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Sustainability inspired by a September snow storm in Alberta

So two days ago I was at the Penticton Dragon Boat Festival lounging around in 28°C (82°F). Driving home through Banff National Park and Calgary we saw this:

Snow covers the trees at the side of the highway

September snowstorm

Although, every climate change aficionado will tell you that it is very difficult (i.e. impossible) to attribute a single weather event to climate change, extreme or non typical events do make us think about the issue. The Weather Network has an explanation of when Alberta has seen severe September snow storms in the past and the science of why it happens, I want to take a different track. By the way, it is officially still summer here, to put the snow in perspective.

I did my PhD research on seeing climate change locally. Again, it is pretty hard to attribute a specific event or scene to climate change but my participants became very critical of behaviour and thought processes. This was unbelievably exciting to me as a researcher because while we talk about factors like carbon dioxide emissions, those emissions are most commonly a result of our behaviours and thought processes. My participants used photography to explore their own thinking. You can see a lot of the photographs and statements, along with some of my analysis by visiting http://outdooreducators.wordpress.com/. I know I’m biased, but I think it was a pretty cool project and one that has a lot of potential to build on and from.

Seeing sites like 50 problems in 50 days, and the City of Edmonton campaign 90 ways to 90 made me think that I could do something similar. Find strategies to cut down on my contributions to climate change. My aim is to not focus on the ones we already know, like changing my light bulbs to compact fluorescents, especially since I’ve already done that anyway, but to find ones that maybe are a little different. I also want to look at the science behind these ideas or tasks, get at why it helps as well. And perhaps even debunk a few myths out there.

I am not claiming that any of these ideas will be unique, but hopefully one or two of them will be engaging to someone other than me. Thus begins 30 days of change.

About Tai Munro

I am passionate about making science, sustainability, and sport accessible through engaging information and activities.


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