Bras d'Or Lake Talks

After a successful launch of World Oceans Day in 2015 we are pleased to announce the addition of the Bras d’ Or Lake TALKS. This forum is for interested parties to gather to share stories, possibilities and affects about the health of the World’s Oceans, the well-being of our coastal communities, and what enhanced role the Bras d’Or Lake, Science, Research, Education and can and should play in addressing these concerns.
“I spent most of the day at the wharf and saw a lot of families with children walking out to and back from the ship. While I think the program in the parish hall was great. I think there is a real potential for having a festival atmosphere at the wharf. I know the wind certainly put a damper on things in terms of activities at the wharf. A big tent next year might help with cover. Anita and Ben were fantastic. The canteen and face painting were great additions. Some cover with more hands-on children’s activities would really give it that festival feel. “ - NS Highland Village

“That was one grand event in Iona yesterday. Congratulations to all, and Thank You! “
- Member, Bras d'Or Lake Biosphere Reserve Association

“A big "thank you" and "congratulations" for such a wonderful event yesterday. Please pass on our appreciation to all the volunteers that made this happen! “
- Chair, Bras d’Or Biosphere
“It was a great day! The talks were great and having the ship there was an asset that needs to be considered for the next one.” – Teacher (Sydney), CBVSB

“Wonderful event! An article will be posted in the “Trident” - a RCN east coast military news publication that is not only available on bases across Canada but usually can be found in the adjacent communities as well”
- Platoon Warrant Officer, JPSU Nova Scotia , Dept. of National Defence

With the support of our Event Partners we will launch our inaugural Bras d’ Or Lake TALKS – a gathering of concerned citizens along with scientists and community leaders to discuss emerging issues and opportunities that pertain to the Lake as an extraordinary salt water ocean estuary – as was clearly outlined by Tim Lambert, retired DFO scientist – our key note speaker as last year.

Beauty, Science & Culture meet at the Barra Strait in the

The Bras d’Or Lake estuary and its watershed, while nearly pristine compared to many other coastal ecosystems, is changing at an accelerating rate as we enter the second decade of the 21st Century.
Water temperatures have been typically warmer, and winter ice coverage dramatically reduced, over the past three decades. Shorelines have also experienced greater erosion from storm impacts (e.g. Spectacle Island, off the Washabuck Peninsula in St. Patrick's Channel, is now mostly submerged).

Other variations, with less obvious links to global climate change, include the arrivals of invasive species around the turn of the last century, such as the Green Crab and MSX parasite, which wiped out much of the oyster production in the estuary and largely removed the quintessential Bras d’Or Lake oyster from the menus of North America’s finer restaurants.
Economic activity associated with oyster farming has been greatly diminished, and recovery is a slow process. Similar patterns of decline have also been evident in other fisheries and economic activities in the Bras d’Or Biosphere (now a Reserve in UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program).

We cannot place a lid over these waters to exempt them from species invasions, ocean acidification or further effects of global warming. But we CAN enhance our resilience to such changes, by taking the time and making the effort to better understand and communicate the changing status of this inland sea and its many coastal communities.
While doing so, it will be crucial to learn from local efforts in ecosystem-based science and community-based management, as well as from those in other jurisdictions also adapting to climate change.
The 2016 Bras d’Or TALKS, envisioned as the first in an ongoing series of dialogues amongst the people of the Bras d’Or Biosphere, will feature stories of evolution and adaption in terms of its ecosystems, communities and cultures since the end of the last ice age through the periods of colonization.

We want input from our audience as well as invited speakers!

We are pleased to have a list of distinguished panelists including:
- Fred Baechler (Hydrogeologist, EXP)
 - Dan Christmas (Senior Advisor, Membertou)
- Jim Foulds (Chair, Bras d'Or Lake Biosphere Reserve Association)
- Lori Kennedy (Co-Founder, Louisbourg Seafoods)

Our Keynote Speaker: Matthew McCandless

Founding chief executive of International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD) -Experimental Lakes Area. Matt’s primary responsibilities are with the administration and operation of the world’s only whole-ecosystem freshwater research facility. This involves oversight of research and field station operations, administration, human resources, and fundraising.

Each panelist will inspire the round table discussion by speaking to one or more of the key topics.
With intent to inform, inspire and encourage the next generation, the TALKS will be accessible to teens, adults, nonscientists, scientists and educators, with affordable fees for each made possible through our sponsor’s support.

This year's theme is ADAPTING to CHANGE in CANADA’S INLAND SEA. You will hear about, and enter discussions on:

The State of the Ecosystem: The Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere, in contrast to most other large estuaries in North America, is in excellent condition. The challenge is to maintain ecological integrity while also enhancing economic productivity. This is a happy position to be in, but we need to first have an accurate baseline and rigorous metrics of change so we can apply a precautionary approach to development. We also need the right spirit!

The Need for Adaptation: Several attributes of the watershed, estuary and their interaction at the shoreline are already changing with the climate, and this is expected to accelerate through the remainder of the century. Some of the changes will have negative, and others positive, effects on ecosystem processes and the goods and services they provide to us and the other members of the Biosphere. We need to anticipate these changes and develop strategies for adaptation that strike a balance of ecologic and economic priorities. Both prediction and adaptation to climate change require knowledge, skills and attitudes that we need to acquire proficiency in.

The Opportunities for Development: The current human population of the Biosphere is less than half what it was a century ago, and the average age exceeds 46 years (well past the reproductive optimum). The challenge of sustainable development here, therefore, requires strategies that differ from those applicable to more typical situations of continuous population growth and inter-generational balance. We must envision alternative futures for the Bras d’Or Biosphere, and create scenarios for adaptation to both environmental and societal change.

The Roles of Research and Education
Few would disagree that this century’s major environmental problems stem from continuation and aggravation of issues which, currently, do not receive adequate policy attention and/or have not been researched sufficiently. Education – in all forms: experiential, formal, place-based, biophilic, etc. – is essential, but not sufficient, to meeting all the challenges summarized above; the 2016 Bras d’Or TALKS and proposed ‘Aros na Mara Centre for Marine Research and Education’ will play pivotal roles in this crucial endeavour.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
– Albert Einstein

• What questions will you have for our speakers and panelists?
• What new approaches do you think are necessary to ensure vitality of the
Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere?
• What will you take away, as action items, to help implement?


Bras d'Or TALKS
Oceans Exhibition Hall
Wharf Program
Partners & Links

World Oceans Day 2015

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