James Gordon, environmental programs and research co-ordinator in the sustainability office at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C., discussed the effects climate change has on outdoor hockey at a Red Deer River Watershed Alliance forum Friday. File photo by ADVOCATE staff

Climate change’s impact on outdoor hockey discussed in Red Deer

Red Deer River Watershed Alliance held a forum Friday at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

Canadian children don’t get to play ice hockey outside as much as their parents did.

This was one of the discussions at a Red Deer River Watershed Alliance spring forum called Ice, Ice, Maybe? at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in Red Deer on Friday.

The event focused on how climate change impacts winter sports.

One of the speakers at the event, James Gordon, environmental programs and research co-ordinator in the sustainability office at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C., discussed the effects climate change has on outdoor hockey.

“Ten, 20, 30 years ago, you could count on a cold winter for the most part,” said Gordon.

“In the last 10 years, it’s become very obvious we’re basically losing two to three weeks on average if you look at the country as a whole. (Winter) is starting later, ending sooner and with more fluctuations in between.”

Gordon said he’s using outdoor hockey as a “springboard to talk about more important issues that climate change is having” on communities around the world.

“Canadians in general love and have … an appreciation for hockey,” he said.

“Climate change is a difficult thing to talk about. It’s a big thing, it’s an upsetting thing often … so by making it very personal, it is a way in to having a broader discussion.”

Gordon said he hopes people can learn about solutions to climate change.

“It can be simple things and it can be complex things,” he said. “If we all had a million dollars, we could put solar panels on our roofs and drive electric cars, but we don’t all have a million dollars.

“But most of us can probably compost if we aren’t already. … That’s just one example, there’s a huge variety of things we could do.”

Jeff Hanger, Red Deer River Watershed Alliance executive director, said it’s important to learn about climate change.

“Climate change, and how it affects the watershed, is something we at the alliance look at,” said Hanger. “We know we need to look at new plans for how it will affect our watershed.”

About 50 people attended the event. Hanger said he was pleased with the turnout.

“We have some great people to have a good discussion,” he said, adding representatives from the City of Red Deer and Kerry Wood Nature Centre were at the forum.


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