SASKATOON — In response to a federal government request for input into climate change policy, concerned citizens filled St. George’s Seniors Club in Saskatoon May 25 for a Climate Change Town Hall meeting.
The event was organized by Climate Justice Saskatoon and the Saskatoon-West riding office of MP Sheri Benson (NDP).
Small-group discussions addressed four areas of interest identified by the Canadian government: ways to mitigate climate change and reduce emissions; the idea of carbon pricing to encourage the shift from fossil fuels to clean energy; suggestions about clean technology and innovation; and how to facilitate adaption and resilience as communities deal with the impact of climate change, such as severe weather, drought, flooding and fires.
The event opened with a prayer by Nancy Greyeyes, who expressed the hope that “everything said here is said with love for the future generations.”
A short program included greetings from MP Benson. A participant from Fond du Lac then spoke about the importance of including indigenous people in climate change discussions.
Mark Bigland-Pritchard of Climate Justice Saskatoon presented information slides from the federal government, and provided a brief overview of the challenges facing Canada and the world to reduce emissions and tackle climate change.
He described the Paris climate agreement and the importance of keeping the global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees centigrade, as anything higher will see the loss of island states and imperil coastlines around the world.
Bigland-Pritchard also presented a review of emissions in Canada and in Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan emits more greenhouse gases than Sweden (population 10 million) and more than Bangladesh (population 160 million), he said. The five biggest areas of emission in the province are electricity, mining/oil production, transportation, venting from oil and gas (now being prevented by legislation in places like Norway and North Dakota), and agriculture.
Rachel Malena-Chan of Climate Justice Saskatoon encouraged participants to brainstorm and write down insights and suggestions. Notes taken during the meeting will be compiled and forwarded to the federal government, she said.