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Offsetting emissions from agriculture

Agriculture is responsible for 8% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. “It’s part of the problem, but it’s also part of the solution,” says Kunbi Adetona, an energy systems researcher at the University of Calgary. In this video, Adetona talks about the potential of converting manure and other agricultural waste products into biogas, which can offset fossil fuel usage. But what’s really exciting is that researchers have now started converting manure into biochar — or more simply charcoal — which can be used to store carbon in the soil for hundreds of years while improving soil health. “It’s a win-win strategy,” concluded Adetona. “Agriculture could be part of the solutions to the greenhouse gas emissions."

Prairie cities are part of the solution

Charlie Clark, the Mayor of Saskatoon, speaks about the changing nature of cities, living in an era of global warming, and how the next generation of young people are demanding action. Despite being a “cold prairie city”, Clark believes Saskatoon’s sense of community will allow them to move quickly to “show leadership on environmental change”.

Supporting solar energy on Gabriola Island

On Gabriola Island, community members are beginning to notice the impacts of climate change. To reduce their ecological footprint, some residents started a non-profit organization called GabEnergy, which helps people order and install affordable solar energy systems on their homes. GabEnergy member Michael Mehta discusses the solar panels on his house and the potential for distributed, renewable energy systems across Canada.

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Energy, emissions and agriculture

Darrin Qualman is a writer and researcher – with extensive farming experience – and who has been doing some long-term thinking about agriculture, climate change and energy system. Given the large-scale and costly use of nitrogen fertilizer, fossil fuels and other inputs in agriculture, he has determined that it takes about 13.3 calories to make every calorie we eat. For Qualman, the solutions to climate change and the farm income crisis is to shift away from high-input, high-energy agriculture.

Climate, Drought and Extremes

Dendroclimatologist Dave Sauchyn studies tree rings to learn about climates of the past and what it means for the future. His research shows that there’s a “new normal” in the Canadian Prairies and that climate change is increasing the risk of extended and severe drought.

Climate Science, Forests
Gender, agriculture and climate change

Dr. Amber Fletcher grew up on a farm and has a strong appreciation for farmer knowledge and the importance of rural environments and communities. Now, as an academic at University of Regina, she studies how farmers are seeing and feeling the impacts of climate change in their fields and daily lives. She’s interested in the critical contributions that women make to farm life, especially during climate extremes such as floods and droughts.

Environmentally responsible ranching

Livestock producers Troy Stozek and Don McIntyre – both from southwestern Manitoba – are on the frontlines of farming carbon. By practicing rotational grazing, they’re able to raise more cattle on less land, and in doing so they’re restoring the soil and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere at the same time. Their stories and farming practices show that animal agriculture can be an important part of the climate solution.

Small towns vs sea level rise

After a series of stronger-than-normal storms knocked out their main breakwater, the small town of Ferryland Newfoundland was left with no choice but to heavily invest in shoreline protection. Now, members of the community are left wondering whether the rising costs of living by the sea are sustainable for future generations.

Cities, Take Action
Solar Powered Farming

At FortWhyte Alive’s solar-powered farm, young people are coming together to fight climate change, restore habitat and encourage biodiversity.

Take Action, Agriculture
Faith communities providing solutions to the climate challenge

Near the end of the century, the City of Toronto could experience nearly two months of +30 °C days a year, according to climate projections. To address the growing risk of future heat waves, local faith leaders have created a network of cooling centres in churches, mosques, temples and synagogues, and are mobilizing their congregations to provide support for susceptible populations. For City Counsellor Gord Perks, this example of grassroots community resilience makes him hopeful about the future.

Cities, Take Action
Adapting to sea level rise

Indian Island First Nation is on a peninsula surrounded by water. Through a combination of traditional knowledge and scientific studies, it became clear to Chief Ken Barlow that his community would be underwater by 2100. Barlow and his community are in a race against time to protect homes, raise roads, and potentially even relocate the graves of their ancestors.

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Food Sovereignty in northern Manitoba

The Meechim project follows the story of Garden Hill First Nation – a northern Manitoba community that is only accessible via air and ice roads – and its journey to build a self-sustaining farm. Through a combination of both Indigenous and farm knowledge, the community’s efforts to attain food sovereignty show that climate resilience can lead to better social, economic, health and environmental outcomes for all.

Community Owned and Operated Solar Company

As their oil wells began to dry up, the small community of Montana First Nation was faced with an unemployment crisis. That’s when the idea of solar energy came up and the Nation founded Green Arrow, western Canada’s first Indigenous-owned and operated community solar energy company. Green Arrow’s team of trained community members is now installing solar panels across all of Alberta.

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Winter Roads in a Warming Climate

Ice roads are critical for many communities – especially Indigenous ones – living in remote regions in northern Canada. These cold weather dependent routes allow essential supplies – including food and building materials – to be trucked in at a lower cost than by plane. However, in a warming climate, these connections are literally melting away.

What does climate change mean for Canada?

