Open Access to Climate Justice

By Kimberly White and Ana Rogers 

Climate change does not affect everyone equally. The term “climate justice” was coined to acknowledge that the effects of climate change “will not be borne equally or fairly, between rich and poor, women and men, and older and younger generations” (UN, 2019). Access to information is a key part of connecting communities across disciplines and understanding the vast and imminent impacts of climate change. Sharing information openly and freely provides an opportunity to address the inequitable impacts of climate change and shape the global response.  

This year’s International Open Access Week (October 24-30, 2022) will focus on Climate Justice to raise awareness around how Open Access can support climate justice. “Open Access” refers to the “free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as you need” (Open Access Week, 2022). 

In conjunction with International Open Access Week, McGill Library has curated a physical and virtual display at the Redpath Complex for the entire month of October, featuring books, films, and music that grapple with the inequities surrounding the climate crisis.  

In the spirit of Open Access, our virtual collection includes only Openly accessible materials and links to books which are held in print and can be accessed onsite by users outside the McGill community. Here are some of the highlights from our collection: 

Book cover for Silent Spring by Rachel Carson - The classic that launched the environmental movement. Introduction by Linda Lear, Afterward by Edward O. Wilson. The cover is a soft green with a red veiny leaf. Inside the leaf is the cutout image of a bird in flight. The title and author are overlayed in large white text.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

No list of environmental publications would be complete without this groundbreaking 1962 book by Rachel Carson which details the harms caused by pesticide use and the negative impacts on communities exposed to these chemicals. 

Book cover for Voices of Drought by Michael B. Silvers. The politics of music and environment in Northeastern Brazil. Image includes a bare tree in the foreground and a grey sky with transparent music score in the background.

Voices of Drought by Michael B. Silvers

Voices of Drought takes a unique ethnomusicological approach to Climate Justice by demonstrating how ecological crisis affects musical culture by way of and proportionate to social difference and stratification.

Book cover for Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants. "A hymn of love to the world" as quoted by Elizabeth Gilbert. The image is of a single braided grass laying horizontally across the a plain beige background.

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

In this book, Indigenous author and botanist Robin Wall Kimmer explores how indigenous wisdom about human interactions with nature, harmonizes with modern scientific knowledge of ecology and sustainable living. 

Cover image for Climate Justice Y'All. The word's and large and sitting on a field of grass with flowers, plants, clouds, etc, emerging from the letters.

Climate Justice Y’All

This ongoing podcast centers on Climate Justice movements in the Southern United States, focusing on Climate Justice leaders and stories from communities in the South where climate change is already having significant impacts. 

Find these and our other selections through the Open Climate Justice Virtual Exhibit or in person in the McLennan Library lobby. 

Fierté Québec

Summer in Québec is inarguably the best time of the year, and the summer of 2022 is particularly special as we come together for the first time in 3 years to celebrate on the streets, loud and proud all across the province. 

Rainbow flags and coloured balloons are shown at the site where the Montreal Pride parade was supposed to start from in Montreal, Sunday, August 7, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes 

For the month of August and early September, Québec has a jam packed line-up of activities starting with Fierté Montreal (1-7 August), Fière la fête (23-27 August) in the Ville de Sherbrooke and la Fête arc-en-ciel (1-11 Sept.) in the Ville de Québec. As the names suggest, these festivals are a time of celebration for the gender and sexual diversity communities of these three cities. Fierté Montréal, considered the largest Pride gathering in the Francophone World, uses the seven days of cultural and community activities as “an opportunity to generate public awareness of the issues to be addressed in eliminating homophobia, locally and internationally.”.

Pride Parade 2018 in Montreal on Sunday, August 19, 2018.

This year, we here at the Humanities and Social Studies Library (HSSL) are joining the numerous festivities with a little treat of our own. On display at the Redpath Complex for the entire month of August is the Fierte Bibliothèque | Library Pride Book Display, a collection containing numerous popular publications and a range of digital book and film titles just a scan away. 

For those looking to take a deeper dive into the topic, we recommend Gale’s Archives of Sexuality and Gender as a starting point. It boasts itself as the “largest digital collection of historical primary source publications relating to the history and study of sex, sexuality, and gender research…” and is sure to be a great source!

For more information or related queries email us at

Redpath Book Display: Summer Fling With A Book

Summer is all about tanning in the sweltering sun, while sipping on your margarita with some Ray Bans on. Sounds picture perfect, doesn’t it? But do you know what’s missing? A short, cool, no-strings-attached romance for the break.

At the Humanities and Social Studies Library (HSSL) we’re taking the Blind Date with A Book concept a step further. This summer is the season of online dating, and no one wishes to go through the utter surprise (we’ve had enough of those the past few years, thanks) of an unknown pick, we want eyes meeting across the club but better, blind dating but safer, happily ever after but shorter, and so we present to you our new Redpath Book Display; Summer Fling with a Book.

After hours of deliberation and a stringent system of elimination, we’ve handpicked a range of the best books from our collections as your potential dates for the summer. Whether you’re into the thrilling feels of leather jacket baddies with a mysterious past, the butterflies that come with spectacled sweeties across the driveway, or both, we’ve got just the selection for you. 

Since we don’t want to leave you too in the dark, each book has hand-drawn dating profiles to help you find your perfect match (for the summer, of course). Moreover, we have a small guessing game for you, besides the potential book dates, you’ll also find mood boards with the aesthetic of some famous novels for you to guess and win a prize!

And for all those of you who prefer online dating – oops, our bad, reading – worry not, we’ve got you covered as well. Just click here to access the Redpath Book Display guide’s virtual page on Summer Fling With a Book and find the right match for you. Mind you, the choices here are much more exclusive, so hurry before you lose a chance to meet your soulmate! 

Go swipe right on your perfect match at the Redpath Book Display today!