Emergence Webinar: Environment

Research to Impact


The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred an inflection point in thinking about environmental issues. The dramatic slow-down in industrial and economic activity has offered a momentary snapshot of how radical changes in energy consumption can affect impacts on water, air and land. Social distancing has disrupted the way we engage with our urban environments and with one another. The pandemic may also offer lessons in collective action, which could influence the next steps in the global fight against climate change. These realizations are prompting discussions on what the future economy might look like, particularly amidst massive government spending and a bottoming out of prices for mainstays such as fossil fuels. Increasingly, analysts and policymakers believe what emerges will be very different and there are unprecedented opportunities to reset global priorities regarding the environment. Taking into consideration social and economic inequalities, how has the pandemic affected different groups of people in terms of their relationship with the environment and what are the implications for environmental justice? What has the COVID-19 pandemic taught us about food security and sustainability? And what lessons does the pandemic have for the fight against climate change?

This first webinar of the Emergence series, which will focus on the environmental implications of the pandemic, will welcome panelists Pierre Cloutier de Repentigny and Stephanie Roy, with closing remarks from Laure Waridel  for the French portion, and Catriona A H Sandilands and Neil Yeates as panelists, with closing remarks from Phoebe Stephens for the English portion. While the series will be open to members of the general public as non-participatory attendees, the debrief session immediately following the discussion will be privately led by Scholars.


Thursday, June 4, 2020

French: 10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Break:   11:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

English: 11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


Emergence Host and Panelists  - Environment
Left: Stéphanie Roy, Pierre Cloutier de Repentigny, and Laure Waridel
Center: Robert Steiner
Right: Catriona Sandilands, Neil Yeates, and Phoebe Stephens


Robert Steiner

Mentor 2019 and Host 


Robert Steiner is Director of the Dalla Lana Fellowship in Global Journalism at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto.

His career in journalism included writing as a global finance correspondent for The Wall Street Journal with postings in New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo. He has won two Overseas Press Club awards, the Inter-American Press Association Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Robert Steiner received his MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, after which he worked as a business strategy executive. He has also served in a number of strategic positions in Canadian politics.


French session


Pierre Cloutier de Repentigny

2017 Scholar and French panelist  -  Pierre's doctoral research focuses on the role of law as a mediator of relationships between people and the biosphere. He is particularly interested in the paradigms which limit the law's ability to fulfill this role.


Stéphanie Roy

2017 Scholar and French panelist  -  Stephanie is interested in governments’ duty to protect the environment and is volunteering at the Quebec Environmental Law Center, using law as a tool for change toward a more sustainable society.


Laure Waridel

2011 Scholar and French commentator  -  Laure Waridel is an eco-sociologist (PhD) and author of several books, most recently La transition, c’est maintenant. Engaged in the subject since adolescence, she is recognized for her role as co-founder of Équiterre, co-and as co-author of the Pacte pour la transition et co-instigatrice de Mères au front. She is now an associate professor at UQAM, a member of the Institute of Environmental Sciences and an advisor to the law firm TJL. She believes that the current crisis and the economic recovery that will follow are an opportunity to bring about great transformation.


English session


Catriona Sandilands

2016 Fellow and English panelist  -  Sandilands' PETF-supported creative anthology Rising Tides: Reflections for Climate-Changing Times focuses on the importance of "small" stories to the creation of meaningful responses to the massively-scaled climate emergency. How will our COVID stories affect our ongoing responses to environmental issues?


Neil Yeates

2018 Mentor and English panelist  -  I am thinking about the environment from three different perspectives: the first is about living with COVID as the “new normal”, the second is working with Health Canada on strategies for testing and contact tracing, and the third as a Board member with The Great Trail, a coast to coast to coast network of trails. How do these intersect and how do we now perceive the environment?


Phoebe Stephens

2018 Scholar and English commentator  - The departure for Phoebe's work in social finance and sustainable food systems is that mainstream, industrial food systems are environmentally unsustainable. Throughout the pandemic, Phoebe has been plugged into research networks focusing on how greater public awareness of the brokenness of the industrial food system is creating an opportunity to transform food systems towards greater environmental sustainability.



Register here!