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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
When Johanna Busch felt ready to teach her students about climate change, she realized she was not prepared for the strong emotional reactions of the lesson. Learning about climate change sent some students spiralling into cycles of anxiety, some even requiring clinical support. They asked questions about whether the world was ending and if we were all doomed.
As with many science topics, it is not enough for us to just explain the processes and mechanics of climate change to youth. Adults need to be ready to support youth emotionally, when talking about these tough topics. Here are some strategies to help with this.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Let’s Talk Science and the Royal Society of Canada have partnered to provide Globe and Mail readers with relevant coverage about issues that affect us all – from education to the impact of leading-edge scientific discoveries.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Ottawa is failing to deliver on key climate policies, and carbon-pricing is too hard on Indigenous groups, small biz, too weak on industry: environment commissioner
- Resources: Newfoundland’s Mi’kmaq eye future with natural gas partnership
- Report: Cutting oil sands emissions by 40 per cent will cost between $45-billion and $65-billion from 2024 through 2030
- Wildlife: Calgary is being asked to choose the city’s official bird – it has pitted magpie against chickadee, but also underscores the need to protect them
- From The Narhwal: On Edmonton’s fringe, refineries are just one part of a larger air pollution puzzle
A deeper dive
Spear-meets-sensor approach is what Far North needs to tackle climate change
Jenn Thornhill Verma is a freelance reporter and member of the Oxford Climate Journalism Network. For this week’s deeper dive, she talks about an Inuk fisherman who’s tackling climate change by combining traditional knowledge and scientific process.
The first time Joey Angnatok crossed the ice, he was an infant, bundled up in his mother’s arms, returning home from the hospital. That was 1976 and the ice around Nain, the northernmost community on the Labrador coast, was as strong and dependable as a mother’s love.
But the first two decades of Angnatok’s life then coincided with the beginning of a warming trend. Since the mid-1990s (around when Angnatok first captained his own fishing vessel), the sea ice around Nain has persistently weakened. Fast-forward to last year, which was one of the weakest sea ice seasons on record — not just in Nain, but the entire Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Accompanying the weakening sea ice are record-breaking temperatures in the atmosphere and at the bottom of the ocean too. The last 10-15 years have produced the top three weakest sea ice seasons, warmest air temperatures and warmest ocean floor temperatures in this region.
These record-breaking years – what scientists call anomalies, outliers and extremes – are the telltale signs of the world warming due to climate change.
Contending with this warming trend has become increasingly difficult but also considerably more urgent since sea ice is critical infrastructure as ice roads and hunting grounds in this region. A 2010 unpublished community survey found that 75 per cent of respondents (based on 200 Nain residents) reported they could not predict ice conditions in the previous winter.
“Once upon a time, you could almost predict that something was coming but I find it’s getting harder and harder to even try and predict the weather and conditions,” says Angnatok, whose work commonly combines traditional Inuit knowledge with scientific process to gauge and mitigate the changing environmental conditions and their effects – be it on people or wildlife.
Like many coastal communities in a country with the longest coastline on the planet (35 per cent of which includes the coastlines of Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit Homeland), Nain is dependent on those, like Captain Joey Angnatok, wearing the boots in the fishing boats in harbours as the lifeblood of community. Angnatok’s ice spear meets ice sensor approach is exactly what the Far North needs to keep ahead of the effects of climate change — as a first step, understanding what those effects are in real time.
Read Jenn’s full story of how Angnatok is combining Inuit knowledge with scientific expertise to fight climate change in the Far North.
What else you missed
- Plastic pollution is accelerating the consequences of climate change in Canada’s Arctic, according to new research
- The self-immolation of a U.S. environmental activist reveals the dark reality of ‘climate anxiety’
- Polar bear shot dead after venturing into residential area in Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula
- Climate change putting 4 per cent of global GDP at risk by 2050, new study estimates
- One-fifth of reptiles worldwide face risk of extinction
- Curbing Canadian forest fires could be an affordable way to cut emissions, study shows
- Vast forest losses in 2021 imperil global climate targets: report
- Climate change may increase spread of new infectious diseases
- Environmental groups rip new caribou protection deal between Ontario and Ottawa
- B.C. announces $19-Million in funding to Forests Ministry to fight climate change
Opinion and analysis
Jeffrey Jones: Energy crisis only complicating Canada’s green transition
Editorial board: These are the holes to patch in Canada’s climate policy
This week, from ROB Magazine:
The saying goes: the wind doesn’t always gust, and the sun doesn’t always shine. That’s why investors are placing big bets on Hydrostor’s energy-storage technology.
An inventor in Toronto had modified a technique called advanced compressed-air energy storage to store compressed air in deep underground caverns, and is now on the cusp of playing a key role in an accelerated adoption of renewable energy as the world confronts the climate crisis.
Also read: Pressure is growing on companies to better disclose their ESG activities. Is a reporting standard finally on the horizon?
- Eight favoured Canadian stocks with low levels of ESG risk
- Global miners rank ESG as their top concern. Really?
- Canadian companies win Musk Foundation awards for work on carbon dioxide removal
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Alex Ince-Cushman and Daniel MacDonald thinking up ways to help with digital energy management.
I’m Alex Ince-Cushman, a science buff with a Ph.D. in nuclear physics and co-founder of Branch Energy, a renewable energy company. And I’m Daniel MacDonald, an architect, serial entrepreneur, and co-founder of Branch Energy.
As lifelong friends from Toronto, our roots in this city have shaped our views on sustainability and climate resilience. We’ve seen firsthand the impact that climate-friendly technology and policies can have on a community. And that, combined with a realization that climate change can be battled with existing tech, one carbon footprint at a time, is why we founded Branch Energy.
Toronto has committed to going net-zero by 2040, and we want to advocate for a net-zero lifestyle far and wide. We believe in data-driven solutions supported by research, such as using AI tech in the home to assist homeowners with digital energy management. As renewable energy thought leaders, we are honoured to be a part of the international climate resilience conversation. This is a battle that will be won one homeowner at a time, and we are ready and willing to lead the charge.
- Alex and Daniel
Do you know an engaged individual? Someone who represents the real engines pursuing change in the country? Email us at GlobeClimate@globeandmail.com to tell us about them.
Photo of the week
Guides and Explainers
- Want to learn to invest sustainably? We have a class for that: Green Investing 101 newsletter course for the climate-conscious investor. Not sure you need help? Take our quiz to challenge your knowledge.
- We've rounded up our reporters' content to help you learn about what a carbon tax is, what happened at COP 26, and just generally how Canada will change because of climate change.
- We have ways to make your travelling more sustainable and if you like to read, here are books to help the environmentalist in you grow, as well as a downloadable e-book of Micro Skills - Little Steps to Big Change.
Catch up on Globe Climate
- Across the African continent, climate crises inflict suffering on millions
- An investigation into the murky world of ESG ratings
- To stop allergy season from getting worse, mitigate climate change