkits