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Vol 40  No 10
February 21, 2008



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Sharing knowledge of climate change in Labrador
by Janet Harron

Canadians see the environment and global warming as the most pressing problem facing today’s world, according to an Environics poll released Feb. 4.

This issue is also of utmost concern to Memorial University geography professor Dr. Trevor Bell. So much so that Dr. Bell is co-chairing an inaugural conference examining the relationship of past, present and future climate and climate change to the land and sea resources of Labrador.

Along with Dr. John Jacobs, honorary research professor in Geography and program manager for the Labrador Highlands Research Group, Dr. Bell hopes to see a variety of community members at the conference, entitled Climate Change and Renewable Resources in Labrador: Looking Toward 2050.

“This conference is intended to be both an exchange of ideas among scientists and a dialogue between scientists and representatives of the communities that are being affected by the changing climate,” said Dr. Bell. “Through listening to conference participants, we want to learn what climate change and its impacts on renewable resources may mean for Labrador communities,” he added.

“One of the mandates of this conference is to address community concerns about the impact of climate change on the ecosystem,” said Dr. Jacobs. “We are specifically interested in hearing from traditional knowledge-holders – this conference is all about sharing knowledge.”

Among the featured speakers on climate change and renewable resources is Valerie Courtois. Ms. Courtois is an expert in forestry and integrated land management with Labrador’s Innu Nation and welcomes the opportunity to speak at the conference.

"This conference is an excellent opportunity to explore how both Innu and Western sciences can be bridged to better understand the impacts of change on ecosystems and the communities that depend on them,” said Ms. Courtois. Posters and displays will be on view each day as an integral part of the conference and all registrants are invited to present visuals for public exhibition.

“This open forum examining one of the major issues for all Canadians is of huge benefit to communities in Labrador and to society at large. It’s another great example of the highly relevant and important work our researchers are engaged in,” added Dr. Reeta Tremblay, dean of Arts.

The conference is sponsored by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the provincial Department of Environment and Conservation, Government of Canada Program for International Polar Year, Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, the Northern Ecosystem Initiative of Environment Canada, and the Labrador Institute of Memorial University.

The conference will take place March 11-13 in the Labrador Interpretation Centre and Community Hall, North West River, Labrador. For further information or to register, please contact


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