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Selkirk College Joins Climate Countdown with TEDx November Series

Local speakers for the Countdown events include (clockwise from top left): Megan Lohmann with Community Energy Association (November 1), Graeme Lee Rowlands with Youth Climate Corps (November 8), David Reid with West Kootenay EcoSociety (November 15) and Erik Leslie with Harrop-Procter Community Co-operative (November 8).

The global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis will include local voices through a series of TEDx talks being presented virtually by Selkirk College to the entire community over three Sundays in November.

Sustainable Selkirk and the Mir Centre for Peace are partnering with the West Kootenay chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) to host the local series that ties into international TEDx “Countdown” virtual presentations. With events taking place around the world featuring innovative solutions to the climate challenge through turning ideas into action, the free virtual sessions will take place on three Sunday afternoons starting November 1 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“I think most of us are familiar with TED talks by now,” says Sustainable Selkirk Coordinator Laura Nessman. “The TED slogan says it all: ‘Ideas worth spreading.’ The speakers for our upcoming virtual events, both global and local, will be sharing their ideas and then going one step further by turning ideas into action. This is what is required when addressing the climate crisis.”

The local component of the talks include four leaders in their field who will provide regional context to the global picture.

David Reid is the Renewable Energy Engagement Director with the West Kootenay EcoSociety. For more than 20 years, he has been learning to engage community members with the places and issues that matter to them. Reid will be talking about the EcoSociety’s 100% Renewable Energy Plan project.

As head of Community Energy Management for the Community Energy Association, Megan Lohmann has been working in the field of climate and energy for 15 years. During that time she has engaged with local government, industry, public and First Nations on innovative, local solutions to support the transition to low-carbon communities. Lohmann is passionate about designing and implementing high-impact initiatives by unlocking unique, effective collaboration between the public and private sectors.

Graeme Lee Rowlands is a researcher, educator and organizer focused on the confluence of environmental, social, economic and political issues in the Columbia River Basin. Among other roles, he serves as coordinator of Wildsight's new Youth Climate Corps (YCC) Program. The YCC empowers young people to inspire and implement solutions to the climate crisis through targeted employment, training, mentorship, community engagement and personal leadership development.

A forestry consultant and the Forest Manager for the Harrop-Procter Community Co-operative, Erik Leslie will discuss the Harrop-Procter climate change adaptation project that uses the 11,300-hectare community forest to demonstrate how forest managers can integrate climate science and risk assessment into practical decision-making in Columbia Basin forests.From 2015 to 2018, Leslie was also the President of the BC Community Forest Association that represents more than 50 community forest organizations across British Columbia.

“I recently heard the term ‘fact-based dreaming’ and I think it’s exactly what these speakers are doing by taking us to an entirely possible, already-existing-or-possible future, a waking dream that can finally displace the nightmare scenarios that too often accompany talk of climate change,” says Jennie Barron, chair of the Mir Centre for Peace at Selkirk College. “These talks combine fact and story, courage, determination, big picture, concrete actions on the ground, reflection and feeling. There is something there for each of us to take away, remember, and act on. I particularly like all the connections speakers are making today between climate and social justice, especially racial justice.” 

Global speakers involved in the three sessions include the architect of the historic 2015 Paris Agreement Christina Figueres, United Kingdom MP David Lammy, inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of the United States Amanda Gorman, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales Sophie Howe, Mayor of Freetown (Sierra Leone) Yvonne Akii-Sawyerr, and a number of others.

Using the social media hashtag #JoinTheCountdown, the goal is to build a better future by cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 in the race to a zero-carbon world. The three-session TEDx talks invite both the Selkirk College and the greater community to take part. Each session will have a different theme and will include an opportunity for asking questions to local speakers:

  • November 1 – Countdown to a fair and thriving future
  • November 8 – Caring for the land and each other
  • November 15 – Transforming our cities and energy systems

“I wonder what would happen if we got truly excited about climate solutions and creating a better future, instead of approaching the topic with dread?” says Laura Sacks, co-leader of the local chapter of CCL. “That’s what Countdown can do: inspire a sense of the possibility so we can accelerate action.” 

The sessions are free, but pre-registration is required. Once registered, participants will be provided the Zoom link needed to join. You can find more information and links to registration at: selkirk.ca/climate-countdown.