Imagine going to a pot-luck on your block where, over a glass of wine, you learn from your neighbour that there is a way to actually see how much heat (and money) you are losing through your home’s single pane windows and poorly sealed ceilings… Or learning that several of your neighbours had energy audits done to their homes and had dramatically improved their energy efficiency. And that local businesses even provided discounts to residents on your block for materials used in their home retrofits.
This is more or less what happened on a small community on Eagle Island, in West Vancouver, BC. Initiated by film-maker and mother Tarah Stafford, an Eagle Island resident, this community-led movement took off two years ago. Most neighbours have now done energy audits, many have retrofitted their homes, and carbon footprints have been significantly cut.
Copyright: Julie Goodhew, 2011
It has spawned a wider movement called Cool Neighbourhoods, which seeks to replicate and expand this innovative grassroots model, offering free thermal imaging to local residents. Continue reading
Day in day out, dog-walkers go about their neighbourhood with Fido, and can’t help but notice changes and trends in the weather, when trees come into bloom, and where water ponds in low-spots. I believe that this makes dog-owners, and other locals, ideal observers of climate change at the neighbourhood level, provided they are armed with the right knowledge and tools to recognize and record the signs of local climate change.
Perhaps we think too much about ‘global warming’ and do ‘think globally’, when we need to spend more time ‘thinking locally’ about ‘local warming’ and other effects. How many starving polar bears have you met on your block? How many retreating glaciers can you see from your house? As studies have shown (Leiserowitz, 2007), such disconnects from everyday life help explain why we have been unsuccessful in more fully engaging the public and policy makers on climate change issues.
Visualizing Climate Change investigates, among other ways of motivating communities with visual media, how local citizens such as dog-walkers can look for clues to climate change in their own neighbourhood.