Climate of hope

Climate change on the planet is producing positive change in people’s attitudes.

  • Apr. 26, 2013 6:00 p.m.

Climate change on the planet is producing positive change in people’s attitudes. Chris Turner has seen it himself on the green rooftops of India, the windfarms of Denmark and the solar-panelled buildings of Germany. The author of The Geography of Hope came to Red Deer Thursday night to give that message of hope to a packed audience of 150 people. As he told the group, there’s enough doom and gloom about climate change. “We definitely have a limited time to change our course, or our ability to change well be beyond our grasp,” said Turner inside the Red Deer Public Library Snell Auditorium. “But there’s a sort of paralysis when we grasp the thing of this size. ‘What can I do?’” People should think of this as a new era with new rules, he added. And many individuals and communities are. In Freiburg, Germany, a middle-class neighbourhood of townhouses produces more energy than it consumes. Solar power is used. “There’s nothing unique to Freiburg, Germany other than the will to build these,” said Turner of Calgary. An island in Denmark has also made great advances, thanks to its 4,500 residents. “They have eliminated all greenhouse gases from their energy regime, except for the cars they drive on the island and the ferries that pull up to the island.” Locally grown straw is burned in central plants to provide heat. Wind turbines are used to produce electricity. “Every one of the wind turbines are owned locally, either by the farmer of the land that it is standing on, or by a collective group,” Turner said. In India, a growing number of buildings are being built using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Started in the United States, LEED has become an international benchmark for developing green buildings. Some buildings in India have grass growing on the roof, which helps to reduce energy costs. Canada is a “half step” behind when it comes to creating sustainable policies, Turner said. He sees some inroads being made, so he remains hopeful. They include the Drake Landing development in Okotoks south of Calgary. The 52-housing subdivision has space and water heating supplied by solar energy. Overall, the green initiatives Turner saw greatly exceeded his expectations. “My only pessimism and frustration is that the stuff I am talking about is not household knowledge.” His book, released last year, became a national bestseller. Turner’s speech was co-sponsored by Rethink Red Deer, Red Deer College Green Campus and Sustainable Red Deer. Lorne Daniel helps to head Rethink Red Deer, a group of about 150 members which is providing public input into smart urban planning. He said the climate is ripe for similar initiatives to take place here. “That’s part of the reason why we wanted to bring Chris here,” Daniel said. “He’s seen things all over the world and we want to build awareness of that locally. With that awareness, comes action.” Contact Laura Tester at ltester@reddeeradvocate.com

Just Posted

Lacombe teacher receives Prime Minister’s Award

Schultz will be celebrated at an awards ceremony with the Prime Minister on May 28th in Ottawa

Lacombe Days welcomes participation

Lacombe Days looks to celebrate the diverse cultures of Lacombe

Lacombe Police Service arrests two in possession of stolen property, cocaine, meth

LPS notified of a stolen trailer stolen from the Lacombe area for sale on a local sales site.

Lacombe Police Services arrests car thief in possession of meth

Red Deer woman’s outstanding warrants lead to arrest

VIDEO: LCHS Hair Massacure supports children’s charities

Event supports kids living with cancer

Ottawa spending $24.5M to research on health benefits, risks of pot use

$390,000 will fund two cannabis public awareness

Crackdown on money laundering does not include federal public inquiry: minister

An independent report commissioned concluded $7.4 billion was laundered in B.C. last year

Trudeau’s action plan on climate change brings B.C. politician out of retirement

Terry Lake, a former B.C. health minister, is running for federal office in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo

Survey finds minimal progress in Canadian military’s fight against sexual misconduct

1.6 per cent of regular-force members — 900 military personnel — reported having been victims of sexual assaults over past year

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

Federal government funds millions to help B.C. police spot drugged driving

Many police departments have expressed wariness about using the only government-approved roadside test

Most Read