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Dr. Ian Mauro and
his team focus their
lens on climate change
and adaptation in
Atlantic Canada
10 / Winter 2013 / RECORD
eography and environment
professor, filmmaker, and
Canada Research Chair in
Human Dimensions of Cli-
mate Change Dr. Ian Mauro has been
documenting climate change in the
Canadian Arctic for the past decade. Upon
arriving in Sackville in '11 he decided to
focus his lens on Atlantic Canada.
"This project is putting a human face on
the issue of climate change in Atlantic
Canada," says Mauro. "I want everyday
citizens to understand that this a human
issue and it affects communities. It is not
just about statistics and climate models, it
is about real life and real people."
Mauro assembled a team of artists
and researchers to develop a multi-media
project on climate change and adapta-
tion in Atlantic Canada -- a collaborative
effort between local stakeholders and his
research lab that features a web site, video,
and photo exhibit.
The team includes producer and field
director Ben Phillips ('10); project man-
ager and video editor Alissa Sylvester
('12); anthropology and English student
Bernard Soubry ('13), who has done web
site design and programming; as well
as independent cinematographer Craig
Norris, and graphic designer and anima-
tor Marc Labelle.
Mauro calls this the "YouTube genera-
tion" -- where people are increasingly
looking to the Internet and to multi-
media as a source of information. That is
why he uses these tools to communicate
about climate change.
"The message of the project is that climate
change is real and is impacting Atlantic
Canada in very significant ways," says
Mauro. "It is critical that coastal commu-
nities in the region, and indeed the world,
prepare for this now because it is going to
be very costly and arguably very damaging
to delay the process of adaptation."
He says the project is very timely consid-
ering the recent aftermath of Hurricane
Sandy in New York.
"Hurricane Sandy is a major wake-up call
for coastal communities," says Mauro.
"This project has come out at a perfect
time to not only show what those impacts
could be like in our region, but also what
communities can do to figure out how to
adapt and hopefully find sustainability
over the short, medium, and long term."
Over the past year, the team interviewed
more than 100 local knowledge holders,
academics, government and policy mak-
ers, and industry representatives -- mak-
ing it one of the largest studies of its kind
in Atlantic Canada.
Participants were gathered through
Mauro's research program, a partnership
with the Fundy Biosphere Reserve, and
through the project's main funder, the
Atlantic Climate Adaptation Solutions
Association (ACASA), which has been
working on regional climate change adap-
tation strategies across the region.
"The ultimate culmination is a really nice
integration of these different knowledge
systems," says Mauro.
The "Climate Change in Atlantic Canada"
multi-media web site (climatechangeat- will continue to evolve with
new videos. A documentary is in develop-
ment and placements are being explored
for film festivals throughout Canada and
around the world.
"You can watch these videos and jump
into the lives of these individuals and see
how they are personally being affected by
climate change," Mauro says.
by Melissa Lombard