The Nicholas Sonntag Marine Education Centre (at Gibsons Public Market) is dedicated to environmental sustainability and education. Nick Sonntag, who passed away in 2015, was a force of relentless energy, optimism and creativity. I had the good fortune to work with Nick for 15 years at ESSA, the company that he co-founded in 1979 to apply systems analysis to environmental and social problems, and which just celebrated its 40th birthday.
I recall Nick in the mid-1980s helping policy makers imagine how countries could cope with future changes to the climate. Here we are 35 years later. We’re no longer imagining climate change, we’re experiencing it – fires, floods, hurricanes, droughts, coral reef collapse – and many social and economic reverberations. Greta Thunberg and millions of others (including Sunshine Coasters) have marched for long overdue reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
In the spirit of Nick and Greta’s calls that we act now, the centre will be holding a series of four dialogues on climate change, moving from local to global issues. Our goals are to educate ourselves on how climate change is affecting Howe Sound and the Salish Sea, how we can adapt to these changes, and what we can do to reduce the driving forces behind climate change. Four engaging experts will come to Gibsons to catalyze evening conversations on four topics: local habitats that support salmon (Wednesday, Dec. 4), how climate change is affecting salmon (Wednesday, Dec. 18), how changes in salmon prey and other factors are affecting orcas (Wednesday, Jan. 15), and how communities and countries can adapt to climate change (Tuesday, Feb. 18). Please come join these conversations in the Atrium at the Gibsons Public Market. Everyone is welcome, and donations are gratefully accepted.
Let’s make the Sunshine Coast a model for the world.
David Marmorek, Gibsons, Chair, NSMEC Technical Advisory Committee