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University News | 09.16.20

President Crossman and Dean O'Hara Address Climate Change as a Social Justice Issue

Adler University President Raymond E. Crossman, Ph.D., and Vancouver Campus Executive Dean Bradley O’Hara, Ph.D., share support for communities in British Columbia and the U.S. Pacific Northwest facing devastating wildfires and poor air quality. In their message to Adler University students, faculty, staff, they also emphasized the importance of addressing climate justice for the health and well-being of all communities.

Over the last several weeks, we have looked on in horror as wildfires have consumed large swaths of California, Oregon, and Washington states. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes, and entire communities have been reduced to ash.

As the students, faculty, and staff of our Vancouver Campus are well aware, the full brunt of the effects of the wildfires are now being felt across British Columbia. This week, air quality in Vancouver has been considered among the worst in the world. For a city already experiencing limited mobility due to the pandemic, this only adds to the strain on the physical and mental well-being of our community. Decades of misguided policy in the United States and Canada, as well as climate change denial, are now manifesting on both sides of the border to terrible consequence.

To our Vancouver community, we want to make clear that the entire Adler community is united in concern for our Vancouver colleagues. Those with the same underlying health conditions for whom COVID-19 is a heightened risk are the same individuals most greatly affected by the deterioration of air quality. Dr. O’Hara and I want to remind Vancouverites of the resources available to you to support your physical and mental well-being during this time of added stress and isolation. Physical and mental health resources for both students and employees can be found on the COVID-19 resources page of the University’s website.

Climate change and climate justice are social justice issues. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic it became clear that while we may all be in the same waters, we are not in the same boat, with those already most disenfranchised by society – BIPOCs, the poor, the elderly – carrying the greatest impact of the pandemic and resulting economic decline. Similarly, as the effects of climate change become more regularly felt globally, these very same groups will be most affected by rising sea levels, severe storms, increased wildfire activity, and more.

During these challenging times, we remain united in our ongoing work to advance a more just society and the health and well-being of all communities.

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