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Meet some of UM’s climate changemakers

Taking on the climate crisis with ambition, resolve and hope

April 19, 2023 — 

Climate change may keep some of us up at night, but it also motivates others to get out of bed in the morning. The kinds of people who want to make a difference, whose passion drives them to push back against what seems dire.

Meet four members of our community who are taking on climate change with ambition, resolve and hope. These changemakers are only a few of many in our community who are conducting research, building collaborations, and taking action in the face of a climate crisis.

Meet Joe Ackerman [MSc/07, PhD/13]

Joe is currently studying ways to reduce and manage the amount of plastic our society uses.

“We’re working on stuff that’s actually going to make a bigger difference. By going after the things that we can affect, we can turn the corner on climate change,” says the research associate at UM’s Sustainability-in-Action Facility in the Price Faculty of Engineering.

Watch his video above, or click here to view.

Meet Fiona Lebar [BEnvSc(Hons)/22]

Fiona acknowledges that climate change can’t be solved in one day but can be addressed with small actions. She advocates for sustainability and how “making small changes as a student can have a huge impact.”

For example, Fiona – who is a student-staff member of the Office of Sustainability – points to waste as one area where everyone can make a difference. “Where you put your waste really does impact your carbon footprint,” says the graduate student in the department of environment and geography at the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources.

Meet Claire Herbert [BSc(Maj)/97]

Claire is looking at the effects of climate change on water. Her work is not just academic, she aims to make the science actionable. For example, creating nature-based solutions like using local plants to filter toxins from water.

“The work we’re doing here helps us mobilize science to action to create real tools to address the climate crisis,” says the data and program coordinator of the Manitoba Great Lakes program at CEOS. Claire is also co-chair of the United Nations Academic Impact Hub for Sustainable Development Goal 6.


Meet Barry Prentice [PhD/86]

Barry is looking at airships as a disruptive technology that can “change so many things in our world.”

“We have a serious problem with climate change and we have to do something pretty dramatic. And we just can’t use old technology we’ve been using, we have to look at new forms of technology,” says the professor of supply chain management at the Asper School of Business.


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