“Weathering Change – Navigating a New Climate” was the theme of the 2015 Latornell Conservation Symposium. The opening plenary session on Nov. 17 featured Blair Feltmate, associate professor in the Faculty of Environment at University of Waterloo. His keynote address was “Unnatural Alliances: Ecological and Financial Interests Align Under Climate Change.” His main point was that sustainability is good for business. Showing that the costs of climate change are material, he demonstrated how important it is to adapt to climate change. He criticized the “management by disaster mentality,” and gave the example of how retaining wetlands can lower the risk of floods. Pointing out that people are motivated by self interest, he urged environmentalists to regard businesses as investors, not funders.
An interesting element of this session was that at the side of the room, Charlotte Young of Picture Your Thoughts was recording the talk by sketching, drawing and making notes on a whiteboard. Called visual thinking and graphic recording, the technique produces live time large-scale murals.
The Latornell Conservation Symposium is an annual three-day conference co-hosted by Conservation Ontario to provide a forum for the conservation movement. It has been held since 1993 and draws about 1,000 people. There were about 49 sessions to choose from, in seven topic areas including watershed management, natural heritage, and communications.
A highlight of the conference is the presentation of the Latornell Leadership Awards to people who have made life-long contributions to conservation. This year’s winners were Muriel Andreae of London, Ian Buchanan of Newmarket, Tom Prout of Exeter, and Bob Rogers of Sudbury.
Photos by Mike Davis except where noted.