This weekend residents in Greater Sudbury joined thousands of communities across the world in demanding action on climate change. They attended a climate change movie and witnessed environmental awards Friday night. Others marched for action Saturday Oct. 24.
The climate change events, coordinated globally by a non-profit organization called 350.org, were meant to put pressure on the world's leaders as they and their aides prepare for upcoming global talks on climate change in Copenhagen.
On Saturday morning about 20 city residents marched from Laurentian University to the downtown after a stop at Science North.
“All across the globe today (Saturday), people are doing the same,” said organizer Cathy Orlando, a Laurentian University science outreach co-ordinator.
Those involved in the climate change activities, came from many backgrounds.
“I care about the environment and our planet,” said Charajit Gill, owner of Tommy's Car Wash on Paris Street, at an event at the Laughing Buddha's newly renovated space after the march.
Local First Nations songwriter and Laurentian student, Adam Akan, volunteered to entertain the marchers at the Laughing Buddha cafe.
He said musicians like himself can use music to raise awareness about social and political issues like climate change.
“People are more willing to listen especially if the words in the music point to the political or social issue.”
He said he saw a documentary about how American activists were attempting to use polar bears as ambassadors of climate change.
“In the U.S. if the polar bears are put on the endangered species list then their habitat (the arctic region) has to be protected.”
Marcher Rozzy Deisinger, 15, a grade 10 student at Lo-Ellen Park, said she learned a lot about climate change from a movie screened at the Fraser Auditorium the evening before. Over 200 attended the free film offering of The Age of Stupid. It depicted what will happen if the world does not reduce emissions substantially in now and in the decades ahead.
She said youth need to be more involved in the issue but noted that her school will soon be picking up discarded leaves in the area of the school for composting on-site at Lo-Ellen Park as one positive environmental action.
Orlando said the scientific community was a major ally in the fight to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, blamed for destabilizing the global atmosphere.
“This is the first global campaign ever organized around a scientific data point: 350 parts per million carbon dioxide is the safe upper limit for the atmosphere according to the latest scientific data,” noted Orlando in a release. She stressed that only by using existing scientific data from the world's scientists, can decision makers be moved to take action.
Orlando organized a drumming session and a climate change announcement by the newly formed Sudbury Climate Change Consortium at Science North as part of the march. The consortium, developed in April 2009, seeks to facilitate and integrate work on climate change across the community.
Bob Rogers, chair of the Nickel District Conservation Authority (NDCA) with general manager Paul Sajatovic, made a presentation on behalf of the consortium. In June the NDCA took on the role as the lead agency for the partnership.
Rogers admitted his agency will be affected by a changing climate because it is mandated to manage a large watershed area. That includes the responsibility for alerting the community to the potential for flooding from spring runoff.
He indicated that during consultations with community partners in the summer, from the local health unit to post secondary institutions, strong support was apparent. Rogers said that former Laurentian University researcher and administrator Liette Vasseur had prepared a position paper on climate change in a municipal context that prompted the formation of the consortium.
“It identified threats to our community.”
The consortium will work with existing agencies so they can work more effectively collectively in an integrated fashion, he said.
“It will champion locally, provincially and nationally, the leading edge work being done in Greater Sudbury in terms of developing climate change adaption strategies,” stated their presentation.
Rogers said a major next step is a presentation on the work of the consortium at city council on Nov. 12.
“I am asking the residents of Greater Sudbury who are concerned about climate change to come to that meeting at 7 p.m. (at Tom Davies Square).”
For more information visit www.350.org. or http://www.lu-ltspp.ca/350_october_24.html or google nickel district conservation authority.