Mapping project tracks climate change in Hamilton
A new McMaster initiative is drawing on the power of community to map the effects of climate change in the Hamilton area.
Funded in the second wave of Forward with Integrity proposals, LEARN-CC* is an online resource developed by the McMaster Centre for Climate Change that calls on local researchers, students, businesses, community organizations and residents to contribute to, and learn from, a growing database of local climate change-related information.
Community members can visit mapclimatechange.ca to report climate-related events such as flooding, wind damage or landslides, as well as submit examples of actions taken to address climate change like setting up car-share locations or installing solar roofs.
This information will then be mapped to provide researchers with a picture of how climate change is impacting the Hamilton area.
“By providing an ever-expanding locally relevant database, new research opportunities will emerge,” says Altaf Arain, Director of the McMaster Centre for Climate Change. “Researchers will be able to share and explore archived information on climate change in ways that will foster innovative collaborations and stimulate communication amongst researchers, organizations and the community- in the GTA and beyond.”
Students will be the cornerstone
According to Arain, McMaster students have a pivotal role to play in this initiative. Students will help collect information, organize it and distribute the data for research and public use. They will also use the information for their own interdisciplinary research on climate change.
Jonathan Farrow, a fourth year Arts and Science student, designed and developed the LEARN-CC website with the help of Jay Brodeur from McMaster’s Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship. Farrow hopes this project will empower students and the broader community to learn about and take action on climate change.
“Too often climate change is thought of as some impending catastrophe that the average person is totally unable to affect in any way, but that’s not the case. Frankly it’s easy to be apathetic when you don’t think there’s anything you can do about it. So this project really attempts to undermine that apathy by saying ‘no, you can do something, look at all the amazing things that people are doing.’”
The power of partnerships
Developed in collaboration with Climate Change Hamilton, The City of Hamilton, Clean Air Hamilton, Green Venture, The Hamilton Conservation Authority, LEARN-CC will work with its partners to engage the Hamilton community on the issue of climate change.
“Partnerships will be instrumental in helping us to realize the potential of this tool,” says Arain. “Climate change is one of the most pressing societal issues of our time, it’s a problem that can’t be tackled in isolation, but by working together to create public awareness and facilitate research, we can begin to take steps in our own community to help us better understand and combat climate change.”
* Local Education and Action Resource Network on Climate Change