Eastern Tour: Fredericton – Climate change, cities and self-reliance
Yesterday we arrived at our last destination, Fredericton, New Brunswick. It was a beautiful, warm day. After lunch at the home of our friendly host, we headed to the picturesque University of New Brunswick radio station for an interview. I was struck by the precise messages conveyed by the partners when answering the questions.
The event was put on by the newly named “Fredericton KAIROS cluster” by organizer Cathy Scott. There were several folks who had been involved in other KAIROS actions and were eager to participate in the group discussions. There were two local speakers: Dr. Nadine Ives from the New Brunswick Climate Change Public Education and Outreach Hub and Toby Couture from the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. Nadine gave a local perspective on the real dangers of climate change to the environment. She emphasized the interconnectedness of the ecosystem and the impossibility of knowing the “real impacts” should the climate continue to change resulting in extreme conditions. She noted that we can deal with one extreme weather event locally, but “not if they keep coming.”
Toby spoke of optimism for the future and the need for a move towards renewable energy and becoming more “self-reliant.” He noted that if climate change leads to collapses felt globally, one of the places that will be most affected are the cities as they are so dependent on other communities and not self-sufficient in so many ways.
Many of the responses to the attendees’ questions focused on what local folks can do to reduce their carbon footprints. Naty noted that we have a culture based on “need” and a dependency on consumer products. This leads to poverty. Reflecting on the event, Naty noted that it is so important that we have a shift in the way we perceive technology and sustainability. We cannot continue to look at consumption the way we do as it is unsustainable. We cannot see local farming and the production of crops in a more ecological way as “slowing down production.” Rather we need to look at it as sustainable farming.