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Anthropocene screening leads to great discussion on South Shore, NS

The South Shore chapter hosted a screening of the visually-stimulating documentary Anthropocene: The Human Epoch this past Friday in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, with 150 people in attendance. The film as described on their website: “At the intersection of art and science, ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch witnesses in an experiential and non-didactic sense a critical moment in geological history — bringing a provocative and unforgettable experience of our species’ breadth and impact.”

Given the intensity of the visuals and despite the length of the film, the chapter knew it was important to facilitate a debrief and discussion immediately afterward. Marion Moore, the contact person for the chapter and facilitator of the discussion, said that “… people were visibly moved and … expressed feelings of despair.”

This transitioned to a conversation about successful local organizing, with people from lots of different campaigns sharing stories. People spoke from Extinction Rebellion, Plastic-Free Lunenburg, the Green Party and the South Shore chapter; people spoke of community gardens, credit unions, conservation and stewardship, the mobilizing around clearcutting and biomass, and the #FridaysForFuture climate student strikes (started by Greta Thunburg). The discussion wrapped up with a student noting that they has observed a real shift; for example now at Mount Allison, students across many disciplines are concerned about climate change, not just those in Environmental sciences (which likely connects with the divestment movement which has been very successful at raising awareness on campus at Mount A along with Dalhousie and other universities).

At least 40 people stayed for the discussion after watching the film in Lunenburg. Photo credit: Marion Moore

One Mahone Bay Councillor shared the news that their Municipal Council recently passed a resolution declaring a climate emergency (as Halifax and Vancouver have done recently), and suggested those from other municipalities should call on their governments to do the same! A great call to action for everyone reading this blog. For more information on this movement, click here.

The Council has been supporting frontline communities opposing major project like some shown in the film since its inception, including the Alberta tar sands. In the Atlantic, ongoing struggles include Offshore Nova Scotia (Campaign to Protect Offshore NS), Muskrat Falls (working with the Labrador Land Protectors), Alton Gas (Treaty Truckhouse camp) and Sisson Brook (Wolastoq Grandmothers).

We believe in a just transition to a renewable economy, and call on those in positions of power become climate leaders! As my colleague Bronwen stated in an earlier blog, “…  in addition to keep-it-in-the-ground efforts to curtail oil sands expansion, we also need to knit all the climate solutions we know into a more compelling and tangible vision. We need to call more loudly than ever for funding for renewables, energy efficiency, health, education, ecological agriculture, and other low carbon sectors. We need to call for worker retraining, clean up of abandoned oil projects, making our cities walkable, bikeable & transit-friendly, and upholding Indigenous rights. We need to call for a Green New Deal as the progressive wing of the U.S. Democrats, amongst many others, are calling for these days.”

Council of Canadians chapters organize events like film screenings, rallies and public forums in communities across the country. Visit the Council of Canadians’ events calendar to see upcoming events, or learn more about joining a chapter or creating a new one in your community.

Photo credit: Marion Moore