Climate change boot camp teaches adaptation strategies

The Nova Scotia Department of Environment says it can't tackle climate change alone.

It's now expanding a program designed to teach other departments and community partners about climate adaptation strategies.

"It's great to talk to people about making change," said Jason Hollett, executive director of the Environment Department's climate change team. "But you really have to help people make those changes. And that's where the focus really needs to be right now."

The department posted a notice last week that it is seeking an "educational designer" to help create the curriculum for the training program. The program will then be rolled out to six departments, plus additional partners and stakeholders.

"It's not just [about] watching a five-minute video and then walking away and saying that you've done it," Hollett said. "It's meant to be meaningful engagement."

Brett Ruskin/CBC

The goal is to share how climate change will affect all government departments — not just Environment. For the past year and a half, for instance, the provincial Department of Agriculture has been taking the climate change adaptation training.

"There was a bad frost a couple years ago that had a large impact on the blueberry industry. There was even an impact on pumpkins this year," said Hollett. "So how do we adapt for those things that we know are happening."

The other departments will include Community Services, Health and three that have yet to be named.

"Things like health ... ticks are becoming more prevalent throughout the province, and that has implications for lime disease," said Hollett. "Those impacts are only going to be greater over time as the climate continues to change."

Provincial and federal co-operation

The program is partially funded by the federal government.

Natural Resources Canada is contributing $1 million from its Building Regional Adaptation Capacity and Expertise (BRACE) program.

The program's website states: "BRACE addresses a critical barrier that is limiting action to reduce climate change impacts in Canada: knowledge and tools exist, but the capacity to use them is limited." 

The window to submit applications to help design the curriculum closes on Nov. 7.