Earth has warmed by 1 °C in just over 100 years. Damon Matthews, a climatologist from Concordia University, describes how this change in temperature is both human-caused and unparalleled in geologic history. Taking us through the evidence of our warming climate, Matthews discusses what these changes mean for Canada and suggests that the case for a dramatic policy response is very clear.

Climate Science
Climate change, culture, and society

Energy transitions are often considered a scientific or technical issue. However, University of Waterloo’s Imre Szeman argues that climate change is fundamentally a cultural issue. He argues that responding to climate change requires a shift in the way we think about cars, energy, chemicals, over-consumption, and other aspects of the fossil-fuel dependent “petrocultures” that permeate our everyday lives.

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Bringing climate change into community planning

Featuring members of the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), this video showcases how the planning profession is at the forefront of developing policy, capacity, and climate resilience within communities and environments across the country.

Life on a shrinking island

Prince Edward Island is slowly disappearing into the ocean, in large part due to climate-change-related sea level rise and powerful storm surges which are increasing erosion of the island’s soft sandstone base. Tides have become noticeably different and have destroyed infrastructure including lighthouses, bridges, wharfs, streets, boardwalks, water wells, and sewer lines. As one resident remarks, “climate change is here and, if anyone doesn’t believe it, just get up and look out the window”.

Trailer for the full documentary

Qapirangajuq is the world’s first Inuktitut language film about climate change and explores Inuit knowledge regarding ice, animals and the future of the Arctic. Co-Directed by acclaimed Inuk filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk (Atanarjuat The Fast Runner) and Dr. Ian Mauro, this film has been featured in major film festivals, academic conferences and news media globally.

Click here to watch the full-length documentary

Demonstrating the benefits of energy efficiency

The Reep House for Sustainable Living is a 100-year old house in Waterloo, Ontario that has been retrofitted to be maximally energy efficient. This demonstration project shows how older housing stock can be an effective part of the climate change solution through a combination of cutting edge technology and simple upgrades.

Take Action, Cities
70 Years of Farming Experience

Roy McLaren has a lifetime of farming experience: he’s farmed in southwest Manitoba for over 70 years. He looks at the Climate Atlas maps of climate projections with concern. “That is pretty bad,” he says, looking at maps showing a huge increase in very hot weather. “With that kind of heat,” McLaren muses, “we’d have to change our farming methods. We’d have to adopt new crops.”

Farming in a changing climate on Vancouver Island

Robin Tunnicliffe has farmed for about 25 years, growing a wide range of organic vegetables for local restaurants and farmer’s markets. When she started farming, there was a more predictable climate, but she is now experiencing more weather extremes that put her farm at risk. To combat the problem, Robin is breeding climate resilient seed that is adapted to her specific growing conditions, which gives her hope for the future.

Shouldering the risks of climate change

After a 1-in-100 year storm flooded Truro, Nova Scotia under five feet of water, the conversation around town shifted to questions about the future. What’s clear to local residents is that climate change is bringing higher tides, stronger winds and flooding, leaving more and more people shouldering the costs and risks.

A world out of balance

Terry Teegee is Regional Chief of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, Tribal Chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, and the former forestry coordinator for Takla Lake First Nation.

He's seen first hand how unsustainable forestry practices and disregard for traditional indigenous knowledge about forest ecosystems have worsened the impact of climate change.

"We’ve lost that real connection with the land, and I think we’re seeing the result of that," he says. “That's why we’re seeing here, not only in British Columbia but around the world, climate change."

Forests, Take Action
Mitigating climate change on the East Coast

An energy revolution is hitting the town of Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia. New 800 kW wind turbines are popping up everywhere, transforming the ever-present wind into electricity that’s used to power electric cars and offset the community’s reliance on fossil fuels. The move to renewable energy isn’t just reducing the community’s impact on the climate, it’s also sparking a whole new green economy.

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Supporting mitigation to protect Lake Superior

Many citizens of Thunder Bay have an important connection with Lake Superior, which will be impacted by climate change. To mitigate these effects, the local non-profit EcoSuperior and the City of Thunder Bay are encouraging active transportation, local food production, and waste reduction. Citizens are also working together to build resiliency in their neighbourhoods.

Cities, Take Action
Learning to coexist with a longer, hotter fire season

Dr. Toddi Steelman researches connections between environmental science, public policy, and decision-making. She examines the devastating 2016 fire in Fort MacMurray to learn how we can better protect ourselves from fire seasons that are becoming longer and more dangerous because of climate change.

“We’re at some kind of a tipping point in terms of how humans are interacting with their environment,” says Steelman. “What we need to do to learn to coexist better with fire.”

Building Resilience and Cutting Emissions

Toronto understands the importance of climate action. In recent years it has been hit by extreme weather that has adversely affected services, infrastructure and economic activities. The human impact of climate change is front and centre as the city works to increase its climate resilience, increase awareness about climate change, and to make urban life better.

“Greenest City in the World by 2020”

In 2009, Vancouver announced that it wanted to become the “Greenest City in the World by 2020”. Their action plan hopes to wean the city off fossil fuels and prioritizes pedestrians, bikes and transit when planning neighborhoods. As a result, Vancouver now has the lowest carbon emissions of any city in North America.

Cities, Climate Science