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Annapolis County's Climate Action Summit looks at risks, seeks community solutions

The Annapolis Basin Conference Centre in Cornwallis Park will be the site of the first Climate Action Summit hosted by the Municipality of the County of Annapolis. The event is open to 175 delegates, is free to attended, and will look at risks associated with the climate crisis and seek community solutions to deal with them.
The Annapolis Basin Conference Centre in Cornwallis Park will be the site of the first Climate Action Summit hosted by the Municipality of the County of Annapolis. The event is open to 175 delegates, is free to attended, and will look at risks associated with the climate crisis and seek community solutions to deal with them. - Lawrence Powell
CORNWALLIS, N.S. —

Just weeks after declaring a climate emergency, Annapolis County will be hosting a Climate Action Summit at the Annapolis Basin Conference Centre with space for 175 delegates – and it’s free to attend.

The Nov. 9 event has been in the making for a while, but Annapolis County Warden Timothy Habinski said a recent extreme weather event just underlines the importance of acting now.

“I think that Hurricane Dorian made the immediacy of climate change really vivid for residents of Annapolis County,” he said. “There isn’t any topic that I’ve heard in public discourse that’s discussed in terms as disempowering as climate change.”

He said the scale of the problem is so huge that individuals, communities, and even entire nations feel unsure what they can really do about.

“Unquestionably this has to be a global effort to actually deal with greenhouse gas emissions and everyone by virtue of being human has an obligation to participate in that effort,” he said. “However, at this point, many of the implications of climate change – like extreme weather events that we just experienced – are now inevitable. Even if we all were to do everything perfectly starting tomorrow, we’re still going to be dealing with the implications of climate change regardless. It’s an issue of how long and how intense those effects will be.”

COLLECTIVE ACTIONS

The Eventbrite website, where people can register at no cost, indicates the summit follows the lead of the United Nations Climate Summit in New York, and will connect residents, businesses, organizations, and municipal government in the County of Annapolis, addressing the local implications of climate change, and the individual and collective actions that need to be taken.

“Participants will learn, empower, and challenge one another through presentations, panel discussions, breakout sessions, a youth panel, and a moderated community forum,” the site says. “The Summit will explore how communities in the County of Annapolis can achieve the best possible prospects of safety, resilience, dignity, and opportunity in the face of our changing climate.”

See Also: CLIMATE EMERGENCY

“What I felt we really needed to do as a community is identify exactly what those threats are going to be, because some of them are significant,” Habinski said. “But fortunately the solutions are not impossible. The solutions actually do lie within the grasp of the local community.”

He said the county has identified that some of the biggest challenges are going to be risks to food security, risks to the stability of our power grid, extreme weather events, and the necessity for crisis response.

“Dealing with displaced persons both within the county, who potentially lose their homes because of climate change and sea level rise; and also potentially people coming in from elsewhere in the province, elsewhere in the nation, and elsewhere in the world because of climate change,” are issues also identified, he said.

DEVELOPING SOLUTIONS

“These are all things we have to think about and manage, and fortunately we’re not starting from scratch because there are individuals and organizations throughout the county who have already given a fair bit of thought to these issues and some of them are active in developing solutions for some of these issues,” Habinski said of the perceived risks. “It appeared to us as a municipality that many of these organizations – and that includes us because we have our own municipal climate change action plan – but many organizations are acting in silos and they don’t know what other organizations or other individuals are doing.”

He said that probably means there’s some duplication of effort taking place across the county.

“We wanted to pull everyone we possibly could together and essentially challenge the community – the solutions for the things we’re going to be dealing with will come from the community itself,” he said. “This is not something that’s going to be solved by government. If people are going to be able to continue to live in Annapolis County with grace and dignity into the future the path towards establishing that foundation begins here. We have to start to prepare for some of the things we think are going to be facing us over the next decades and take steps to mitigate the damage.”

SUMMIT DETAILS

The Annapolis County Climate Action Summit 2019 will take place on Saturday, Nov. 9 at Annapolis Basin Conference Centre in Cornwallis Park and runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A limited number of registrations will be available at the door on the day of the summit from 8 to 8:45 a.m.

Summit organizers are asking participants:

- to take stock of what is being done, what could be done, and how they can contribute.

- what climate change challenges are you most concerned about in Annapolis County?

- Have you identified any solutions?

- What local actions (both individual and collective) and resources are needed to achieve these solutions?

- Are you willing to be a climate action ambassador for your neighbourhood?

Pre-registration is encouraged, as lunch will be provided.

To Register: EVENTBRITE

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