St. John’s-based climate activist, Reggie Hynes has been selected to attend the Climate Reality Project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this October. At the conference, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and other prominent environmentalists will get participants up to date on the latest developments in climate science, and provide training on how to get other people involved the movement to stop climate change.
“Al Gore is known as a huge climate activist in America and around the world, so being accepted to go feels like quite the honour,” Hynes said. “He has been working on these issues since the eighties, so to get to see him speak in person is really exciting for me.”
Hynes says he has been passionate about raising awareness about climate change for a long time, but in the last two years he has become more actively involved in the movement. He has gotten in touch with other climate activists in the city and started reaching out to politicians to advocate for a more environmentally friendly waste-management program in the city and the province.
“We’re fairly limited here in the city because of infrastructure and facilities, but it would be nice to see more of an investment in recycling policy so that we could recycle other variations of plastic, as well as other forms of paper products, for example coffee cups,” Hynes said.
“I’d also like to see a curbside composting program in the city. Right now I use Island Composting which is a small company that does curbside compost pickup and they’re fantastic.”
Hynes has begun contacting leaders in provinces that do provide curbside compost pickup to find out how their systems work, and how curbside pickup got implemented in other parts of the country.
Hynes says a curbside compost program would help reduce the province’s production of methane gas, a substance that plays a role in creating climate change. He is also working on a project that would help insure bottle caps get recycled instead of thrown in the garbage in the city.
“We’re a small province with a small population, but we all have to contribute in our own way to the reduction of landfills and to sustainability,” Hynes said.
Hynes wants to attend The Climate Reality Project conference so he can become a better climate activist. In addition to providing people with information about current developments in climate research, participants will get training in public speaking, media engagement strategies, and best practices in grassroots organizing.
Hynes believes he will come back even more motivated to make positive changes in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“I want to go to Pittsburgh so I can meet like-minded people and learn from the best about how to help my province,” Hynes said.
While the conference is free, participants are expected to pay for their own airfare and accommodations. Hynes is currently seeking funding to attend the conference, and his partner has launched a gofundme page on his behalf to help get him to Pittsburgh.