The Carleton Climate Commons invites you to participate in a new initiative: Teach-In’s for climate action called “Noons for Now.” As the name suggests, we’re taking our lead from the model of the school strike introduced by Greta Thunberg. Starting in September 2018, Thunberg sat on the steps of Swedish parliament each Friday at noon to strike for climate action. Sometimes she was alone. Sometimes one or two classmates were with her. But slowly this small action created a movement. We take heart from this action and the possibility we all have to effect change in response to the climate crisis. The Teach-In action we’ve chosen speaks to our role as faculty and students at a university. Each week we will bring together one to three speakers, in addition to a moderator, to discuss some facet of the climate crisis. Sometimes it might be just this small group. Sometimes more people might attend. Whatever the case, we invite you to join us anytime, to participate in the conversation or only to listen, to come for part of the hour or the entire thing, to come with friends or on your own. At first this event will likely be somewhat improvisational but we always welcome suggestions, feedback, and participation. The goal is to hold space for climate conversation, ideas, and action on a weekly basis until our country—and, we hope, others too—meets the climate crisis with policy and action commensurate to its urgency.

“In order to set our institutions firmly on the path of future knowledges, we need to reinvent a classroom without walls in which we are all co-learners; a university that is capable of convening various publics in new forms of assemblies that becomes points of convergence of and platforms for the redistribution of different forms of knowledges.” – Achille Mbembe

Up Next:

If we are in a planetary crisis (as all scientific evidence suggests), why do we not witness academia and academics acting as if it is a crisis? How do we explain and understand how and why we, as academics and academic institutions, continue with a more or less ‘business as usual’ approach? What would academic work across teaching, research, outreach and engagement look like if our profession was to rise to the challenge and opportunity of addressing the planetary and related socio-economic and socio-ecological crises we face? Is badging our research with one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and a university corporate ‘sustainability plan’ the best we can do?

This paper is a personal reflection on how academia should transform itself, indeed remake and reimagine itself in the context of the Anthropocene/Capitalocene, and the intersections of the climate and biodiversity crisis with growing inequality and injustice within and between societies. What is our responsibility as trusted sources of knowledge production and dissemination?  Should we become more activist oriented and more engaged in informing the public about the causes, consequences and solutions to our worsening predicament as groups like Extinction Rebellion and Faculty for Future suggest? How do we transform academia starting from the difficult assessment that as currently constituted universities play a key role in the reproduction of unsustainability? This they do, for example, through maintaining (or in some cases actively promoting) research, development and employment links with extractive and polluting industries and by uncritically teaching unsustainable perspectives and practices, including the ‘common-sense’ positive neoclassical economics perspective on the (ecocidal) pursuit of indefinite economic growth. Yet, as highly resourced and influential institutions, universities have an inherently transformative potential, should those resources be redirected and redistributed to progressive social and ecological ends that challenge, rather than support, our unsustainable political and economic status quo. As workers within these institutions, academics and researchers are therefore faced with a choice: to be agents of this reproduction or to be advocates and activists for radical transformation and change.


John Barry is a Professor of Green Political Economy at Queen’s University Belfast.

Coming Soon (click to register):

Dec. 8: ‘The role and responsibility of academia in the context of the planetary crisis – or what is to be done?’ with John Barry

Past Events:

Click on each of our past event pages for resource lists, blogs, and more.

March 3: Climate Grief with Jennifer Baker (Sierra Club Canada) and Anne Raine (Ottawa U)

March 10: Climate Storytelling with Nadia Bozak (Carleton U) and Catherine Bush (U of Guelph)

March 17: Climate Communication with Chris Russill (Carleton U)

March 24: The Ecological Crisis and the Great Acceleration with Jesse Vermaire (Carleton U)

March 31: Open Discussion

April 7: Repair and Climate Change with Laura Hall (Carleton U) and Alexis Shotwell (Carleton U)

April 14: Climate Change and Experiential Learning with Stefania Maggi (Carleton U) and Amin Sheickh-Ali (Carleton U)

April 21: Student Climate Activism with Steph Vienneau (Carleton U) and Alex Zelenski (Carleton U)

April 28: Open Discussion

May 5: Local Action and the Experimental Farm with Susan Ross (Carleton U), Diane McIntyre (Re-Imagine Ottawa) and Joel Harden

May 12: Climate Twitter with Genevieve Guenther (End Climate Silence) and Gal Beckerman (The Quiet Before, The Atlantic)

May 19: Do I Know Enough to Teach About Climate Change? with Emilie Cameron (Carleton U)

June 2: The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report with Sarah Burch (U Waterloo) and James Meadowcroft (Carleton U)

June 9: Kitchen Table Climate Conversations with Colleen Lynch (ClimateFast)

June 16: Open Discussion

June 23: Carleton Climate Response Committee

June 30: Regime of Obstruction: The Economic, Political, and Cultural Power of Fossil Capital in Canada with William Carrol (U Victoria)

Sept. 29: Land Acknowledgements and Decolonial Climate Justice with Rita Wong (Emily Carr University of Art + Design)

Oct. 6: Community-Engaged Climate Scholarship with Meera Karunananthan (Carleton U)

Oct. 13: Noons for Now: Climate Policy, Urban Infrastructure, and the Municipal Election (In-Person)

Oct. 20: Noons for Now: Decolonization and Climate Action with Decolonial Solidarity Ottawa-Gatineau

Nov. 3: Scientist Rebellion with Rose Abramoff

Nov. 10: Citation Politics with Christina Crespo (CLEAR Lab, Memorial University)

Nov. 17: History Rebellion with Amy Woodson-Boulton (Loyola Marymount University) and Josh Goldstein (University of Southern California)

Dec. 1: United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) with Elisabeth Gilmore (Carleton U)

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Noons for Now Suggestions

Click here to find out about more of our upcoming events.