For the love of snow 

Grassroots campaigns take on global climate change

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"In terms of response, the momentum is just growing so fast. We’re getting 200 people or more out to events, which is a great turnout for some of these small communities, and the people are eager to help," said Bruce. "We were in Rossland for this annual film festival they have, and afterwards all of these filmmakers come up to me and offered me footage and time to help with the presentation, and photographers offering their work. This is a pretty passionate topic for most of the mountain people we talk to, and for good reason."

Originally the Melting Mountains campaign was created by the ACC on behalf of mountain climbers, backcountry skiers and other recreationists concerned about receding glaciers. "But as we did more research we realized how it really affects all facets of mountain life, and all Canadians. We are speaking to Albertans and I think a lot of farmers will come out and support us because they’re realizing that… to water their crops it really depends on glaciers," said Bruce. "They truly are the water towers for the prairies."

The presentation includes some incredible before and after shots taken of glaciers. The Helm Glacier in Garibaldi Park is one of the examples used to show just how far they’ve receded.

"The effects of climate change on mountains are very visual, they’re quite obvious to everybody and it’s easy to show the before and after pictures. People are definitely taken aback by just how quickly glaciers are melting and what it means," said Bruce.

"On the positive side, people are responding well to the solutions, and the success stories are going on right now. There are great new technologies coming out, and because Canada has signed on to Kyoto, there are a great deal of solutions coming out of that."

By challenging people to reduce their own emissions by 20 per cent (an average of one tonne), Canadians will be personally in compliance with Kyoto said Bruce. Some of the elements of the Peak Challenge are basic, from weather-proofing your home in the winter to turning down your hot water heater to 50 degrees Celsius.

"You don’t have to change your lifestyle dramatically to implement these solutions, a lot of them are really practical and easy," said Bruce.

Following the ActionONE fundraiser this Sunday, Melting Mountains will be giving a formal presentation in Whistler at the end of February where they will discuss the program as well as the new research and science that has been introduced since the start of the program two years ago. Among the most recent Environment Canada findings, the snowpack is melting on average a half day sooner each year in recent decades. As a result, many communities are starting to see spring weeks earlier than normal.

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