Climate change is an undeniable reality that is impacting the places we hold dear, regardless of where we come from. As a Canadian who grew up in southern Ontario, I have fond memories of skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway during Winterlude, a beloved outdoor festival that attracts thousands of visitors each year. I used to strap on my skates every morning as the Rideau was the way I commuted to Parliamant Hill. Unfortunately, this year, the Canal will remain closed due to higher-than-average temperatures, marking the first time since 1971 that skating will not be possible.

The impact of climate change is not limited to Winterlude or Ottawa. The Canadian and northern American tradition of backyard hockey rinks and ice fishing on lakes is also at risk due to warmer winters. The ice fishing season has started later, and the thin, slushy ice poses a danger to those who venture out onto the lakes. In addition, the First Nations, who rely on fishing as an essential part of their diet and cultural heritage, is suffering due to limited fishing opportunities caused by climate change. This underscores the risk climate change presents to many First Nations that rely on hunting, fishing, and foraging to combat food insecurity.

The impact of climate change on our beloved traditions is real and demands immediate attention. It’s crucial to take collective action to mitigate the effects of climate change and preserve the places and activities we cherish for generations to come. Industrial Hemp can be part of that solution. #Hemp Can Help.

Geoff Whaling – Chair of National Hemp Association