'Climate Positive' Theme of Symposium

January 05, 2009 - News Release

Raising awareness about climate change and the environmental issues threatening the world's ecosystems is the goal of the 15th annual Environmental Sciences Symposium Jan. 10 in Rozanski Hall.

The student-run day-long event is expected to attract hundreds of students, academics and members of the public. It will feature workshops, seminars and lectures on the theme "Towards Climate Positive." Speakers will discuss how to develop an optimistic approach to dealing with climate change, as well as the diverse options for climate action. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and talks begin at 9:15 a.m.

The roster of speakers includes singer/songwriter and activist Sarah Harmer, environmental activist Severn Cullis-Suzuki and consultant and activist David Noble.

Harmer will give the keynote address at 9:15 a.m. In 2005 she co-founded PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land), an organization which campaigned to protect the Niagara Escarpment from a proposed gravel development. To support the effort, she and her band embarked on a tour of the escarpment, hiking the Bruce Trail and performing in theatres and community halls in towns along the way. A documentary of the tour, Escarpment Blues, was released in 2006.

Noble will speak at 11:45 a.m. An artist, researcher, activist and U of G graduate, he founded 2degreesC, a Guelph-based sustainability consulting group. He participated in and supported the launch of the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change in 2006, convened the International Conference of Youth in 2007, and was a keynote speaker at the Asian Youth Climate Summit in 2008. He is also an associate of the International Institute for Sustainable Development and a research associate of the Centre for Urban Health Initiatives.

Cullis-Suzuki will give the symposium's endnote address at 3:45 p.m. Her talk on "Towards Climate Positive: Rising to the Challenge" will look at ways people can mobilize to make a difference. Cullis-Suzuki has been active in environmental and social justice work since kindergarten. At age nine she started the Environmental Children’s Organization, a group of children committed to learning and teaching other kids about environmental issues. She also co-founded the Skyfish Project, an Internet-based think tank that encourages youth to speak out for their future and adopt a sustainable lifestyle.

Advance tickets for the symposium are $10 for U of G students and $15 for non-students, and can be purchased at the Info Desk on Level 1 of the University Centre or online at www.uoguelph.ca/~envsymp. Tickets at the door are $12 and $17. More information is available online.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, l.hunt@uoguelph.ca, or Barry Gunn, Ext. 56982, bagunn@uoguelph.ca

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