The Municipality of Annapolis hosted a Climate Action Summit at Cornwallis Park on Saturday. There were over one hundred and fifty citizens in attendance. Overnight snow greeted us, as we drove down Highway #101 to Deep Brook.The day was structured into three parts:
a) keynote presentations from the Municipality and COGS;
b) community presentations;
c) specific breakout groups after lunch.
The keynotes were Timothy Habinski, Gregory Heming and Ed Symonds. Timothy emphasizes the need for action rather than talk ‘Be brave and be kind’.
Gregory reviewed a number of past actions by the county, including the municipal climate change action plan, the forestry review and economic development 2050. Themes included local agriculture, local energy, housing, education and training, clean air, water and soil. The move towards the third Industrial revolution: the restorative economy and right livelihood. Ed described his work at COGS and in particular the role of community mapping.
Community presentations were made by Medway Community Forest Cooperative, Acadian Seaplants, Bruce Family Farm, Nikian Farm, CARP, SNBRA, Centrelea Community Centre, the Red Cross and citizens concerned about plastics.
After an excellent buffet lunch, the afternoon was the opportunity to go into more depth. The discussion groups included energy resilience, displaced persons, crisis response, natural climate solutions, food independence. Given the inaction of the McNeil government on forestry, my interest was to understand and receive an update from Extinction Rebellion (XR) (Nina Newington) and the Healthy Forest Coalition (Donna Crossland).
By 4 pm, the enormity of the agenda and the cool temperatures in the Conference Centre forced an early retreat to the warmth of the woodstove back in Paradise.
There were a number of takeaways from the day.
1) there is an impressive number of engaged citizens in Annapolis County.
2) from the discussion on climate forestry, there is a need for private woodlots owners to think more about the economic dimensions of land trusts.
3) from a creative ‘humour ‘ perspective, I loved the concept from XR,
‘where is Stephen ?’ campaign. Right now, he is in China!
4) there is potential for a network of solar-powered community centres to mitigate climate risk
Thinking about the complexity of the climate change agenda, and our inability to comprehend the interaction between the discussion topics in the afternoon; on returning home, looking for solace, I pulled down off the bookshelf Rooted in the Land edited by William Vitek and Wes Jackson. Essays on community and place. Published in 1996. Almost twenty-five years ago.
I would recommend the essay by David Orr, ‘Re-Ruralizing Education’. He starts with this quotation from Will Rogers:
“It ain’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble.
It’s what we know that ain’t right.”
Another essay, in the same book, which struck a chord, by Eric Zencey, ‘The Rootless Professors’.
At the follow-up Summit in 2020, I look forward to seeing positive action and further celebration of rural Nova Scotia.
Thanks to Roger Mosher, Bill Crossman and Heather Stewart for their company.
To the Municipality for organizing the Summit. And all the engaged citizens.
Edward for his graphics contribution. Larry Powell for his encouragement with the blog.
William Vitek and Wes Jackson(Ed). 1996. Rooted in the Land. Essays on Community and Place. Yale University Press.