Islander urges action following her return from Paris climate summit

Jim Day
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Karalee McAskill, co-ordinator of the Cornwall and Area Watershed Group, encountered a sense of determination and a will to get work done at the Paris Climate Change Conference.

Rising sea levels, coastal erosion, changing ecosystems key areas of concern for P.E.I.

Karalee McAskill has cared deeply for the environment as long as she can remember.

At 15, she landed a summer job with the province through the Environmental Futures Program to help restore fish habitats on P.E.I.

Feeling a connection to the environment was not a passing phase for the 30-year-old Stratford resident.

She has earned a bachelor of science degree in wildlife conservation from the University of Prince Edward Island.

For the last four years she has been co-ordinating the Cornwall and Area Watershed Group with focus placed on North River since it will come on line as a new source for the City of Charlottetown’s water supply in 2016.

McAskill wants her entire career to be related to work that helps preserve and protect the planet.

So last month, filled with heady anticipation, she travelled to the Paris climate change conference and wasnot disappointed by the experience or the outcome of the conference.

Paris produced an agreement hailed as “historic, durable and ambitious”.

Both developed and developing countries are required to limit their emissions to relatively safe levels of 2 C with an aspiration of 1.5 C with regular reviews to ensure these commitments can be increased in line with scientific advice.

McAskill called the agreement welcome, but also long overdue.

“It was very clear that something had to be done,’’ she said.

“We do have to get smarter about energy.’’

McAskill attended the conference from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5, busying herself networking and attending several presentations dealing with how different countries are trying to combat climate change.

“There was such a sense of determination and this will to get work done,’’ she said.

“It was really exciting.’’

McAskill, who finished third running as the NDP candidate for Charlottetown-Sherwood in the provincial election earlier this year, has been invited to speak to students on P.E.I. about climate change.

“We have some major climate change issues here,’’ she said, citing coastal erosion, rising sea levels and changing ecosystems as key areas of concern for the province.

Organizations: University of Prince Edward Island, Area Watershed Group, NDP

Geographic location: Paris, Stratford, North River Charlottetown

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  • AL
    December 31, 2015 - 09:35

    I believe Karalee should think positive instead of negative. If it was not for climate change over the last few thousands of years, she would not have a job in Cornwall, she would freeze to death dressed in her latest fashion and she would be sitting on a glacier. I feel we as Islanders are very thankful that climate change has removed the ice age and given us such a beautiful place to live in. Rather than snow and ice year round we now have the yearly season to grow crops and enjoy outdoor activities. think about it. DO WE REALLY WANT TO RETURN BACK TO THE ICE AGE??.

  • Maria
    December 31, 2015 - 06:22

    Climate change might be true what's causing climate change is where all the BS starts! These groups are looking to piggyback on the environment, an excuse to raise our taxes and introduce a carbon tax! There is absolutely nothing we can do about "changing" climate change, if man wasn't on this planet climate change happens its already proven! What we can do is be prepared for change that's what we need to teach not this bs on reducing energy use!