The theme for this year was hope, and present was climate activist and Friday’s for Future organizer, Sophia Mathur, who along with her mother Cathy Orlando recently returned from their trip to the COP 26 conference in Glasgow. As well, Sudbury MPP Jamie West and a representative for Viviane Lapointe attended. Lapointe was stuck in transit and unable to attend.
At the event, Dr. David Pearson, founding director of Science North, professor in Earth Sciences at Laurentian University and renowned scientist told Sudbury.com of some of the climate change effects that may occur in Sudbury.
“We've seen just a little bit of what climate change is going to look like in the last few days,” said Pearson, describing the rapid changes in Sudbury recently —including rain and below freezing temperatures occurring a day or two apart. “More rain in winter, falling on the ground when it's frozen, running off very rapidly and causing flooding.”
Another effect will be heat stress in the summer. “We're going to have excess deaths, not a whole lot, not like Vancouver last summer, but we're going to have some excess deaths, because of older people being susceptible to high temperature in the summer,” said Pearson.
Pearson also notes the specific struggles of those who live in remote communities that rely on winter roads for supplies, because they do not have permanent roads. “I'm thinking of First Nations living in the north, that's going to make a difference to them, because they won't be able to drive on the winter roads like they've been able to in the past,” said Pearson.
But as with the theme of the event, Pearson has hope for the future.
“We don't need great new technological developments in order to make a difference in our communities, we have the technology,” said Pearson. “We can generate energy using wind turbines and using solar panels. We can begin to use electrical heating and our homes instead of gas heating, which is our fossil fuel. There are moves to ban gasoline powered vehicles in England, you will not be able to buy a gasoline powered vehicle after 2030. They're being phased out. California is phasing out leaf blowers,which seems trivial, but they're an indication that people have the changes that they need to make.
The Lantern Walk of Hope continued with calls to save areas like the greenspace the group of 20 would enjoy while they sang Christmas carols and meandered down a forest trail.