Summer’s now officially over, but does anyone regret it? The season that just was counts among the worst on record. It was too hot, too cold, too rainy, and too smoke-filled to stoically breathe through it.
Consider it a preview of yet more extreme weather to come. Global temperatures are expected to surge to record levels over the next five years, according to a recent report by the World Meteorological Organization. Scientists at the United Nations warn that accelerated warming of the planet will cause irreversible damage to parts of the world. Searing heat brings with it drought and rapidly depleting supplies of freshwater. If left unchecked, large swaths of the planet could end up being barren landscapes of rubble and dust.
York University has climate-change experts of its own who are generating important research on global warming and how to mitigate the damages. We profile one in the fall 2023 issue of The York University Magazine. Usman Khan (cover story) is a professor at the Lassonde School of Engineering who studies the effects of climate change on urban waterways. Measuring rainfall, temperature, and other environmental variables, he predicts, manages, and prevents flood hazards such as storm surges, dam failures and riverbank flooding. Given that floods have some of the greatest social and economic impacts worldwide compared to other natural disasters, his work is of vital importance. It compellingly represents York’s commitment to advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and achieve a more equitable future for all.
There are other examples, many of them also showcased here, in the magazine’s fall issue. Inside this issue you will find stories on the greening of finance to advance positive change in business, and on the adoption of sustainable machine-learning technologies by Canada’s mining sector to reduce waste and safeguard the environment. We also have a compelling feature on sustainable affordable housing and how it is shaping developments at York, such as the newly built Markham Campus, scheduled to open next year. That’s a future to embrace. ■