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CMOS Statement on Racism: A Time to Act

We witness with anguish the violent and fatal results of endemic anti-Black racism within the institutions of law enforcement in the United States, Canada, and worldwide. The subsequent tributes to George Floyd, and protests against police brutality and racism in both the USA and Canada have elevated the issue to the forefront of public attention, and remind us of the systemic injustices faced by Black communities.

The Council of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS) believes it is our profound responsibility to stand with our colleagues across many scientific societies, including the Canadian Association of Physicists, the Chemical Institute of Canada, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Meteorological Society in affirming our support for equity, inclusion, and diversity. We are all diminished when a person believes that our endeavours do not have room for someone of their ethnic background or skin colour. However, it is important to go beyond this, and to speak out about Canada’s own history and perpetration of systemic racism against Black, Indigenous, and other racialized people and communities. We must consider the impact of racial discrimination (e.g., against Asian Canadians as a result of the COVID-19 crisis), conscious and unconscious bias, and systematic barriers to professional success experienced by Black, Indigenous, and other racialized people in the CMOS context. And we must combat this racism, in the context of our research and professional practice, and in partnership with Tri-Council agencies. We must also acknowledge that CMOS has done little in its past activities to address these issues, and has much to do to catch up to our colleagues in partner societies.

There are many ways in which our specific work in atmosphere, ocean, and climate science can be directed towards addressing systematic racism within Canadian society. For example, the effects of severe weather events and destructive climate change are systematically exacerbated by social inequality, including inequality associated with racism (e.g., Nazrul Islam and Winkel 2017). In this and other areas, it falls squarely within CMOS’s responsibility to highlight such differential impacts that might be experienced by racialized peoples, and engage in informing policy makers and the public about this. These and many other examples can be drawn from our professional practice and should be a focus in the coming years.

We encourage all CMOS members to consider these issues, to condemn racism, to support members of Black, Indigenous and racialized communities, and to work to create an equitable culture, both within CMOS and in Canadian society.

Kimberly Strong, CMOS President
Marek Stastna, CMOS Vice-President
Paul Kushner, CMOS Past-President
Gordon Griffith, CMOS Executive Director

You can also find this statement on the website at the following link:

CMOS Statement on Racism: A Time to Act

anti-racism, Black Lives Matter protests, George Floyd, police brutality, racial inequality

For previous issues go to the Archives page on the main CMOS site.