Are you ready?
CACOR has begun an initiative to try to create a Guidebook for Canadians to help prepare for the expected range of changes.
Many of the members are involved in an attempt to access best practice and make the information available to all.
Climate change is likely to become evident to Canadians mainly in the following ways.
- more violent storms (incl. lightning, hail, tornadoes)
- warmer temperatures particularly in summer (heat waves)
- more extreme cold spells
- ice events
- stronger winds
- changed seasons – timing, weather probability
- changed growing season
- arrival of diseases affecting plants animals and people
- melting of permafrost
- coastal storm surges and inundation
- more frequent and more violent wildfires
The consequences of these changes can involve many direct effects among which are the following.
- loss of energy supply
- loss of conditions amenable to growth of crops
- damage to infrastructure
- shortened ice road season
- stress on services (re storms, snow removal, repair)
- health effects of extreme temperatures
- health effects of new diseases
- damage to trees
Efforts are possible to try to reduce the impact on you, your family your property and your community due to each of these, mainly by actions designed to make certain that you will have access to food and water during extreme events, hardening your home against worst case events, and being prepared for a range of not-impossible events.
Among the best community approaches is that of Hamilton Ontario which has begun to develop a strategy at the watershed level. http://www.climateontario.ca/doc/casestudies/Hamilton_Case_Study-FINAL.pd
Another positive contribution is from Calgary which has produced a climate change resilience strategy identifying many steps which the community, buinesses individuals and others can follow.
Watch this space for reports on progress from CACOR in the development of its guidebook.
Lessons from the Past
You don’t know what you’ve got til its gone. Did Past civilizations anticipate and act to prevent major disruptions. Probably not. In the past, very few had the ability to foresee the future except perhaps in animal entrails or crystal balls. Science has empowered people to examine the implications of changes and the broader impacts of these on the key values of society. The existence of current societies however is a testament to the adaptation of humanity in the face of many changes, some local and some global. In the past, people who built in the floodplain likely disappeared. Those who survived learned and in a process of adaptation or migration or a combination, existed beyond the particular events which were causing difficulties. Science and the analysis of relationships enhances our ability to understand what may happen how probable it may be and also to examine different actions which may lead to more robust and resilient futures. While some may contend that current modelling capabilities are little better than the analysis of entrails or the use of a soothsayer there is now ample evidence that we can at least reduce the risk of some of the worst possible things happening and at the very least create more resilient systems which will survive a broader range of futures. That is why we need to try to understand the risks and to take adaptive actions – to survive.