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March 2012 



Upcoming Events:

Water Film Festival 


View the brochure of Student Opportunities for more initiatives. 

March 15 - Environmental Cooperation and Isreal-Palestinian Peace

March 19 - Focus on Sustainability Film Festival: WATER


Mar 28 - Earth Hour


Mar 19 - New Research from York University's Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI)

Mar 21 - Green Growth: Entrepreneurship & Ethanol, plus premiere screening of the film Freedom

Mar 28 - Professor Natalie Gravel: Environmental Governance in Northeast Brazil

Mar 31 - New Growth: Dialogues on the Tree (AHGSA Annual Graduate Student Symposium) 

To Mar 9 - 18th Annual Eco Art & Media Festival

Read the latest W3  

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Campus Sustainability Survey on Accessibility

Help develop a plan for improvements to the physical environment to reduce barriers and increase accessibility at York University. Fill out the Institute for Research & Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) campus sustainability survey on accessibility and the built environment - Building the York University Community. All York students, staff and faculty are invited to participate. The survey is open until March 14 (that's today). Fill it out for a chance to win a $75 gift certificate from the York University Bookstore. To complete the survey online, click here.  


 Because of the age of buildings and the size of the University, the work to reduce barriers and increase accessibility is expected to take place over several years. By completing the anonymous survey, you can help to identify needs and priorities. The information collected from this survey will help shape plans and priorities for improvements to the physical environment at York. A final report for the University will also be prepared by IRIS. Whether you consider yourself as someone who experiences disabilities or not, it is important for us to hear from everyone. The results of this survey will remain anonymous.

Environmental Cooperation and Israel-Palestinian Peace

Is peace-building through environmental cooperation possible in the Middle East? Panellists will discuss this next week at an Institute for Research & Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) Speakers' Series event. The Environmental Cooperation and Israel-Palestinian Peace event will take place March 15 at 1pm at 280A York Lanes, Keele campus.  


Environmental cooperation has been much-lauded as a force of peace in the Middle East and has been leveraged in support of Track I peacemaking processes between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. It has been pursued as a practice of peace-building, valued for its ability to foster partnership-building, cooperation, identity change and sustainability. Still, the Israel-Palestinian conflict persists, even manifesting through cooperative environmental relations. Panellists Eric Abitbol (above), an international development, peace-building and dialogue researcher-practitioner, and Stuart Schoenfeld, chair of the Department of Sociology at York's Glendon College, will present and discuss the issue. Drawing on their direct experience of working with practitioners, governments and stakeholders in the Middle East, they will critically examine assumptions and practices of environmental cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians. Abitbol and Schoenfeld co-chaired the AVOW initiative (Adaptive Visions of Water in the Middle East), hosted at IRIS from 2007-2009. Read more. 

Focus on Sustainability Film Festival

Make time on Monday March 19th, for a day of popcorn and provocative discussions which is happening during Canada's Water Week. Join us for the first annual Focus on Sustainability Film Festival featuring documentaries on crucial water issues. This full-day event includes film-screenings, panel discussions with film makers, activists and academics, as well as snacks and great prizes. View the schedule here.

All day access is $2 and the event will take place in the Senate Chambers (NR940 North Ross Building).

The trailers for the feature films can be viewed on the following links:
The film festival is brought to you by Planet in Focus, the Osgoode Environmental Law Society (ELS), the Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS), and The Climate Consortium for Research Action Integration (CC-RAI), with support from the Centre for Human Rights.

Transcending Interdisciplinary Research Boundaries  

On Thursday, March 8, 2012, IRIS hosted it's first annual research showcase. This year's theme was Transcending Interdisciplinary Research Boundaries. 
Wicked problems, such as climate change and poverty, are highly complex, defying traditional problem-solving approaches. This session featured speakers from a range of academic disciplines who sought to move out of their comfort zones: their labs, field sites, and libraries. The collective experiences of highly diverse, interdisciplinary academic teams that have tackled wicked problems, identifying best practices for interdisciplinary team science, and how global communication technologies have been used in mobilizing science into sound policy solutions will be explored. 

We thank everyone for joining us last Thursday at 1002 Osgoode Hall Law School. Read more about the event here


Annual Earth Hour Event @ York

IRIS is hosting its third annual Earth Hour event in collaboration with environmental and human rights groups from both Glendon and Keele Campuses. Feel free to drop by Founder's Assembly Hall anytime on Wednesday March 28th 2012 for a full day of presentations, workshops and activities. 


This full-day event includes presentations from students, professors, the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, Earth Rangers, and the Sustainable Urban Development Association, as well as other workshops and activities.


Admission is free and lunch and dinner will be provided. Into the evening, there will be live music performances and a talent show. Please visit our website for more information. Visit event page.  


Club Fair We are still accepting applications from clubs to table at Earth Hour. Sign up here

More About IRIS and this Newsletter


The Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability is a university-wide research centre that pursues an interdisciplinary approach to the challenges of sustainability. Through our collaborations on sustainability related research projects and innovative initiatives, we hope to generate awareness amongst the York University community of our social, natural and economic spheres, while engaging students, staff and faculty in action that creates change on campus and beyond.


The IRIS Newsletter is a way to keep you informed about what we are up to so that you can drop by an event, get involved, or just learn about what research projects we are currently undertaking. The Newsletter is sent out once or twice per month, highlighting the IRIS, York University, and broader community's sustainability news and events!

Phone: +1.416.736.2100 ext. 33631


Institute for Research & Innovation in Sustainability

York University
349 York Lanes 4700 Keele St.
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3