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How Saskatoon residents are using personal Climate Goals to drive positive change

How Saskatoon residents are using personal Climate Goals to drive positive change

How these Saskatoon residents are using personal climate goals to drive positive change

From drought to destructive flooding across the country, 2021 awakened some people to the fact that climate change is real and a problem to deal with now. 

If you feel overwhelmed and need some ideas, this is the place for you. CBC Saskatoon Morning is profiling people taking climate action — both big and small— in the Actions to Inspire series.

All of them hope their changes will inspire others to do the same. 

These are just a few of the actions that they are taking: a man renovating his house to save energy, a student trying to electrify a truck his grandfather gave him, and a woman who is trying to get his house more energy-efficient.

Climate goal: Electrify a Truck

Myles Wright shows his progress in converting his grandfather’s Dodge half ton from 1980s Dodge to an electric motor. (Submitted Glenn Wright

Old trucks are notorious for being gas-guzzlers. Myles Wright, an undergraduate in electrical engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, claims he can save thousands of dollars by electrifying a 1980s Dodge half-ton he received from his grandfather. 

The truck had many engine problems. Wright saw an opportunity to align two of his climate goals: to own an electric vehicle and not to have to buy it new.

He stated that “The best thing about this project is it’s not as wasteful than buying a new vehicle because it’s about recycling and actually trying to make the environment better by reusing what’s already there and changing only the powertrain.” Saskatoon Morning’s Leisha Grebinski.

LISTEN | Host Leisha Grebinski speaks with Miles Wright on Saskatoon Morning 

6:55A gas-guzzling Dodge Dodge half-ton 1980s from his grandfather is transformed into an electric truck

Old trucks are notorious for being gas guzzlers. An electrical engineering student at U of S claims that electrifying an old half-ton truck from his family will help him save thousands at the pump. But will he be able to save money over the long term? Host Leisha Grebinski asks Myles Wright. 6:55

Wright stated that it is easy to become environmentally friendly after you have done the hard work. In this instance, it will cost approximately 1,400 hours and $18,000 to do the work. He anticipates that he will save $200 per month on gasoline, and will only be allowed to drive the vehicle in summer.

Wright said a lot of people think electric cars are like unicorns — magical things that don’t really work. Wright hopes to see his truck in action and convince people that electric cars are a good investment.

Climate goal: Retrofit a House

Jim Clifford stated that retrofitting his home shows how Saskatoon residents want to reduce their carbon footprint. This can have a snowball effect. (Submitted By Jim Clifford.

Jim Clifford doesn’t believe building to code is enough. He is not impressed by the environmental standards in place when his house was built in 2013.

Clifford is ready for a retrofit after years of taking steps like installing solar panels on the house and buying an affordable used electric car.

His family is adding insulation to the attic and improving the seal around the hatch.

The financial investment for this project is low at about $10,000

Clifford stated that he is aware that such actions are unlikely to make a significant impact on global greenhouse gas emissions. 

He stated, “You’re never going to change the course history.” “Individual actions get us really nowhere, but individual actions where we talk about it and build community around changing our behaviour … if we share this with other members of the community we start to build that snowball effect.”

He’s already seen this happen. After Clifford’s family purchased theirs, Clifford’s neighbors bought an electric car.

Climate goal: Compassion

“Our house is on fire, so we have to do something about this.”

Kira Judge said she has long felt that sentiment toward the environment. She volunteers with Saskatoon Cycles, and bikes almost everywhere she goes.

She’s noticed a lot more people in her friends circle who realize that she bikes because she loves it and not because she is poor. She said that rather than seeing it negatively, it felt like an awakening for those around her.

Judge stated that she would be more compassionate for those who finally recognize that the environment is what they have and should be kind to it.

Judge stated that she understands that many people are living in denial due to the fact that information about climate change and greenhouse gasses has been at times deliberately confusing.

She said, “One thing I am contributing as conscious being is to not judge others where they’re at.”

Climate goal: Community gardening

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Clarenz Salvador, a Saskatoon resident, hopes to start a community gardening project. It’s her small step in combating climate change. (Submitted by Clarenz Salvador.

Clarenz Salvador said she values food security. This has inspired her to either start a community garden or volunteer at one in 2022.

Salvador stated, “I feel that a large part of combating climate crisis is providing food for peoples, especially those who are less lucky.”

The University of Saskatchewan student said a lot of people overlook the opportunity to provide more fruits and vegetables as a solution to climate change.

Climate goal: A few small steps

Aditi Garg describes herself as an outdoor enthusiast. (Don Somers/CBC)

Aditi Garg, Saskatoon, started to take small steps. She walks to work and says she is taking small steps to reduce her carbon footprint.

She had a plan before the pandemic to reduce her vehicle emissions by 20% in one year. She swapped out her vehicle for a bicycle on the long journey from one Saskatoon suburb into the next.

The pandemic led to her moving closer to work and jolted her climate goal into overdrive.

“I am walking every day,” she stated.

Garg, an educator, often speaks out on climate change.

She stated that the reality of the climate crisis is that it can make us feel like a drop in a bucket at times, which can lead to despair or hopelessness.

She expressed her concern about climate change to elected officials to counter that feeling. These officials can create regulations that business and industry need to follow.

She said, “The people who can make an even greater impact are the ones we need to keep in touch with.”

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