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2014-06-18 at 16:00

Predict and prepare

By Jamie Smith,
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THUNDER BAY -- The consequences of climate change on people and communities can sometimes rear its ugly head.

Amy Freeze knows that all too well. A meteorologist at WABC-TV in New York City, she won an Emmy for her coverage of superstorm Sandy, which caused $65 billion in damage in 2012.

While her city dealt with the wreckage, water that filled its sewers and subways eventually forced its rat population to the surface, causing a whole new set of problems.

"These are some of the impacts that storms can have that may not be top of mind right away," she said.

As climate change makes extreme weather events more frequent and severe, Freeze wants communities and people to try and predict the future and be more prepared. It's the reason she's in Thunder Bay as a keynote speaker as more than 100 mayors from Canada and the U.S. meet for the three-day Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.  

"We don't have to know all the right answers we only have to ask the right questions," she said Wednesday afternoon at Prince Arthur's landing as the conference kicked off.

Mayor Keith Hobbs, who has been chair of the initiative over the past year, said climate change has already had an huge impact on the city.

"We saw that first-hand during the flooding of 2012," he said.

It's one of several topics on tap during the conference. Invasive species, especially Asian carp, remains top of mind. As always humans make that list as well.

Like many cities around the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence, Thunder Bay is looking to ban microplastics. Otherwise known as microbeads, they're used in everything from toothpastes to face scrubs. And they can wreak havoc on marine ecosystems. 

"We're taking on those big corporations that put microplastics in their products," he said.

The city is also looking to get rid of plastic water bottles, that's why the initiative's legacy project for Thunder Bay is a water filling station, unveiled at the waterfront Wednesday.

Hobbs said the initiative is all about making sure the waters are protected and making sure senior levels of government know. Municipalities are often on the frontlines of the issues around the Great Lakes.

"We see the erosion of our waterfronts and we see the pollution in our waters," he said.


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Duncan Debunker says:
Are you kidding me!?..

We have 100 mayors together to talk environment and what's on the agenda?...Plastic beads!
Meanwhile, the 6.5 Billion Northern Gateway Pipeline (a much more urgent issue) received it's first federal approval this week. Despite 100 of the country's top scientist petitioning Mr. Harper to reconsider.

So Harper gets to cozy up with Big Oil, and what do we get?..Less plastic bottles and a water fountain? *facepalm*
6/18/2014 5:34:52 PM
westfort resident says:
"As climate change makes extreme weather events more frequent and severe, Freeze wants communities and people to try and predict the future and be more prepared."

Specifically, how can one predict the future and be more prepared?

Mayor Keith Hobbs: "We're taking on those big corporations that put microplastics in their products".

Specifically, how does this group plan to take on those "big corporations"?
6/18/2014 8:36:50 PM
fastball says:
But you might be able to detect patterns by studying the weather patterns and data. For example, continuing warming weather could bring Tornado Alley's furthest northern point from Minneapolis a few hundred miles higher to NW Ontario - so you build accordingly. You could build further infrastructure that might be able to handle much more water runoff from big rain storms. You might change the way you lay water-pipes or build roadways.
As for taking on the corporations - you take 'em one group at a time, one city at a time...until such time as you now have groups comprising of hundreds of cities, with a correspondingly louder voice - like this group.
6/19/2014 7:30:03 AM
ou812 says:
How can Hobbs be for reducing the causes of climate change???

Check the tape (council meeting April 7th ish)... I am pretty sure he made a comment about wanting the whole Williams Bog area plowed over for more housing. Do some research on the benefits of wetlands Hobbs!
6/18/2014 9:42:16 PM
Shane Caker says:
Hobbs, the self proclaimed hardest working mayor on the planet, as we can clearly see in this photo, will figure this all out folks. So relax. All will be well.
6/19/2014 12:09:08 AM
iceman says:
What is the problem with water bottles. everyone used to drink coke, now they drink water, is this not better. Same amount of bottles
6/19/2014 9:03:10 AM
Harold says:
All will be well when Mr Boshkoff becomes Mayor
6/19/2014 11:31:19 AM
opinions2014 says:
BLAH BLAH BLAH>>>Tired of these couch potato critics...I'm sure most the critics would freeze up if they had to be leaders of a town or city. the cities and councils can do a city ban on bottles as one major city did and other bans that are environmentally damaging to the world.
6/19/2014 11:36:02 AM
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