By Lynn Martel
When it comes
to climate change in the high alpine, mountain climbers are in the position to
experience the phenomenon of melting glaciers first hand.
unique perspective comes a unique responsibility, says Mike Mortimer, Alpine
Club of Canada director of external relations.
with the ACC’s 2006 Centennial celebrations, the club is hosting Canada’s first
ever workshop on climate change focussed specifically on mountain regions.
10 and 11 in Banff, the two-day workshop, titled
Change and its Affect on the Alpine, will examine
the physical and
recreational impacts of climate change in alpine environments worldwide, and
seek out ways in which the international mountaineering community might respond
to these changes.
workshop is planned as one component of the general assembly of the
International Mountaineering and
Climbing Federation (UIAA), happening in Banff Oct. 14. With 89 members, from
Andorra to Chile, Israel to Malaysia, the Netherlands and the 700,000 strong
German mountaineering association, 80 to 100 international delegates are
expected to attend, including the presidents of at least 70 mountaineering
at the Banff Centre, workshop sessions include such topics as Climate Change
Impacts on the World’s Mountains from a Global Perspective, the Implications of
Global Change for Canadian Mountains, and the Role of the UIAA and its Member
Organizations in Addressing Climate Change Impacts on Mountain Regions
include Dr. Shawn Marshall, University of Calgary Associate Professor in
glaciology and climatology — whose presentation will include a field trip
to Bow Lake and the Columbia Icefield — and Dr. David Sauchyn, chief
scientist at the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative at the University of
Regina, and member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
well, Dr. Henry Vaux, whose family launched the study of glaciers in the
Selkirk Mountain of B.C.’s Glacier National Park over a century ago, will
present an evening slide show.
As the UIAA’s
first general assembly to include discussions on climate change, in addition to
facilitating discussion and establishing protocols for minimizing human impact
in mountain regions worldwide, Mortimer said he hoped the workshop would also
serve to raise awareness among the general and mountaineering public.