This week on Terra Informa, we have two gems from our archives for you. First, we look back on the 2014 Peoples’ Social Forum and how that event brought diverse groups of people together to collaborate on building strategies to create social change. Next up, we have a story on the massive Greenland ice sheet melt of summer 2012, when 97% of the ice sheet melted in just four days.
Messy, Loud, and Joyous (2014 People’s Social Forum)
We see all kinds of groups fighting for their own unique and equally worthy causes every day. In one corner you’ve got people defending refugee rights. In another you’ve got a group bringing down the cost of healthy food in Nunavut. Over by the door you’ve got an activist fighting against mining in her community. Often this is how civil society works in Canada. You’ve got a room full of people in NGOs, unions, Facebook groups, all fighting for their own cause, without seeing how they could support each other.
2014’s Peoples’ Social Forum in Ottawa brought together thousands of people from across Canada who want to shift the direction the country is going. And it basically said, to have the future any of us want, we’ve got to build a future together. Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips was in Ottawa at the 2014 Peoples’ Social Forum a few years ago. Here’s his take on the messy, loud, and joyous business of bringing all these groups together.
Greenland ice sheet melt
In July 2012, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist Son Nghiem noticed that 97 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet surface melted in just four days. Since Greenland’s Arctic ice sheet is massive – covering almost the entire island, and kilometres thick in most places. NASA estimates that if it all melted, global sea level would rise by about twenty feet. Son Nghiem’s first instinct was to double-check the data. Chris Chang-Yen Phillips reached Son Nghiem in California for this story that summer, and with ice on our minds after the 2,240 square miles, trillion-ton piece of the Larson-C ice shelf broke off last month in Antartica, we thought we would re-air his piece.
Photo by NASA