Michael Classens

Michael Classens

School of the Environment


Research Focus: Climate Adaptation

Contact: michael.classens@utoronto.ca

View Bio: https://www.environment.utoronto.ca/people/directories/all-faculty/michael-classens

Research Projects

Prefiguring an Equitable Net-Zero Future by Mitigating Food Waste and Enhancing Food Security

Food waste and food security are intertwined, particularly in the context of climate action. Food waste vastly contributes to Canada's GHG emissions, while climate change exacerbates food insecurity. This research project will address the significant food waste generated by U of T while simultaneously tackling student food insecurity. I'll investigate effective and equitable strategies to minimize food waste at the post-production stage and ensure accessible food security programs on campus. Recognizing that a significant amount of campus food is discarded while students are food insecure, I will explore avenues for redistributing surplus food to address both environmental and social concerns. I'll investigate existing barriers and propose innovative solutions to provide equitable food security initiatives on campus. By developing a proposal for effective food redistribution mechanisms, the project aims to reduce waste, promote responsible consumption, and alleviate food insecurity.

Youth-led Leadership in Climate Action – Partnership with City of Toronto

Climate Positive Energy is pleased to announce a partnership with the City of Toronto’s Environment and Climate Division to lead the development of a city-wide youth engagement strategy. This work will enable youth-led leadership with an equity lens in climate action in Toronto, supporting the implementation of the City of Toronto’s TransformTO Net Zero Climate Action Strategy. The TransformTO strategy outlines a pathway to achieve net zero emissions in Toronto by 2040. As part of the research and development of TransformTO, it was identified that the creation and implementation of a youth-specific engagement strategy is critical to the adoption of the city-wide actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The four-phase project will see the research team complete a jurisdictional scan and review of relevant best-practices to inform the approach for a city-wide youth climate action strategy. Once this phase is completed, a co-design with key youth-led or youth focused organizations will be developed, followed by a city-wide consultation process utilizing identified support options to inform the Youth Engagement Strategy. The results of the research and consultations will be presented in a written report, which is expected to be completed in 2024. The report will continue to inform key recommendations for youth climate action engagement in Toronto.