Full Frame: Climate Change with Catherine Potvin

Full Frame

Full Frame Climate Change

The impacts of climate change are enormous, urgent and widespread, but what are solutions to tackle this global problem? One answer comes from nature’s “technology” to capture carbon — tropical forests.

The World Resources Institutes estimates that stopping deforestation and restoring forests could remove seven billion metric tons of CO2 emissions annually. That’s as much as taking 1.5 billion cars off the road.

In this week’s Full Frame, host Mike Walter talks with the woman at the forefront of this fight to preserve forests, plant biologist, Catherine Potvin a professor at McGill University in Canada. For the past three decades, Professor Potvin has studied the role of plants in mitigating global warming. Her fight to save the planet has taken her everywhere from United Nations conventions as a negotiator to the depths of the Panamanian forests as a collaborator with indigenous tribes.

“If you have people that lived intimately with a forest, they are part of the solution,” Potvin says. “They have preserved those forests for a long, long, long time, hundreds and hundreds of years.”

When Professor Potvin first entered this field in the 1980s, few had heard of climate change. Today, the topic is ubiquitous, but the path towards a sustainable future is varied. To help drive the conversation about Canada’s energy future, Professor Potvin launched a project called Sustainable Canada Dialogues to bring together dozens of researchers, across the country, to make recommendations on actions that the government should take. In the second part of her interview, Professor Potvin shares her vision for a low-carbon future.

Rising global temperatures are forcing millions to flee their homes, either because of extreme weather or lack of water. In Guna Yala Islands in Panama, rising sea levels are forcing the indigenous Kuna people to rethink their way of life.