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Global Threat - Pugwash conference to focus on climate change mitigation, adaptation

Gregory Heming is senior advisor with Centre for Local Prosperity in Port-Royal. The group is helping organize the 2017 Pugwash Conference.
Gregory Heming is senior advisor with Centre for Local Prosperity in Port-Royal. The group is helping organize the 2017 Pugwash Conference.

PORT-ROYAL - A conference, modeled after that of an organization started 60 years ago as a brainstorming group to halt the possible nuclear annihilation of the human race, opens in Pugwash later this month to deal with a threat just as deadly – climate change.

The 2017 Pugwash Conference Sept. 28 to Oct. 1 commemorates the first conference held in 1957 when 22 nuclear physicists gathered at the Thinkers Lodge to talk about atomic bombs and nuclear war.

“We were asked to look at the possibility of holding a retreat, that in a sense is patterned after the first 1957 retreat on nuclear war, with the idea that nuclear war was a threat, it’s still a threat now -- as high-level of a threat is climate change,” said Centre for Local Prosperity founder and senior advisor Gregory Heming of Port-Royal.

Local Prosperity is partnering with Thinkers Lodge and Cumberland Energy Authority to organize the conference that includes a day of public events Sept. 28 at various venues in Pugwash, plus a retreat from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at the Thinkers Lodge.

On Oct. 1 from noon to 2 p.m. the public can also attend presentations of the outcomes of the thinkers retreat at Pugwash Peace Hall.

Thinkers

Like the 1957 conference, the climate change retreat will include 22 thinkers with international and regional perspectives on climate change, its impact on local communities, potential adaptation and mitigation strategies, and the potential for building resilient communities, Local Prosperity said in an email.

The key focus will be Project Drawdown that it said will provide an international lens for climate change and the immediate paths forward at the local level.

“The idea is how we would begin to make sense out of climate, with the existing documents that we have – one of which are municipal climate change action plans, we have that data – so we brought in some other people who have a broader view of climate,” said Heming. “One is Project Drawdown out of California that has proposed 100 different solutions to reach the point of drawdown, which is taking enough CO2 out the air that the planet begins to heal. We’ve identified that point. So here’s 100 solutions that might do that.”

Heming said the conference will bring those 100 solutions down to 25 solutions that may fit in Atlantic Canada.

“Then we have a group of 22 thinkers who are going to look at all the things that might have to take place to adapt or mitigate to the changes of the climate,” Heming said. “So this is a realistic, policy look at what can happen to wrap our minds around climate change.”

Report

The conference has a full-time reporter and writer, plus it will be recorded. But Heming said that on Sunday afternoon, he hopes they will be able to make a public statement on what the next process might be.

“Whether that’s realistic or not, I don’t know,” he said. “We want to come out with some specific theories, technologies that apply to the Atlantic Provinces. And then what I want to do is be able to break it down to different provinces, and then further break it down to different municipalities where at the end of the day we might be able to say ‘what can Annapolis County do to either mitigate or adapt to climate change and also drive an economy around those things that we may have to be doing.’”

Annapolis County Warden Timothy Habinski will attend the conference and is excited about being able to bring back information that applies locally to energy, food, and infrastructure.

"We want our children to be safe," he said.

A full schedule of events, a map of Pugwash, and location details are available at: http://centreforlocalprosperity.ca/events-2/thinkers-lodge-retreat/public-students-events-schedule/

The Centre for Local Prosperity is a registered Nova Scotia non-profit organization promoting local economic solutions for rural communities throughout Canada. The centre organizes major conferences and small community-based working sessions and conducts evidence-based studies that often lead to community consultation and implementation.

Visit them at www.centreforlocalprosperity.ca .

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