Fighting climate change: Moving from ideas to actions

People and Places | Strategy 3: Thriving Communities
Theme: Innovation
Photo credit: Anna Jiménez Calaf on Unsplash

In the decade that Dr. Janis Sarra has spent at the intersection of business law and climate change impacts, there is  reason to be optimistic – at least in Canada. “There was a lot of misinformation about the impacts of climate change,” reflects Dr. Sarra, who was the Presidential Distinguished Professor at the University of British Columbia (2014 to 2020) and is currently a Professor of Law at the Peter A. Allard School of Law.

“I think that situation has changed and now there’s momentum to move Canada to a sustainable economy. In Canada, we have appellate court decisions that have said, ‘Climate change is an existential threat to humanity’.”

As Principal Co-Investigator with the Canada Climate Law Initiative and the Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative, Dr. Sarra has immense knowledge on the subject, which she shares in her new book, From Ideas to Action: Governance Paths to Net Zero.

At a recent panel discussion co-hosted by UBC Sauder’s Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Ethical Business, the UBC Allard Centre for Business Law, and the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies, Dr. Sarra discussed her book and climate action efforts in Canada. While progress is being made, she said individuals, communities and corporations struggle to move beyond the idea stage on their climate goals. “They feel paralysed,” she says. “Because the idea of climate change is so huge, they think: how is my one effort going to change things?”

Dr. Sarra’s book encourages readers to take the first step towards achieving a net-zero circular economy where carbon emissions are either reduced or offset by an equivalent carbon-capture activity, such as reforestation.

Visit the Sauder School of Business website to watch the Jan. 19 panel discussion, and to read more about Dr. Sarra’s work on climate change.

Through Strategy 3: Thriving Communities, UBC is committed to supporting the ongoing development of sustainable, healthy and connected campuses and communities.