Mapping Climate Change

While I am here, posting about websites I have created, I figured I might as well tell you about this past summer’s endeavour.

I worked with the McMaster Centre for Climate Change to create an interactive map of community actions to address climate change.  The site can be found here:  Building the site was a crash course in programming, website design, and various google tools.  Beyond the nuts and bolts of the website, I also gained valuable experience working with community partners interested in changing the local discourse on climate change.

Screenshot of the Climate Change Actions Map.
Screenshot of the Climate Change Actions Map.

I think this site shows off something all too often forgotten: every contribution is meaningful.  People get scared out of action by the big problems facing our society.  When faced with unsustainable growth, war, overpopulation, and climate change, a lot of people just shut down.  It is important to remember that if solutions to these problems were simple and easy, they would probably have already been found.  Big societal problems are complex and difficult, but that doesn’t mean they are unsolvable.  They just take the concerted action of many people.

Sure, the 100 lbs of CO2 you save by carpooling all year may be drowned out by the thousands of tons pumped out by the textile industry, but it’s a step in the right direction.  It’s a symbol.  Carpooling, eating local produce, and supporting alternative energy companies are all symbols of recognition that human actions are affecting the climate.  If you see your neighbours and friends recognizing this fact, you may be inclined to ask them about it.  If enough people realize that there are serious issues with the current state of affairs, we, collectively, can make a difference.

But that collective of engaged, informed, and a little bit enraged citizens does not appear overnight nor out of thin air.  It appears gradually because of simple everyday choices.  So I ask you to learn about climate change, make some changes that will lessen your impact, and tell your friends about it.

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