BOW VALLEY – As the world continues to grapple with climate change and inaction from some governments across the world, here in the valley, there are those doing what they can to make a difference – including the municipalities of Canmore and Banff.
An upcoming panel called Fighting Climate Change – Take Heart and Take Action will see seven speakers, including Mayor John Borrowman and water expert Bob Sandford, discuss the importance of climate action.
“[We] just want to make the public aware of climate change and action they can take personally, through educating and informing people about issues and personal action,” said Priscilla Janes, member of a local community group called Bow Valley Climate Action, and an organizer of the event.
“We want to inform and inspire people.”
The panel itself will see a five-minute presentation from each participant answering three questions – why is climate change essential? What have they seen that helps them "take heart?" And what advice do they have for audience members when it comes to action?
“Each person will give a five minute presentation on why climate action is important to them and then there’ll be questions from the audience, as well as a public opportunity for interaction with all these specialists,” said Priscilla.
Priscilla’s husband, Bob Janes, also a member of Bow Valley Climate Action, as well as the founder of the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice, said climate change is already happening.
“The latest IPCC report, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change… it said in 2018 that we have to reduce our carbon footprint by 50 per cent in the next 11 years if we’re going to be able to avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change,” he said.
“I mean, clearly climate change is already here and I think the most important thing we can do is talk about climate change. For so long it was really a taboo subject.”
The panel next Tuesday (Oct. 1) is meant to continue opening up the discussion, as well as inspiring community members to get motivated to do their own part.
“I think what we have to do now is try to mitigate the worst effects of climate change and develop resilience within the community … It’s all about people assuming responsibility on the individual and family level and hopefully, if enough momentum gained, all these small singular actions will come together to make a difference,” said Bob.
Aside from Borrowman and Sandford, who is the EPCOR chair for water and climate security, panelists will include Paulette Fox, Blood Tribe member and environmental scientist; Jodi Hilty, president and chief scientist at Y2Y; Bill Phipps, retired minister and former moderator of the United Church of Canada; Sara Renner, former Olympic cross-country skier, as well as owner of Paintbox and Talus lodges; and Ed Whittingham, energy policy expert.
The panel will start at 7 p.m. on Oct. 1 at Canmore Civic Centre council chambers. For more information, visit the Facebook event page called Fighting Climte Change – Take Heart and Take Action.