April 17, 2024

Western and WeCLISH meet Chatham-Kent Rotary and Municipality climate action teams 

“The climate of our municipality has become hotter, wetter, and wilder over the past decades, and this trend will likely continue,” said Gabriel Clarke, Manager, Growth & Sustainability of the Chatham-Kent (CK) Municipality in laying out the importance of developing Climate Change Action Plan in a meeting with Rotarians and Western University/WeCLISH scientists.  


Photo (left to right): Margaret Gray, Barry Fraser, Ron Allingham, Gabriel Clarke, Gordon McBean, Katrina Moser, John Lawrence, and Don Shropshire. 

In 2019, the CK residents tangibly felt the adverse effects of climate change on their doorsteps due to record high water levels, flooding, and river erosion on the north shore of Lake Erie and the Thames River. This prompted the municipality to declare a climate change emergency. Since then, the three-member municipality climate action team, including Gabriel Clarke, Margaret Gray and Allison Lambing, has developed climate change scenarios with historical data and engaged intensively with counsellors and communities to set climate change focus areas. Now, they are in the process of creating an ambitious climate change action plan that resonates across its rural and urban communities, with diverse interests across the board.  

The team, sharing their terms of reference with four quadrants on mitigation and adaptation for the communities and corporate municipality, expressed their openness to the possibility of collaborative research, knowledge mobilization, and action with the Rotarians and Western University and its Climate Centre – WeCLISH.  

Rotarians Don Shropshire, Barry Fraser, Ron Allingham, and John Lawrence shared their keen interest in collaborating with the municipality to implement their data-driven climate action plan, aligned with the Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group’s (ESRAG) environmental area of focus. They offered their insights into the local stakeholders and network for community mobilization.  

From Western and WeCLISH, Dr. Gordon McBean shared literature and the Institute of Catastrophic Loss Reduction’s resources to build climate-resilient homes. Dr. Laila Rahman expressed interest in conducting participatory climate change and health research, while Dr. Katrina Moser emphasized harnessing the common interest to bring together diverse interest groups to spark climate action.