Free course on climate change: Climate Insights 101

Learning is good.

If you are not solid in your ability to facilitate dinner table talk about climate change, let the fine folks at the Pacific Institute of Climate Solutions help you out.

Their free series of on-line courses will get you right up to speed. And if you’re not into the full meal deal, check out Climate Insights: Mini Lessons:

Climate Insights 101

A trilogy of animated and interactive courses that provide a comprehensive understanding of the causes of climate change, of how society can adapt, and the options for mitigation.

Each course contains 3-4 lessons with test-your-knowledge sections.

1) Climate Science Basics

This course covers the scientific basis for changes in Earth’s climate, both natural and human-induced, common misconceptions about global warming and more….

2) BC Climate Impacts and Adaptation

Climate change is already here and will speed up over time. This course is a how-to guide for projecting future climate within British Columbia and preparing for those changes.

3) Mitigation

This course explores and assesses the practical methods, technologies and policy options being used in BC and around the world to reduce heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions.

A Series of Climate wins via Grist

Since I have proclaimed 2014 the year of the cheerleader, the focus of many of my posts will highlight climate action wins.

If this sounds good to you, you may also want to follow the Series of Climate wins on Grist.

via Series Climate wins | Grist.


Climate Access – Roundtable Discussion on the lasting impacts of extreme weather

Climate Access - Roundtable Discussion on the lasting impacts of extreme weather

Climate Access – Roundtables.

I highly recommend registering for this free online meeting with experts in climate change communications.

Join us on Oct 28 from 1-2pm EDT (10-11am PDT) for a roundtable discussion – via webinar – on the lasting impact of Hurricane Sandy and other extreme weather events on climate engagement, with experts Erin Barnes, Jennifer Hirsch and Connie Roser-Renouf (moderated by Climate Access director Cara Pike). 

via Climate Access – Roundtable Discussion on the lasting impacts of extreme weather.

Also check out the Climate Access website and community if you want the latest and greatest from experts around the world.

Take time to explore the things you love

Don’t sweat the long list. You’ve got eight things to choose and there is no right or wrong answer. Just click through, because the following pages offer enlightenment.

Take time to explore the things you love

Bragg Creek Flood: reaction to eye witness reactions

You know people are desensitized to destruction and the pain/loss of others when they virtually cheer as a community member’s house gets destroyed in a torrent of raging water.

Yes it’s incredible to see… but my shock just does not express the same way…

The jaw certainly does drop, but the heart sinks too. Shouldn’t it? Someone has lost their home.

I don’t know, maybe I’m being to sensitive to what is probably one individual’s insensitivity. But I’m sure if it was his home, or a family member’s home… his reaction would be quite different.

My hope is that we all consider each other with similar empathy we would extend to family and friends. We’re going to need to if our communities are to survive the kind of disasters that are on the horizon.


New report set to rock the climate change denier camp: science as settled as it gets

In my community of people who care immensely about the stability of our atmosphere… and thus biosphere… and thus human civilization, it sometimes is forgotten that there are a number of people who still have trouble grappling with this issue.

This week, as usual, my colleagues and I were considering various aspects of the climate system and how BC’s land base, economy and population could possibly adjust to reduce or remove carbon in the atmosphere (we have legislated targets to meet in BC). And then a fact was stated that shook even us: permafrost now contains 1,700 billion tonnes of carbon, or twice the amount now in the atmosphere… and it’s melting. And if we don’t reverse our emissions trend, like tomorrow, it will continue to melt faster.

I often hear the words “game over” during such revelations.  Unfortunately, we have them more often than we’d like… Sometimes even the experts need reminding of how important it is we do all we can, and then lead others to do the same.

On the other side, we’re lucky in BC to generally have a public mindset that enables our political leadership to take action. However, we still don’t see 100% of British Columbian’s REALLY sure that this problem warrants the challenge of tackling it, which will include making uncomfortable changes at times.

I can talk all I want about what I know and why it matters…. but if a person has doubt about whether my expertise is agreed upon by other scientists, I may as well be a pollster.

