This Thursday, January 15, VIU is hosting Robert Shirkey, a former Toronto lawyer who quit his job to pursue Our Horizon, a not-for-profit organization fighting climate change. Shirkey lectures across Canada to demonstrate his organization’s plan to label gas pumps across the country with warning labels, comparable to that on cigarette packaging.
“This idea gives municipalities the chance to change the public perception of climate change,” Tomlinson says, “it is simple, easy to implement and relatively cheap.”
Melissa Tomlinson, a VIU student organizing Shirkey’s lecture, hopes that the awareness grows locally in Nanaimo as it has in Fredricton, NB, gaining the attention of Global News and CBC. Tomlinson, in turn, opened an invitation to Nanaimo’s council. “So far a few have confirmed, including the Mayor,” she says.
The lecture is hosted by ACER (Awareness of Climate change through Education and Research), a VIU-based initiative to “promote a greater understanding of the science of climate change to high school students and teachers throughout Vancouver Island and coastal BC.”
“We can be the ones to start something big,” Tomlinson says.
Shirkey is a UVic alumnus who studied business, economics, and psychology at the undergraduate level prior to his law degree. He operated his private practice in Toronto before becoming executive director of Our Horizon, and speaking to students nationally on the climate. According to the website, his experience as a lawyer allowed Shirkey to become a compelling and entertaining speaker.
The Our Horizon event is free and will be open to the public on January 15 at 7 pm, located on the VIU campus, building 355, room 203.
You can follow Shirkey’s project under the hashtag #facethechange or ourhorizon.org. Through their website, you can sign the petition, receive updates, and check their social media for more information.