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Welcome Message from Dean Alice Hovorka

Welcome Message from Dean Alice Hovorka

Greetings from the Faculty of Environmental Studies!

As the new Dean, I am thrilled to be a part of a community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni that is committed to fostering an environmentally sustainable and just world.

Our lives are intricately connected with the environment. We depend on nature for water, food, and shelter to survive, and our health and wellbeing to thrive. We adapt to and modify the environment to attain these basic human needs and shape our desired lifestyles. Every year we demand more from the natural world than it can replenish. The consequences are felt in the earth’s climate, lands, and oceans, and by the animals and plants upon whom we depend. Access to and use of nature, as well as the impacts of environmental degradation, are not equally distributed around the world or in our localities, creating inequalities and injustices of many kinds in our societies.

For fifty years, the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) has explored the relationships between humans and the environment, be it the natural world, our built settlements, or the social dynamics of these landscapes. FES has been working at the frontiers of knowledge, actively connecting environmental theory with action, and seeking sustainable and just solutions to environmental problems.

Join us in celebrating our fifty years of excellence in environmental education, research, and leadership. Better yet, come celebrate and explore with us! Over the next year we will host numerous events that showcase our FES community and the networks within which we collaborate. For example, the FES Speakers Series is held on select Tuesdays 12:30pm to 2:00pm, featuring timely research and lively discussions on topics ranging from urban development trends associated with student housing and condominiums to politicized landscapes of sexuality and race. Key events in October included:

  • Change Your World which brought together over 600 high school students, teachers, and sponsor organizations focused on environmental activism and change and featured a key note address from youth activist Sara Escallon-Sotomayor;
  • ClimaCon brought together ‘climate heroes’ from across Canada to continue their efforts on behalf of the climate movement and featured key note speaker Dr Dianne Saxe, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario; and
  • An armchair discussion with Julie Gelfand, Federal Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development hosted by the JD/Master in Environmental Studies Program

We encourage you to check out our website (fes.yorku.ca/50th) for future events taking place during 2018/2019. Please note that our 50th Anniversary celebration will culminate in a symposium during Spring 2019. This symposium will offer an opportunity for us to reflect upon our past and share thoughts on how FES might evolve in the future. I look forward to meeting many of you at this event (or before)!