Research Café discusses climate change and the economy

Climate change and the effects on the local economy are on the bill of the next Research Café.

Climate change and the effects on the local economy are on the bill of the next Research Café.

Sizzling-hot summers and ice-cold winters are just the tip of the thermometer – or iceberg – of climate change.

The most obvious impacts are hazy heat waves that trigger asthmatic attacks and deaths from heat stroke on the one extreme, or flash snow and ice storms that make driving a nightmare on the other end.

But what about the impact of climate change on other parts of our lives and economy.

In Niagara, what might be the effects of the grape and wine industry or tourism?

The grape industry and its companion, the tourism industry are mainstays of the Niagara economy. What happens when frosts or severely cold temperatures occur at a time when grape buds are most vulnerable? How do wineries ensure that Niagara’s high-quality wine continues to flow despite the damaging temperatures?

And what are we going to do about climate change and all the challenges it imposes? Which agencies or government bodies regulate climate change? What do ecologically sound, sustainable policies look like?

A panel of researchers from the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) will address these and other questions during a Feb. 12 Research Café entitled the “Environmental Sustainability in a Changing Climate,” happening at Pond Inlet at 4:30 p.m.

Presenters will include ESRC director Ryan Plummer, post-doctoral fellow Julia Baird, Debbie Inglis, director of the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, MA student Kerrie Pickering, biologist Liette Vasseur and honours graduate Sarah Merza.

Among other things, the panelists will show how long-term shifts in weather conditions are having profound impacts on food supply, energy needs, manufacturing processes, business operations, community activities and virtually all aspects of day-to-day life we take for granted.

“The ESRC is on the front line of new directions in research at Brock,” says Michael Plyley, Dean of Graduate Studies, who approached the ESRC about participating in the café. “The centre is connecting with industries, communities and governments here and abroad to create strategies that will address urgent environmental challenges. As well, the ESRC is in the process of bringing on board a graduate program that will generate another source of research and scholarship in this field.”

The café is one of several events held in conjunction with the Mapping the New Knowledges graduate student research conference presented by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Students’ Association and the Office of Research Services.

Visit the website for more information.

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