Rising water levels, wildfires, heat waves, and snow storms.
They’re all signs of climate change, a topic that Museum of Dufferin (MOD) Archivist, Laura Camilleri said “everybody wants to know about, yet is never truly relevant to the local level”.
Bringing climate change to a local relevancy, the Museum of Dufferin partnered with Climate Action in Dufferin to launch a new digital exhibition called “Before Your Eyes”. The digital exhibit looks to take the latest science on climate change in pollution and carbon dioxide, connecting the impacts to the local community while educating on solutions to reduce emissions.
“The solution to climate change is community with meaningful action from local municipalities, businesses, organizations, schools, and individuals we can create a prosperous future for the current and future generations of Dufferin County,” said Sara Wick, climate change coordinator at Dufferin County, in a press release.
The idea behind the “Before Your Eyes” exhibit started during the pandemic when staff at the Museum of Dufferin were moved to other departments. Camilleri, at the time, was moved to assist in the climate change department; where she, Wicks, and Kylie-Anne Grube started to concept for the exhibit.
“We thought ‘why not create an exhibit that will help people understand how climate change impacts Dufferin locally’,” said Camilleri.
The annual temperature in Dufferin County has been rising about one degree since 1948, and projections show the temperature trend to continue to rise.
Drawing on the impacts of climate change locally, the exhibit shows the examples of the Day family, who have each year built an ice rink in their back yard.
“Our winters have shortened and temperatures are much warmer giving us less skateable days outdoors. We used to get on the ice more often and well past March Break, but this has changed substantially,” the Day family writes. “At times, the rink houses a pool instead of ice, so it sits useless for days. It’s been hit and miss with winter temperatures fluctuating from minus 40 one day to above zero the next.”
Bring awareness to climate change locally the exhibit uses videos, interactive climate maps and a ‘check your knowledge’ section.
“It definitely gives you an idea of what’s happened in the past and how things are changing now,” said Camilleri. “It gives you opportunities and come options on what we can do to slow down climate change a makes it relevant to your work every day.”
Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press