Climate Change affects everyone on the planet and almost all of our daily activities. And its scope can feel debilitating. What can one person do in the face of such a massive global phenomenon?
The Climate Cafés are a new initiative aimed at empowering people to make the small but important differences in their lifestyle that can have dramatic effects on the long-term health of our planet.
Modeled on the enormously popular philosopher’s café format, we intend to bring together small groups in the community for peer-to-peer problem solving to significantly reduce our environmental footprint. Incorporated with these community meetings is an online blog website, which will allow all climate café participants to freely exchange issues and ideas at any time.
The Climate Cafés team is comprised of dedicated volunteers from all walks of life, who believe that community action is required immediately if we are to have any hope of addressing climate change.
We believe that the best way for each of us to deal with this potentially catastrophic problem is to engage with other concerned people in small groups, building on our own personal expertise find and develop practical solutions to the multitude of problems we face.
In addition, we want to empower people to take a leadership role in their own communities by providing them with the training and resources they need to organize climate cafés with their own friends and neighbours. We believe the end result will provide all sorts of people with real solutions that we can all implement in order to reduce our global footprints right here and right now.
Heather Harrison – Climate Cafés Chair:
Heather is a philosophy instructor at Kwantlen University College. Her passion is to empower her students to think critically so that they are responsible and engaged citizens. Her belief in the necessity of engagement in the political process for democracy to work motivates not only her teaching but her political and social activism. She believes that the power of the masses is the only real possibility for change. And with the next generation facing the dire consequences of global warming, she believes that there has never been a more critical need for action.
Kurt currently works as a communications consultant for Convergence Strategies. He has worked for a variety of non-profit and political clients. He has also volunteered on a number of environmental initiatives, including most recently, SPEC’s transit campaign. Kurt holds BA and MA degrees in history as well as a Broadcast Journalism Diploma from BCIT. Over the past few years he has become increasingly interested in how we can take small steps to reduce our eco-footprint.
Jessica is a high school teacher in Vancouver and North Vancouver. She believes in the power that youth have to be leaders and hopes to instill a sense of responsibility and connection to the natural world in her students, as well as her community. She has worked with the UBC Farm and for the Pt. Grey Global Warming Forum with hopes of motivating others to take action to address the issues that face our planet today. Jessica also works on a glaciology research project in the St. Elias Mountains in the Yukon with colleagues from UBC and SFU. She is continually inspired by the magnificence of glaciers, but also by their vulnerability to climate change.
At UBC's Sauder School of Business, John Horn is the manager of career development for the institution's brand new Early Career Master's program. John opens doors for his students by planning and delivering workshops, advising students, and developing high level career programming for learners attending Canada's leading academic business school. John has appeared on CBC's The Hour, co-organized a youth employment conference in Kigali, Rwanda, taught a college course about pirates and is currently on the Board of Directors for the East End Food Co-op. John is passionate about building community, and writes about it on The Weekly Gumboot, Vancouver's coolest new blog.
Skip is an ESL teacher in Vancouver. He sucks at writing bios for websites. While small in stature, Skip once left a large carbon footprint. Skip sees a real yearning for practical change, and wants to help facilitate change and is willing to do whatever it takes to make a difference.
A 6th generation Vancouverite, Martin Twigg holds a degree in political science from the University of British Columbia. Specializing in environmental politics and public policy, his studies were chiefly concerned with the dual roles played by public opinion and special interests in shaping Canadian environmental policy. Although currently working in the publishing industry, he continues to follow local and provincial developments relating to the environment on his blog, Rocks and Water.
David has a strong appreciation for the environment, specifically conservation for the preservation of natural systems on our planet. From growing up adjacent to Mundy Park in Coquitlam when the odd deer passed through and bear warnings were frequent, hiking in Ts'yl-os Provincial Park where topo maps from the 1950s show glaciars that have since disappeared, or diving in Costa Rica to see coral choked from silt runoff and killed by herbicide/pesticides, one thing is abundantly clear: we need action now!
Applying his Systems Design Engineering skills to ecosystem simulation modelling work at ESSA Technologies provides an outlet for these interests, however ultimately he believes that grassroots actions coupled political will must be present to affect change. Climate Cafés (and formerly the Global Warming Forum) have been a great part of that puzzle.
Emily Jubenvill grew up on the North Shore of Vancouver, and Bowen Island. With a degree in environmental science from Royal Roads University, she focuses most of her energy on urban agriculture and all things 'sustainable'. She is the Community Gardens Coordinator for the Vancouver Public Space Network, and is working on several community garden projects across the city. Things are exciting working at 3rdWhale, where she manages website content, and organizes outreach campaigns. Emily is also a co-founder of Small Feet Inc., which is a carbon and sustainability consulting firm. When she's not working or volunteering, you can find Emily tending to her vegetable patch, laughing, on a mountain, or by the sea.
Rebeca Duran is a 3rd year student studying New Media and Interaction Design under the School of Interactive Arts and Technology program at Simon Fraser University. As a Marketing and Communications Specialist for SFU Career Services, she was responsible for creating marketing materials - both print and web content - for one of the most innovative departments in the university. Rebeca, is available to be hired for a variety of print and web-based graphic design work, and can be contacted through the Climate Cafes website. Some of her other interests include photography, sketching, and photoshop work.