Magdalen Islands Encounter

Guglielmo Tita – Magdalen Islands

Post-production is well underway and we should be done by December, with a first screening planned for early February 2014.

It’s been great going back over all the tape that we have collected since the summer of 2012. I just relistened to a fascinating interview we had with Italian researcher Dr. Guglielmo Tita, scientific director of the Centre de recherche sur les milieux insulaires et maritimes (CERMIM), an international research centre for island and maritime studies that is located on the Magdalen Islands. CERMIM’s number one priority is protecting precious resources in this fragile archipelago of 12 islands in the heart of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

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Dr. Tita has traveled extensively over his life time, but for the last 10 years, he has become a happy Madelinot. Joan first meets Guglielmo in his windswept home on Île du Havre aux Maisons, where they discuss their shared Italian heritage and love of garlic.

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Then the conversation shifts to climate change, another of their shared passions. Joan learns from Guglielmo that over the past 20 years, a combination of warmer winters, rising sea levels, decreased ice thickness and coverage, and the slow geological sinking of the islands have significantly increased erosion of the archipelago’s famous red sandstone cliffs and threatened numerous homes and infrastructure including roads.

Guglielmo explains his concerns about the future of this archipelago to Joan. There is no fearmongering discourse but he does express concern as he witnesses the loss of land on a yearly basis, including the disappearance of a biking trail near a cliff as a result of erosion. He also shares his view on the archipelago’s land management vision and whether or not it’s tough enough.

Later in the interview, Joan and Guglielmo realize that they both have spent time in Africa. The conversation then drifts towards the global challenge of climate refugees, as island nations such as the Mauritius Islands in the Indian Ocean begin to experience an exodus of citizens towards mainland countries. Joan asks Guglielmo if there are any similarities between the Magdalen Islands and the Mauritius Islands? While many scientists believe the Mauritius Islands may be one of the first island nations to disappear because of rising sea levels, Guglielmo is not worried that this would happen any time soon in the Magadalen Islands. However, they discussed the possibility of increased migration and displacement towards Quebec and the rest of Canada as more and more people from more vulnerable countries will be forced to seek refuge in other countries as a result of climate change in the coming decades. We hope to bring you some of that conversation in our film.
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Take care and share this blog, let’s get people talking/caring about climate change in eastern Quebec and everywhere….

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