PART FOUR – ORILLIA. Climate change as seen by citizens from around the world

Please note that the three earlier articles from this series are available at the end of this article.

With ravaging forest fires across Canada, and other natural disasters here and across the globe, Canadians are hearing a lot about climate change these days.

Sustainable Orillia reached out to people in Brazil, Denmark, India and Canada to ask what they, and people in their circles, are thinking, feeling and doing about climate change in their various corners of the world. Earlier articles in this series featured responses from people in Denmark, Brazil and India. Their responses were invited to three questions:

1. How do most people in your local network view climate change?

2. How do you personally perceive climate change?

3. What changes, if any, have you made in your own life in response to the threats of climate change?

Today we hear from a resident of Orillia. Madeleine Fournier is a young Canadian environmental
activist living in Orillia who works for a local environmental NGO.

Her responses follow.

How do most people in your circle, where you live, view the threat of climate change?

Madeleine: “I am fortunate to be surrounded by people who perceive . . . climate change as the real and urgent threat that it is. However, I realize that this is largely because I work at an environmental non-profit and many of my hobbies have to do with the environment, so I am very much in an “echo chamber” while the wider society is becoming increasingly polarized and divided on such topics. I try to make an effort to connect with others who might not be on the same page as me, and bridge some awareness, education and understanding.”

How do you perceive the threats of climate change, personally?

Madeleine: “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report concluded that we need to limit global warming to 1.5°C in order to avoid some of the worst global catastrophes, but, due to the inaction of political leaders, we are not on track to reduce emissions to meet this threshold. We are already seeing the repercussions, from increased deadly wildfires and flooding to droughts. Personally, I see climate change as the result of years of living in an economic system that prioritizes profit over public good. Worse yet, marginalized groups and those who contribute the least to greenhouse gas emissions are the ones most affected by climate change.”

What changes, if any, have you made in your own life in response to the threats of climate change?

Madeleine: “Since graduating from university with a degree in Global Studies, Environmental Sustainability, and Community Engagement, I have been less focused on personal changes and individual action, and more on building community. I am thankful to be a part of various communities that respond to the threats of climate change such as Green Orillia (a grassroots group dedicated to climate and social justice advocacy), The Couchiching Conservancy (a non-profit land trust that protects 14,000+ acres of wilderness in the region), Gojijing Truth and Reconciliation Roundtable and Lakehead Indigenous Initiatives, and various community gardening initiatives. We can only create lasting and meaningful change by working together.

Different parts of the world. Different responses to climate change. While all our respondents are aware of the threat, they advocate various solutions.

What solutions will we, in Orillia, find as we move forward?


This is the 4th in an ongoing series – click below to read any or all of the earlier perspectives from around the world:

PART ONE – Denmark – Ellen Larsen.

Click here

PART TWO – Brazil – Fernanda de Custodio.

PART THREE – India – Ranjan Solomon
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