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Taking personal responsibility on Earth Day

“It’s all about minimizing the cumulative impact of what we are doing everyday. Like getting on our bikes and riding to work if we can. And making sure our garbage is going in the right place and not in our rivers and ditches.”

James Woodhouse is currently the department chair and an instructor in Environmental Sciences at Lakeland College, Vermilion. Friday April 22nd is Earth Day and the environmental scientist is sharing some of his concerns.

“The big challenge I see or the big picture challenge is balancing those three pillars of sustainability. We are concerned about the environment. We also have to balance that social side; the economy. And then of course the environmental side, and looking at all of those equally to keep things going and sustainable and healthy.”

Woodhouse will be transitioning to dean of the department in July and has been with Lakeland College for seven years. He sees the role that the energy sector plays in the economy and discusses the transition phase to renewables.

“We are seeing a lot more interest in renewables. How we are going to manage that in Alberta. Renewable energy of course has a footprint on the landscape. We still are mindful that oil and gas is probably going to be here for a little bit, probably a long bit and we will have to continue to manage those legacy effects as we move away from that.”

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Lakeland College has had renewable energy programs for over 10 years and Woodhouse says he sees an integration taking place as he discusses aspects of transitioning to renewable energy.

“What we are seeing is this kind of integration of maybe what was once a fringe thing, like solar panels on your roof, being integrated into more of those everyday conversations that we are having in the classroom and students are exploring and saying what is the reality of this.”

Woodhouse concludes by reminding us about the impact our actions have even with simple things like turning the lights off.

Earth Day was first observed in 1970 to show support for the need to protect the environment.

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