Climate Conversation — Talking Green at the LU Climate Change Forum

By Kirsti Salmi

Leaves may be changing, but there’s no better time to think green. To help everyone do so, Lakehead University is hosting a Climate Change Forum on September 28 and 29, open to academics, students, and members of the public. The goal is to create dialogue around pressing climate change issues with a focus on local, interdisciplinary research in water, bio-economy, climate modelling, social impacts, and education.

“I’d like for us to be able to contribute to local society and fill research gaps,” says Dr. Sudip Rakshit, a chemical engineering professor, Canada Research Chair, and one of the event organizers. “We talk to local organizations and agencies who know what the climate change problems are in town. As researchers, we want to offer solutions. How can Lakehead researchers, in a collaborative, interdisciplinary format, help the public?”

This is the forum’s inaugural year, starting as a small grassroots idea between departments that evolved into a two-day event bringing regional, national, and international speakers to Lakehead. Dr. Rakshit hopes they can extend climate discussion with events throughout the year, bringing researchers who weren’t able to attend the forum to speak at Lakehead.

The forum will feature panels, student-led debates, lectures, a keynote speech, and even a photo-voice exhibit staged by EarthCare Thunder Bay. While the forum is run by academics and students, Dr. Rakshit strongly encourages members of the public to register for the forum and join the discussion. “People in our community are doing all kinds of work to address climate change, and we can learn from them. At the end of the day, we hope to establish what climate challenges the Lake Superior region faces, pair those problems with professors, researchers, students, and do something about it. Maybe I’m optimistic, but if even small actions come from it, I’ll consider it a success.”

The Lakehead University Climate Change Forum will be held September 28 at the Study Coffeehouse, and September 29 at Bartley Residence in the Conference Centre. Be sure to register with Dr. Rakshit, who can be reached at sudip.rakshit@lakeheadu.ca or 343-8415. For agenda, directions, and more information, visit climatechange.infosuperior.com.