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

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five additional deaths Wednesday due to COVID-19. (File photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer at 169 active cases of COVID-19

Province set to move into Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for the G7 Summit, at the airport in Newquay, United Kingdom, Thursday, June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Details on Canada’s vaccine sharing plan coming Sunday, up to 100 million doses

Canada’s high commissioner to the UK says details will come after the G7 summit

Conservative MP Tom Kmiec waves to the crowd during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Newborn daughter’s death inspires MP’s bill on bereavement leave for parents

Conservative MP Tom Kmiec says a day or two off not enough for some grieving parents

Victoria’s 2020 Canada Day celebration will not happen this year. (Black Press Media file photo)
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations backs cancelling Canada Day celebration

Statement made after Victoria cancels Canada Day event as a statement of reconciliation

United Nurses of Alberta is slamming Health Minister Tyler Shandro for suggesting staff vacations are causing emergency room problems. (Black Press Media files)
Physicians were suffering burnout and then the pandemic made it worse, UBC study finds

Burnout prevalent among 68 per cent of doctors – likely a reflection of issue globally, says researcher

Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020 in Ottawa. The federal government is bringing in a new coal policy saying new or expanded thermal coal mines create unacceptable environmental impacts.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable environmental effects:’ New federal policy restricts thermal coal

Policy puts another roadblock in front of Coalspur Mines and its Alberta Vista mine expansion

Kawasaki City Institute for Public Health Director General Nobuhiko Okabe speaks during a press conference after a roundtable on COVID-19 countermeasures at Tokyo 2020 Games in Tokyo, Friday, June 11, 2021. A group of experts participated in a third roundtable on COVID-19 countermeasures proposed for audience-related infection control. (Franck Robichon/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics still undecided on fans — or no fans at all

Fans from abroad already banned from what is shaping up to be a largely made-for-television event

Most Read