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TAKING ACTION NOW Eric Thorleifson, Manager of Facilities, School District No. 38 (Richmond)

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Presentation on theme: "TAKING ACTION NOW Eric Thorleifson, Manager of Facilities, School District No. 38 (Richmond)"— Presentation transcript:

1 TAKING ACTION NOW Eric Thorleifson, Manager of Facilities, School District No. 38 (Richmond)

2 Overview Where we come from Megatrends: the world in 50 years: climate change, resource depletion, extinction of species. Canadian record Environmental Sustainability Solutions are local and global

3 Some History Earth is about 4.5 billion years old Life has been evolving for the past 4 billion years First land plants 500 million years ago Homo sapiens arrived 100,000 years ago Oil was discovered 100 years ago

4 The World in 2050 : Human population now about 6 billion and trending to 9 billion. Massive human encroachment on natural environments world wide. Species extinction trending to the loss of 50% of plant and animal species on the planet. Non-renewable resources like oil and natural gas will be essentially used up. Global warming and climate change will have increased average temperatures between 2 and 5 C.

5 What’s Happening? Global warming and climate change caused primarily by man made increases in green house gases (GHG’s) Species extinctions caused by human encroachment on natural environments on a massive scale AND Spread of species by human means, “invasive species” Massive and unsustainable consumption of resources

6 Some facts and figures: The “Hockey Stick” graph- temperature variations from “normal” over the past 2000 years.

7 More detail: This graphs shows temperature changes over the last 150 years.

8 Non-renewable resource picture Energy supplies will need to change drastically

9 Sea Levels One scenario pictured at right- new shorelines as a result of a possible 7 meter sea level rise over the next 100 years.

10 Is this REALITY? YES, the scientific debate on AGW is mostly over, (the debate in news media is not over). (see graphic from AR4) Temperatures are rising faster than predicted by climate models in some areas Ice is melting in Greenland and Antarctica faster than expected. Oil production is peaking. Biologists refer to the “Holocene Extinction Event.”

11 World Gross Domestic Product A measure of the industrial output of the world, rising strongly. Good, right? A traditional measure of “success”

12 World “Living Planet Index” measures trends in populations of wild species, shows 40% decline since 1970.

13 World Ecological Footprint A measure of environmental sustainability, it measures our demand on natural resources, where 1.0 is sustainable.

14 Canadian Footprint 22 tonnes GHG per capita vs 10 to 12 in Europe Highest energy use per capita in the world, along with USA and Australia See footprint graphic from Living Planet Report 2006 George Monbiot says we’re disgusting

15 Taking Action on a Global scale: The Kyoto Accord: Acknowledges major climate problems that need to be dealt with by all nations. Sets voluntary goals for emission reductions. Failed to sign up big emitters like US and Australia (“the Tragedy of the Commons”) Gives a “free ride” to emerging economies like India and China. BUT, better than nothing.

16 Canada’s Kyoto commitments Kyoto target is 567 MT by Current production is 730 MT. We’re not going to make it. “Canada’s New Government” is backsliding on the commitment to Kyoto

17 RSB is taking action: Major Energy and Natural Resource conservation initiative to reduce our output of GHG’s, and save money. Richmond Sustainability Action Team 3R Project- Reduce, Re-use, Recycle

18 Environmental Sustainability The District’s environmental sustainability activities provide opportunities to increase student knowledge of and concern for the environment, and encourage a positive change in student behaviour in regards to acting responsibly towards the environment. These activities support the idea of students as global citizens by helping students to develop life-long habits to contribute to the classroom, the school, and the community”.

19 Sustainability Initiatives Multi-part series of workshops School teams make project proposals District provides funding Wrap-up session Green Gala for reporting out Data collection is essential part of process

20 Sustainability Network Informal network of students, parents, teachers, administrators, members of the community. Open to everyone. Meet regularly to discuss sustainability and environmental issues and solutions

21 Richmond Student Sustainability Action Team OTC Out- reach 2005 Idle Free Campaign 2006

22 Sustainability workshops Garbology 101

23 Eco-fest McRoberts Secondary School, in conjunction with Board office staff An Earth Day Celebration, RSB style

24 3 R PROJECT Reduce, re-use, recycle Recycling pilot project with City of Richmond. Emy Lai is the sponsor Lots of ways to reduce Lots of ways to re-use Educational component will be developed to complement the program

25 What can you do? Think long term! Re-consider core values! Think Globally, act Locally! Education is the key!

26 Questions?

27 Final word: Edward O. Wilson Had people taken the alert signals seriously, as intelligent people must, this 1992 book [The Diversity of Life] would have set the basis for a new level of discussions on the environment and the current ongoing worldwide biotic holocaust exterminating species at the rate of one every 20 minutes. People might be working on solutions by now instead of still wallowing in ignorance. The facts are clearly and well laid out. The evidence is presented, the theories and data explained at length, at a reasonable cost in paperback (or free from the public lending library). Eight years later people are still presenting in public flawed paradigms (perhaps deliberately) to excuse their gluttonous behaviour which is crushing the planetary life-support systems.

28 Sources, further reading: Edward O. Wilson, “The Future of Life”, Vintage Books, 2002 Ronald Wright, “A Short History of Progress”, CBC Massey Lecture Series, Anansi Press, 2004 Jared Diamond, “Collapse”, Penguin Books, 2006 World Wildlife Fund, Living Planet Report 2004 John Grace, “The Kyoto Accord and some implications for Canadians”, John Grace,Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, UBC, 2004 RL Evans, “Pathways to a Sustainable Energy Future”, CERC, UBC BC Ministry of Education, “Social Responsibility, A Framework”, School District No. 38 (Richmond), various documents. Wikipedia.org various documents


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