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Bootcamp brings muscle to climate change

Whistler’s Needham spends day with Al Gore and returns with a message

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There’s a new kind of Bootcamp coming to the Sea to Sky corridor — The Al Gore Bootcamp.

This past weekend Whistler’s Kim Needham took the challenge and spent three days in Montreal with Nobel Peace Laureate and the man behind and 2006 Academy Award nominated movie An Inconvenient Truth Al Gore, Canada’s own David Suzuki, and several other top climate scientists, as she prepares to “spread the word.”

“It was really inspiring,” said Needham.

  “There were just so many interesting people there from different walks of life and lots of people involved in the environment movement, people with biodiesel plants in Alberta, it was really an eye-opener and I learned a lot.”

This is the first Al Gore Boot Camp to be held in Canada and it was a response, like others held across the United Sates, to the growing concern amongst Canadians about global warming, and the confusion that seems to surround the subject.

It was organized by an organization called The Climate Project Canada ( www.climateprojectcanada.org ), which like its American counterpart sprang up in response to Gore’s movie. It aims to take the message of An Inconvenient Truth and spread it to the grass roots through local participants.

Needham is already planning her first seminars for the Sea to Sky community.

“What they would like is for people to commit to doing 10 presentations, but it sounds like people are doing a lot more than that, and I would like to do as many as I can because it is such an important message,” said Needham who has lived in Whistler for 14 years.

While she has always been interested in environmental issues it was Gore’s film that pushed her into action. A local land developer-planner, designer and entrepreneur she is currently consulting on a number of projects including the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District with the Regional Growth Strategy.

“After seeing the movie I just thought I have to do something because I was so horrified by it all,” she said.

“I went on line and applied to go (to the Bootcamp).”

In March she was told she had been chosen as one of the 250 Canadians. While the seminar was free of charge participants have to pay their own travel expenses.

The Bootcamps have already run across the U.S. and one was recently held in India where over 1,000 people participated. Europe is next on the hit list as Gore continues to recruit what he fondly calls his cavalry. Even movie stars are on board, with Cameron Diaz part of the charge.

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