Margot Hurlbert, a life-long story of a leader in global innovation and volunteerism.

After practicing law in Regina, Dr. Margot Hurlbert became a professor at the University of Regina in the Departments of Justice Studies and Sociology and Social Studies.  In 2018 she was awarded the Canada Research Chair in Climate Change, Energy, and Sustainability Policy at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy where she is the Lead of the Science, Technology and Innovation Research Cluster. She is a Senior Research Fellow of the Earth Systems Governance Project, and was the Coordinating Lead Author of a chapter of the Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Land and Climate.  Margot is Review Editor for the North America Chapter of Working Group II of the IPCC and currently works on Future Earth’s Working Group on Transformations.

Margot has authored and co-authored many journal articles, papers and presentations on rights to water, sanitation, hygiene and resilience in a global context, diverse community energy futures, Indigenous energy justice, and gender and climate change.

Margot’s research focus is on governance and climate change, energy and water; interrogating laws, policies and practices that will address both the problem of climate change and adaptation, and mitigation of changing climate. Her current passion is determining participatory governance mechanisms and constructing action based imaginaries that help us achieve our Paris goals—net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Margot has a B. Admin. (Great Distinction) from the University of Regina, an LL.B. and LL.M. (Osgoode) and a Ph.D. (University of Amsterdam). Margot lives with her family in Regina, SK and has a long history of volunteerism in the community at the YMCA, the Canadian Bar Association, the SCEP Center, the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, and the Regina Women’s Network.

What does Global Citizenship mean to you?

Global Citizenship is an important narrative for me because it connects me with all other people on the planet.  By thinking of our interconnections, I can begin to imagine what a world might be like where we achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and all people have equitable access to our world’s resources.  Global citizenship is also essential when we think of addressing climate change, redressing the impacts of climate change, and preserving our Earth for future generations.  In addition to interconnections, Global Citizenship also signifies the action of citizenship.  This is the necessity of not only being a citizen in our locale, our province, our country, but being a citizen of our world – getting active in international organization and causes, and taking responsibility for our actions.  For me the work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and with Future Earth has provided me with the opportunity to meet, to learn from, and make friends with people around the world.  Global citizenship engenders responsible decision making because our actions have an impact on citizens everywhere.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My inspiration as a teacher comes from students.  Students include the young and old people in my classes, the students around the world who have been participating in climate strikes, and students of all backgrounds and types.  (The defining characteristic of a ‘student’ is that of a ‘learner.’)  At any age and stage we (including myself) can be a student and learn new ways of doing things sustainably and equitably.  In the most recent past I have really been inspired by our young people and their passion for global justice and addressing climate change.  I was very inspired when Greta and several other young climate activists presented our IPCC negotiating team of authors in Geneva with a letter of thanks during the Land and Climate Report’s plenary presentation in 2019 to governments.  I’ve framed that letter and keep it at my desk.

What do you see as one of the most encouraging or innovative trends that is creating positive change in our world right now?

One of the most encouraging or innovative trends creating positive change right now is the peaceful protests of students and all people to raise awareness of climate change and the inequity of its impacts and future risks around the world.  COVID-19 is a crisis and warrants our utmost attention and vigilance in keeping everyone safe.  However, the risks and threat of climate change, extreme droughts, wildfires, species extinction, increased poverty and famine, multi-breadbasket failures, have not gone away.  Our current crisis is providing us with the opportunity of rethinking our travel and other consumption habits, so that we might build back a more sustainable local and global community in the future.