The symposium, put on by the School of the Environment, is possible due to a generous donation from the children of Beatrice and Arthur Minden, who were known for their extensive philanthropic work. This year’s symposium, delivered in-person and online, is based on the idea that fighting the climate crisis will require many different approaches and all different kinds of knowledge.
“What is needed is a fundamental shift in our thinking based on cultural and traditional modes of knowledge as well as the natural sciences,” says Stefan Soldovieri, a professor in the Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures and the director of Critical Zones, an initiative dedicated to promoting the environmental humanities at U of T and a key partner for this year’s symposium.
“To put it another way, the humanistic and social sciences and traditional forms of understanding are not external to STEM but rather integral to it.”
Participants will have the chance to sit in on panel discussions and go on guided field trips into Toronto’s multi-layered, historical landscape. Topics of discussion are varied and include everything from sustainable synagogues to creek restoration to plastic pollution in Lake Ontario.
“Our hope is that this symposium, which encompasses civic groups and environmental NGOs as well as students and academics, will help raise awareness of the need for integrative perspectives on the threat to our life on the planet,” Soldovieri says.
The symposium will run on May 5 - 6 and is open to everyone. U of T students can get their fee waived and attend the symposium free of charge. Registration for the event is now open.