In February 2007, I was sitting in my living room, listening to CBC Radio News, when I heard the fourth scientific report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The conclusion was that if humanity keeps on its current course of carbon dioxide production, the planet will be a very difficult place to live on 40 years from now. Powerful thoughts surged through my mind when I heard the news.
What do you think will happen if we can’t predict the weather and the oceans rise? Clearly, there will be massive migrations of people looking for food, water and a place to live.
In that moment I knew that social justice issues of unmanageable proportions will be precipitated if humanity does not reign in our current carbon dioxide production.
I was 40 years old and pregnant with my third daughter. I promised that baby inside of me that mommy was going to do what she could to make sure her world, 40 years from now, would be OK.
In September 2007, I applied to be trained by former (United States) vice-president Al Gore and the team of experts at the Climate Project. In February 2008, when I found out that I was going to be trained to be a volunteer climate change presenter, I was thrilled, yet shocked.
I could not believe that I was the person from Sudbury to be trained because of all the environmental expertise in this town. When I went for training and told people that I was from Sudbury, the often repeated reply was, “We are expecting big things from Sudbury.”
After training, I was invited to be a blogger in the Greennexxus. My impression was that my blogs would be read only by fellow Climate Project trainees. My first blog was about how Sudbury inspired me to believe that we were going to be OK with regards to the climate crisis.
A day after posting my blog, I received a phone call from CBC Newsworld in Toronto. Apparently my blog was also posted on the CBC One Million Acts of Green website. CBC Newsworld came to Sudbury to tape a three minute news piece on why I feel that Sudbury will be one of the cities that lead the world out of the climate crisis.
It is now February 2011. I am inspired more than ever by this city. We have 38 volunteer citizen climate lobbyists who are working towards creating political will for a stable climate at the federal level.
Locally, we have crossed a huge threshold in preparing our city for the local social justice issues of adapting to our changing climate at the Moving Forward Together Conference, February 24-26, 2011.
Over 40 people faced the reality of the climate crisis this weekend. Both the Citizens Climate Lobbyist Group and the Sudbury Climate Consortium are looking for more people to join us.
For the first time in four years since I made that promise to my daughter, I can see light at the end of the tunnel. The world is watching Sudbury. We are leading the way.
Cathy Orlando co-chair of Sudbury’s Climate Consortium group leader of the Citizens Climate Lobby science outreach co-ordinator, Laurentian University