Global warming may be unpopular in some places, but in Timmins Ontario it's got quite a few fans. Best known as the hometown of Shania Twain, it is 700 km (430 miles) north of Toronto, so it gets pretty cold. Residents wouldn't mind a bit more heat.
The chilly weather may be the reason why Timmins has become the focal point for supporters of climate change. Dozens of proponents meet monthly to discuss steps they can take to keep the heat coming.
The organization has struggled to find the right name for itself. It started off as GoWa, for Go Warming. Then they tried GoGloWa (Go Global Warming) with the idea that the name might be attractive to indigenous residents. That failed. Trying for a local spirit, the group tried GWOT for Global Warming One Timmins, but it reminded people of the unpopular Global War on Terror and was quickly dropped.
Now, in an effort to broaden their reach, they are working under the moniker International Movement Allied For Augmenting Global-warming. IMAFAG's president, Waddaf Ool, says the new name is helping. "The 'international' shows we're open to people from other parts of the world. And for some reason we've gotten a lot of interest from gays."
At the December 3 meeting IMAFAG members explained some of their efforts. Ool described how many of the members leave their cars idling overnight. "It puts carbon into the atmosphere and as a bonus, the car is warm in the morning." The city's old coal mines are also being put to use. "We've been trying to get a good fire started down there," said Ool, "and if we get that going we think we might be able to chip in a tenth of a degree right there."
IMAFAG has struggled to draw support in other places. Countries in warmer regions tend to oppose climate change. Also, despite their nickname, flaming liberals actually prefer less heat as well. Other northern countries like Russia are interested but they tend to be poorer and fear that burning excess fossil fuels might be expensive. The Timmins chapter relies on substantial contributions from Shania Twain, a country music star. She spends most of her time in Switzerland and New Zealand, both of which tend to be a bit on the cold side, and she still feels a strong connection to her hometown.
It remains to be seen whether IMAFAG will succeed in its fight for global warming. Ool is upbeat: "We may have to change our name a few more times, but we won't give up."