First Things First grows annual symposium

First Things First’s second energy symposium is even bigger

Following up on their successful solar energy symposium last spring, First Things First is putting on an even larger event this week.

“We have some simply amazing speakers coming in,” said Jim Beattie, spokesperson for First Things First, a local environmental group encouraging awareness and action on climate change.

More: Solar power symposium a success in Penticton

The list includes keynote speaker Alicia Clancy from the David Suzuki Foundation, addressing global trends in renewable energy at noon in the Shatford Centre on Saturday for the free one-day symposium.

Brock Nanson, president of the Tesla Owners Club of B.C. is also on the speakers’ list, discussing the perks and challenges of owning an electric car, several of which will be on display.

Last year’s conference focused on solar, but this year’s conference, Energy: our present, our future, addresses a variety of topics on energy and climate change, ranging from wind power to energy retrofit programs.

The need to control humanity’s carbon footprint is paramount, and Beattie said they are trying to cover they variety of ways people can help.

“Renewables are necessary. It’s not just a lifestyle,” said Beattie, noting solar and wind power are making inroads in the Okanagan, as is geothermal energy.

As last year, the public portion of the symposium is a one-day event. This year, it’s hosted at Penticton Secondary School and First Things First is expanding their reach into the classrooms.

Starting Tuesday, the group is bringing a selection of speakers into the classrooms to address the students directly.

“It’s not young people that have created the situation,” said Beattie, referring to human-caused climate change. However, he added, they are going to feel the brunt of dealing with it.

“It’s still a hard pill to swallow.”

That means, he explained, getting students excited about the possibilities is vital.

Beattie attributes part of the growth to the sponsors that have come in to back the symposium, and helped keep it free.

“It’s unusual to have a symposium like this for free,” said Beattie, who also acknowledges the support of fellow First Things First and volunteers.

“We’re a small organization so this is an ambitious project,” said Beattie.

The energy symposium runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Penticton Secondary School and the Shatford Centre on April 22. Sessions run throughout the day with more than 20 speakers and a trade show in the Pen High common area.

A full program is available on the First Things First Okanagan web site at firstthingsfirstokanagan.com/register.

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