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Sustainability

A week for action on climate change

On Tuesday the United Nations is hosting Climate Summit 2014 in New York. It is supposed to be a chance for world leaders to lay some groundwork before a conference in 2015 which aims to create legally-binding climate change regulations. Today, many cities around the world have seen Climate Marches, in which people show their support for strong action on climate change now.

Hundreds of people gathered in the Alberta Legislature Grounds

Climate March Edmonton gathering in front of the Alberta Legislature.

I met up with the walk in Edmonton at the Legislature Grounds. I have never been an activist. I don’t go on marches. I may have possibly been somewhat relieved when an incident at one job, which I might add involved a puking kid, prevented me from attending a demonstration with another job. I have friends who have been on the environment’s side of a barricade, I know and respect people who have faced their family members across a demonstration, but that side of environmentalism has never been my cup of tea. The Climate March today was in effect the first demonstration I have ever attended.

While I can see some benefit to many types of activism I believe that there also has to be people working other angles. I focus on education and engagement, role modelling personal choices, and using discussion as a tool to affect change. I participate in our political system by voting, and I participate in our consumer society by making choices about the companies and locations I buy from. Put it this way, I would rather hop on the train and try to change what track we are on, then stand in the way. Some people may say that this isn’t enough, but I think that all the pieces and approaches are necessary if we want to reach all the many different people who need to be involved.

Why did I participate in this demonstration? It was peaceful and non-intrusive, as many demonstrations are. It was generic – Take Action Now – not against anyone person or idea. It was hopeful – people wouldn’t march if they thought there was no hope of change. And the more people who are there, the more it looks like people actually do care. I’m sure for every one person who was there, there were at least 10 who, like me, don’t get involved in that way, and probably another 50 who had no idea it was happening.

I was impressed. It seemed well organized and well attended. It was multi-generational and multi-denominational. Aside from one political comment at the start, it focused on the general need to take action on climate change. There were a lot of signs that focused on the fact that climate change is a social problem, which seems to be a big focus and a positive one in my opinion.

I’ve started my week doing something that I have never done in order to support action on climate change. Here are some other things that I am doing this week:

Put a jug of water in the fridge – fridges consume a lot of energy and every time you open the door the cool air rushes out. By filling a jug with water it takes up space in the fridge that would otherwise need to be filled with air but can’t rush out when the door opens. Therefore, it helps to keep the fridge from working over drive.

Participate in the @Upworthy and @Climate2014Live #Upchat on #Climate 2014 on Tuesday, September 23.

Come up with and act on one thing that I can do that might help someone else be more sustainable (feel free to make suggestions in the comments).

Find a positive change in my city that I did not already know about and help to promote it.

And finally get to applying the energy efficiency film to my upstairs windows to help cut down on heat transfer and the amount of UV coming in through my, I wish I could change them but I’m a renter, single pane windows.

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About Peyto

I am passionate about making science, sustainability, and sport accessible through engaging information and activities. Peyto is a reference to Bill Peyto who was an outfitter, trapper, and eventually a park warden in Banff National Park. Peyto Lake and Peyto Glacier are both named after him. He is also a distant relative of mine.

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