Organizers are hoping the first ever Rotary Climate Fair in Chilliwack can be a catalyst for change.
The climate fair runs all weekend, April 15 and 16, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Chilliwack with a three-pronged focus on climate change with speakers, a job fair, and a trade show, all under one roof, at the Landing Sports Centre.
“I’ve had to turn away speakers,” said a gleeful Robyn Curtis, event organizer, chair of the Rotary Club of Chilliwack climate action committee.
The event has gained momentum, and admission will be free. City of Chilliwack donated the venue and staff, and other community partners stepped forward to donate generously as well mostly with in-kind donations.
“No one has done this before,” Curtis explained.
The truth is many people feel helpless when it comes to the climate change crisis, and the ambitious event is meant to address that very problem.
Things may have shifted since the advent of more wildfires, heat domes, flooding, atmospheric rivers and other climate-related natural disasters. Interest in the climate fair is already percolating from near – and far.
Curtis said she was “gobsmacked” to see registration come in from a seven-person delegation from Uganda.
“This is just a little climate fair in Chilliwack,” she said. “But we have managed to pull together many sought-after experts.”
What’s needed is anything that can deliver a groundswell shift in thinking on the climate front.
“What it’s going to take is a cultural shift,” Curtis said. “It’s not about that Styrofoam cup, or the plastic spoon. We need a cultural shift. It’s everything, from how we shop as a society; how we buy; how we live; and how we vote.”
Someone suggested the climate fair concept was “groundbreaking” and the multifaceted approach is unique in that it can serve all interests.
“But you don’t have to believe in climate change to want to save money on gas,” she said. “That’s the beauty of it.”
Some attendees will just want to hear about the engineering involved in a non-gas powered vehicle. Others want to hear from the emerging experts in their fields.
The trade fair info will showcase programs, technology, and products, about electric cars, dirt bikes, electric boats, solar power, heat pumps and much more.
It’s no accident the focus is squarely on climate change. Chilliwack Rotarians have embraced the challenge of this climate-centred event to dovetail with global efforts by Rotary International, which took on ‘the environment’ as its seventh area of focus last year. They formed a climate change action group that Curtis chairs, which attracted non-Rotary community members to help as well.
Industry reps will be at the fair, and folks will get the low-down on energy-saving tech and the grants available for switching. The trade show will show attendees ways to save money, while still being low-carbon, and gentle on the environment.
It’s also a climate-focused job fair so that companies can accept resumes or talk to those seeking jobs in the new and developing alternative energy and low or no carbon industries.
Here is the Rotary Climate Fair speakers’ list and schedule:
Saturday, April 15 2023
9 a.m. – Eddie Gardner (T’ít’elem Spath) Skwah First Nation, Wild Salmon Defence Alliance
9:30 a.m. – Mayor Ken Popove, City of Chilliwack
10 a.m. – Leona Shaw, Metis Nation BC
11 a.m. – Dr. Carin Bondar, UFV
12 p.m. – Bill Hardy, Canadian Nursery Landscape Association
1 p.m. – Dan Dueck, Stattonrock Group
2 p.m. – Chris Bush, Catalyst Agri-Innovations Society (methane)
3 p.m. – David Leger, H2Portable Power Corp
4 p.m. – Lawrence Kangula, Midwestern Reg. Centre, Democracy & Human Rights (Uganda)
5 p.m. – Brian Minter, Minter Country Gardens
6 p.m. – Dr. Tim Cooper, University of the Fraser Valley (retired)
Sunday, April 16
9:15 a.m. – Brian Coote, Scotia Wealth Management
10 a.m. – Megan Czerpak, FoodMesh
11 a.m. – Speaker TBA, Zero Waste BC
12 p.m. – Thomas Hackney, BC Sustainable Energy Association
1 p.m. – Michael Stanyer, Plug In BC
2 p.m. – Alysha Jones, Canadian Association of Nurses for the Environment
3 p.m. – Dr. Farhan Shafiq, Smart Cities
4 p.m. – Eddie Gardner (T’ít’elem Spath) Skwah First Nation, Wild Salmon Defence Alliance
4:50 – Robyn Curtis, Chair, Climate Committee Action Group, Rotary Club of Chilliwack
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