So here it is:

And why does this mater so much? How about a good ole short film to help us understand:

Rising seas will leave their mark. Here’s a preview.

Artistic commentary on life has been an effective means for generating dialogue and spurring change for centuries.

Initiatives like this one make a statement, but they also help people to visualize the future. In our case, the future is to be avoided, at least at the rate we are going. That is, unless, you prefer your favorite shopping district underwater…

16 more years of global warming

16 more years of global warming.

Another gem from Skeptical Science – clearing up basic confusion over trends. Or, perhaps, exploitation of confusion over trends…


We have NO time to waste on this kind of basic math confusion. The planet is warming. It is terrible. We need to stop it.

Full stop.

A broken heart: “Chasing Ice” moves climate denier to dump Bill O’Rielly

(Special thanks to Skeptical Science for posting this to Facebook and making me cry. View the post here and share.)

When someone starts a sentence with the words “I love Bill O’Rielly“, I take them quite seriously on that. Bill is a master emoter-prevoker. It is a craft: he needs no real facts to spin fear, hate and single mindedness into complaisant trust with his viewers… people long for passionate lines of thinking to align with. It makes us feel alive, especially in these times of convenient, easy living.

Life is supposed to involve a “fight.” For something. Anything.

So when this woman does a 360 on her Global Warming Deniership (yes, in capitals), I literally cried. There is nothing like a broken heart, and it is plain to see on her face and in her voice. No crafting. A genuine shock to the soul and a wake-up call: you’ve been cheated on.

Sorry, Bill. Sounds like this Chasing Ice movie is gonna get you dumped in a big way.


PS – From the creators of “The Cove” – another must watch.

OMG it’s time for King Tides!

King Tide in Victoria - by Luton on Flickr

King Tide in Victoria – by Luton on Flickr

My exclamation on this  is one part excitement, two parts terror.

The King Tides Photo Initiative came to BC four years ago when my colleague Tina Neale (@elaen_anit) spotted the Australian effort to engage the public and catalogue images of extreme high tides on their coastline. Down under, the Green Cross mobilizes the initiative as part of their effort to “Help people adapt to our changing climate.”

We thought, “what a great way to raise awareness of the threat to our coastal infrastructure and ecosystems from seal level rise due to climate change!” And so the LiveSmart BC King Tides Photo Initiative was born (…or cloned). Thanks to the magic of social media, anyone in BC with internet connection can participate in the photo initiative on Flickr, which you can learn all about here.

After we got the go ahead, the next logical step was to bring along some friends. So we called up our partners in climate action across the border in Washington State, and then they called their friends in Oregon, and California… and before we knew it, we had a North American-wide King Tides movement including New Jersey and Florida! We now have an international working group that includes friends at NOAA and Green Cross Australia, and we share best practices and new ideas for improving our collective efforts.

So, I’m excited about the opportunity to work with these passionate, caring individuals from around the planet. These are people who wish to help their fellow citizens plan for a safe future where sea levels are much higher, storm surges are stronger… and people had the forethought to adapt.

At the same time, we’re not working on marketing the next trend in cell phone covers or even bicycle seat warmers: we’re talking property, ecosystems and lives here. And as much as we focus on setting our home turfs up for minimal impact, we will still witness some major losers. Especially in the early days.

And we’re in the early days.

As the predictions for Hurricane Sandy’s trajectory grow increasingly worrisome as she heads towards a collision with a North Easter and a strong cold front from the West DURING KING TIDES… I can’t help but think “geez, a perfect opportunity for people to witness and photograph the impacts of king tides… if they weren’t seriously getting ready to batten down the hatches!”

Now we’re still half a week away, and the computer models could be wrong, but if Sandy really is a “perfect,” “there’s no comparison on record,” “Franken-storm“, I’m more terrified for friends on the East Coast than excited. Especially as this is the kind of extreme weather we can expect to experience given a warmer, more energetic global atmosphere.

The point of this initiative is to raise awareness of these kinds of future impacts BEFORE they happen… enabling us to prepare.

I hope we have a good turn out in BC. (Pssst: tell your friends!)


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