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Climate change focus at AWARE AGM

Ian Bruce to speak about impact on B.C. mountains and consequences for all

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With global warming and climate change on everyone’s mind these days, it’s only appropriate that the guest speak at this year’s AWARE annual general meeting will be Ian Bruce from Melting Mountains.

Melting Mountains is a campaign by the Alpine Club of Canada and David Suzuki Foundation. Bruce’s presentation will focus on the impact that climate change has had on B.C. mountains and glaciers, and the fallout for recreation, tourism, farming, fish, power production and other sectors that rely on a consistent snowpack. Some of the photographs collected are quite dramatic.

The presentation also includes information on how people and organizations can help reduce their own contributions to climate change.

Bruce is a dynamic speaker who has addressed dozens of audiences across the province since the Melting Mountains campaign got underway in November. For more information, visit www.meltingmountains.org.

As for AWARE, the Feb. 3 AGM wraps up another successful year for the group. The meeting is at the Westin Resort and Spa at 7 p.m. It starts with Bruce’s presentation, followed by directors’ reports and election of the board.

AWARE president Wendy Horan, who has led the group for the past two years, is stepping down to concentrate on her Master’s degree in restoration ecology, but plans to stay involved on the board of directors. She also said she would be interested in being president again in the future.

"That’s the thing with AWARE, once you’ve started, it’s hard to stop. A passion for the environment keeps us all going," said Horan. "For an organization entirely run by volunteers we get a lot done."

The list of 2004 accomplishments includes:

• Supporting the Whistler Sustainability Speaker Series, with presentations by Guy Dauncey, Coro Strandberg, Wade Davis and Dr. David Suzuki.

• Supporting environment week, as well as the first ever electronic waste collection event.

• AWARE sat at the table for the Sea to Sky Land and Resource Management Plan, winning numerous concessions over key environmental issues for the region.

• Through the LRMP, AWARE initiated a plan to create a green Olympic legacy in the Soo Valley to offset the development in the Callaghan Valley that was accepted in principle by most table members. The Vancouver Organizing Committee does not acknowledge the plan, and asked AWARE not to use the word "Olympic" in the future. The plan is still in the works, however, as Our Wilderness Legacy, or OWL.

• AWARE participated in several projects around the valley, including a partnership with WORCA to restore sections of the A River Runs Through It bike trail.

• AWARE for the second year benefited from money raised through Cornucopia. Money raised in 2003 supported the Cooperative Auto Network’s car share program, which was launched this year, and helped fund a representative on the Sea to Sky LRMP table.

• The opening of a composting facility in Squamish wrapped up AWARE’s campaign in that department, with Carney’s Waste Systems and local governments taking over the issue.

For 2005, some of the initiatives on the table include the promotion of the OWL campaign, and the planning process for the 2010 Winter Games. Another focus will be on habitat restoration.

One of the most ambitious projects being discussed is to work with the Western Canada Wilderness Committee in the Elaho valley to fix the Meager trail, which has been damaged by storms and use over the past few years.

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