Alberta citizens wanted for dialogue on water and our changing climate

Calgary’s East Village during the 2013 flood. (Image from Wikipedia.)
Calgary’s East Village during the 2013 flood. (Image from Wikipedia.)

Calgary – In the wake of the devastating floods in Alberta last year, issues surrounding water and climate change are of greater concern than ever to the citizens of this province.

Alberta Climate Dialogue, a community-university research alliance, is recruiting people from diverse backgrounds for a citizen-based dialogue on water and climate change.

The day-long event will be held February 22 at the University of Lethbridge, with participants learning about the effects of climate change on water, while sharing their thoughts on the issues and developing recommendations for action.

The event is being organized in collaboration with the Oldman Watershed Council, a community-based, not-for-profit organization that seeks to find practical solutions to environmental challenges.

“Alberta Climate Dialogue is exploring how a well-designed citizen deliberation might shift the politics of climate change in Alberta,” explains Gwendolyn Blue, an assistant professor in the University of Calgary’s Department of Geography, who is also leading the climate dialogue project. “All of us have a stake in our future climate and all of us are affected by water.”

In recruiting this group, Blue stresses that organizers are not looking for activists or industry spokespersons. ”We want to hear from the unusual suspects,” she says. “We want average citizens. People don’t need to know about climate change to take part. This isn’t an event where everybody has to believe the same thing. We want a range of people who think differently.”

The group will be assembled with the diversity encompassing gender, occupation, ethnicity and age, and an honorarium will be offered to participants.

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