Bright Spot Climate, SustainDriven and Walker Environmental understand that it is through education and awareness that change can happen. That’s why we support the Banff Marathon and the effort they are making to be responsible and accountable for their environmental impact during this annual event. For the last four years, we have assisted with the effort to make the Banff Marathon the “Greenest” on the planet. We do that by calculating the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the event and offsetting them with our carbon credits to make the event carbon neutral. In addition to offsetting greenhouse gas emissions, there are many ways everyone attending the event can support this effort. Let’s explore the Power of One.
It is easy to imagine a large event like the Banff Marathon having an impact on sustainability when it decides to “go green”. As an individual, it is easy to forget that each one of us has the power and responsibility to significantly reduce our impact on the environment.
A good example is travel to the marathon, which is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the event. Most participants travel to Banff by car, whether that’s directly from their home or from the Calgary airport.
To illustrate, let’s consider one person coming from Edmonton to the marathon, traveling approximately 800 km round trip. This contributes 156 kg C02e to the total greenhouse gas footprint of the marathon. For people who are not familiar with the world of climate change, “CO2e” or “carbon dioxide equivalent is the unit of measure for the impact of carbon dioxide on the environment. Since most participants travel by car to the marathon, if everyone carpooled with just one other participant, emissions would be reduced by 18%. Now we can see how small individual actions such as carpooling to an event, can result in a significant reduction.
That’s the Power of One.
So the next time you think, what’s the point of recycling this one bottle, or carpooling to this one event, you can think about all the other people having the same thought. Together, one person at a time, we can have an impact that will make a difference.
The Banff Marathon has been a world leader in recognizing and responding to the threat of climate change. This year will mark the fourth year that the Marathon has a carbon neutral footprint, and although we know that sounds like a good hing, it is important to remember why we do what we do. It can be difficult to relate to climate change when it’s only discussed in abstract terms, so we thought we’d explain the visible impact climate change has and will have on Banff National Park.
According to a recent report by Environment Canada and Parks Canada, climate change will alter the climactic zones of 31 of Canada’s 39 national parks—Banff included. But what does that actually mean?
It means that several plant and animal species that currently call Banff home may face extinction not only from rising temperatures, but also from forest fires and drought. If they survive those, then they will have to compete with southern non-native species who are likely to invade as their own ecosystems change. Deer and elk have already started migrating further south, which places them at a greater risk of being killed by cars and trains. As climate change will have a disastrous impact on plants and animals, so too, humans will be affected.
Receding glaciers are probably the most referenced impact of climate change when it comes to Banff National park, and while it is true that glaciers like Athabasca lose 16,000,000 cubic metres of ice each year, why does this concern us? Glaciers less than 100 metres thick are likely to disappear within the next 20 years, and when they melt, they release pollutants that have been trapped in the ice. This has an enormous impact on our water systems for which most of Southern Alberta relies. It also means that rivers may run high in spring but dry by the end of summer, affecting agriculture and countless ecosystems that rely on the river.
We hope these concrete examples bolster your support for the offset initiatives of not only the Banff Marathon, but also your daily lives. Small changes lead to big impacts, and while we want to encourage you to still do the things you love—and visit our amazing national parks—there are many ways we can enjoy our beautiful country in environmentally responsible ways.
About Walker and Brightspot: Walker Environmental recovers resources and manages waste across Canada. In Alberta, Walker manages biosolids for the Town of Banff to produce a nutrient rich fertilizer known as N-Rich®. They also operate Canada’s largest grease trap servicing company and collect, process and recycle liquid organics and used cooking oil in major cities in Alberta.
Brightspot Climate: impacts change in a different way. Brightspot believes that lasting change for our climate comes from changing the regulatory system from within. Brightspot Climate works with government agencies and private companies to find best practices to quantify and reduce their carbon footprint, as well as verify their reporting requirements, working within the system to find sustainable change