Students to tackle impacts of climate change

Students to tackle impacts of climate change

April 21, 2014


By Anne Craig, Communications Officer

Four Queen’s students will join 175 of their university and college peers at a national conference to address climate change and sustainability. Nick Castel (Sc’16), Kristine O’Rielly (MSc), Jessica Peters (Com’17) and Kate Thompson (Sc’15) were selected to represent the university at IMPACT! The Co-operators Youth Program for Sustainability Leadership.

Heading to the IMPACT! conference are, from left: Kristine O'Rielly, Kate Thompson, Jess Peters and Nick Castel.

“We’re extremely excited and humbled to be a part of this unique opportunity,” says Ms. Thompson. “Some of us have already been chatting with several of the other participants about their personal projects and experiences. I can tell you it’s going to be an amazing opportunity to learn and share.”

While at the conference, each of the students will be assigned to a project team, which will be tasked with a specific climate-related challenge. They will team up with experts to develop realistic sustainability solutions to take back to their campuses, communities and workplaces. The national scope of the event inspires a diverse range of students with a passion for sustainability.

“When it comes to the many facets of climate change, adaptation is often considered to be one of the most controversial,” says Ms. O’Rielly. “Many people feel that focusing on climate adaptation rather than mitigation somehow signals we have thrown in the towel. But adaptation is more about preparation than defeat. At this point we know that some degree of climate change will occur, but unfortunately we can’t be certain of how our planet is going to change.”

After the conference is finished, participants are expected to provide regular updates to the IMPACT! alumni on green initiatives underway.

The conference is being held May 23 to 26 at the University of Guelph and will feature astronaut Chris Hadfield as the keynote speaker.