Tantramar Climate Change Week runs for another year

From February 5 to February 11, residents of Sackville and the Tantramar region will be able to participate in the 2022 Tantramar Climate Change Week, organized and presented by EOS Eco-Energy. The first local Climate Change Week was held in 2013, created as “an opportunity to celebrate solutions that exist and to remind ourselves to take action and to adapt to the changes we are already experiencing.”

EOS Eco-Energy, a charitable environmental organization based in Sackville, aims to support and educate on local climate initiatives. The organization is “dedicated to community-based solutions to reducing and adapting to climate change including energy sustainability, renewable energy technologies, sustainable community planning, local watershed issues, and climate adaptation.” EOS Eco-Energy offers a “wide range of services for municipal governments, non-profit organizations, businesses, residents and others” in the Tantramar region. Tantramar Climate Change Week is one of their many projects that include water sample collection, watershed research, climate adaptation and emissions reductions plans, rain garden projects, and educational workshops for residents that focus on weather preparedness, local conservation, and communal, nature-based climate solutions.

While climate change is often discussed in global and national contexts, it has palpable local and provincial effects. New Brunswick is vulnerable to flooding and sea level rise, with substantial rises in water levels being observed provincially; for example, Saint John has recorded a 24 centimeter rise in sea level since 1920. Sackville in particular “is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change impacts, in particular both freshwater and coastal flooding” due to the town’s location that is adjacent to the high tides of the Bay of Fundy and sitting on the Chignecto Isthmus (the strip of land connecting NB and NS). According to the Corporate Climate Change Adaptation Plan from the Town of Sackville, the town’s current worst-case flood scenario would see serious dyke breaches and water surges of 9.1 metres.

Even without catastrophic flooding, Sackville is already seeing the impacts of climate change. “A number of freshwater flood events in the last few years have cut off major routes in the municipality and flooded numerous homes and businesses resulting in costly damage that insurance does not cover,” reads the plan. In the 2020 EOS Eco-Energy Community Resilience Survey, almost 60 percent of respondents indicated that coastal flooding and dyke breach were of very serious concern to them; however, less than 10 percent of respondents indicated they had a family flood plan. The results of the survey also indicate hope and optimism among local residents, with many viewing “the connected, community-minded nature of Sackville [as] a significant resource.” The report continues by saying that residents and local businesses seem interested in learning about local climate impacts and solutions. “Connecting people with those resources and with each other could be an important action to mitigate and adapt to climate change.”

This is one of the goals of Tantramar Climate Change Week. Through a series of free, online, and interactive events, residents of Sackville and the Tantramar region will learn about regional climate change issues, and how individuals can take measures at home, work and school. The week kicked off with an information booth at the Sackville Farmers Market on February 5 and will continue with free, online events until February 11. Early in the week, sessions covered a diverse range of topics including the impacts of climate change on local agriculture, sustainable fashion, community-based natural infrastructure projects like rain gardens and green roofs, and an update on the future of nuclear-free renewable energy in NB.

Sessions will continue on Thursday and Friday as well. On February 10 at 7 p.m., Kirsti Mrazek, the Town of Sackville’s Climate Change Coordinator, will be “giving an overview of the various climate and sustainability plans Sackville has, and discussing current actions that are being developed in order to bring climate change considerations and action into municipal operations.” The next day at 12 p.m., Mazrek will also be giving a presentation on the impact of climate change on oceans and ocean life, with an emphasis on sharks, whales, and sea urchins. The week will end with a free virtual trivia night at 7 p.m. For more information on the sessions and to register, visit: https://eosecoenergy.com/en/climatechangeweek/.

EOS Eco-Energy has events and programs running year-round for Sackville residents interested in learning more about climate change in the region. An online toolkit, “Great Ideas for Inspiring Community Resilience to Climate Change,” (https://eosecoenergy.com/en/great-ideas/) was developed between 2020 and 2021, with ideas inspired by community feedback and hopes for the future of Sackville. “How Nature Can Help Us Adapt,” an online event series, has two upcoming scheduled presentations: the first, on February 9, will cover rain gardens, green roofs, and food forests, while the second, on February 24, will cover nature-based climate solutions for homeowners. All previous sessions are available as recordings at: https://eosecoenergy.com/en/nature/.

EOS Eco-Energy also supports local businesses in becoming more environmentally conscious and reducing their environmental impact. Tantramar Green Shops is “a program for the business community to help reduce their environmental impact through support, promotion and rewarding environmental stewardship.” EOS Eco-Energy can help guide businesses to reduce their environmental impact in all parts of their business, including energy and water consumption, interior and exterior design, and waste management. Local “Green Shops” include the Black Duck Café, Bagtown Brewery, and Priemer Family Dentistry.

With Tantramar Climate Change Week, EOS Eco-Energy continues with their goal of promoting and empowering local solutions to the Sackville-specific effects of climate change. “Climate change issues and sustainable development touch all aspects of our lives and everyone has a role to play in the solutions. EOS continues to partner with many organizations, institutions, businesses, all levels of government, and individual residents to continue empowering and implementing local solutions.” For more information on Climate Change Week and EOS Eco-Energy, visit their website (https://eosecoenergy.com/en/) or check out their Facebook and Twitter pages.

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