Vancouver businessman Wayne Crookes has donated $1.875 million to the University of Victoria to establish a professorship in environmental and climate journalism.
Crookes, a former political campaigner who is the founder of West Coast Title Search and Integrity B.C., has pledged $1.5 million to create the teaching position and another $375,000 to fund environmental and climate journalism research and outreach.
“This is a very important priority for me,” Crookes said. “We need to communicate more effectively with journalists — especially editors — about the risks of climate change and the threats to biodiversity that humanity as a whole is facing. I believe climate change is an existential threat that the world is not doing enough to meet.”
The professor will be appointed later this year within UVic’s writing department.
UVic president Kevin Hall said Crookes’s support for environmental journalism mirrors UVic’s “deep conviction to help address the challenges posed by climate change.”
“Extreme weather, melting ice sheets, incessant flooding and other alarming events serve to remind us that we are not only together in this crisis, but also of the urgent need to effectively counter misinformation through the rigour of credible journalism,” he said.
Crookes’s hope is the donation will increase media literacy and coverage by connecting students, journalists, citizens and policymakers through a public database of environmental scientists and climatologists, while strengthening UVic’s writing program.