Steve Easterbrook, signatory and professor in U of T’s department of computer science, said many faculty members have worked for years on research related to environment, climate, sustainability and social justice. There’s a strong sense of frustration that their expertise has been consistently ignored in the political arena, he said, noting the youth-led protests have sparked a new sense of urgency on the matter.
“The global strikes feel like a tipping point, where at last society is talking openly about the need for radical changes in response to climate change as an emergency,” said Easterbrook, who is also the director of U of T’s School of the Environment.
Scott Prudham, a U of T professor in the department of geography and planning, said it will be a disappointment if the university administration does not cancel classes this Friday — something he said they do “at the drop of a hat” during winter blizzards.
“They will have failed to show leadership and they will have missed an opportunity to make a signature contribution in the fight against dangerous climate change,” he said, noting the people who signed the letter want to be out there in the protest supporting the youth.