Climate Change in Canada
Canada is already cold! Why should I care if it’s warming up?
These are some common statements from climate change deniers in Canada, and to be fair, I understand where they are coming from. It is hard to see the effects of climate change while you are freezing your fingers off clearing the snow off your car.
However, climate change is a serious issue and will adversely impact all of Canada’s unique regions.
Let’s start with one of the most vulnerable areas, Northern Canada.
Much of the infrastructure in northern Canada relies on the fragile cryosphere. Wait, the what!?
The cryosphere: the areas of the earth where ground water remains solid throughout the year.
Okay, now that that is cleared up, let’s get to why it is important.
As temperatures rise, the permafrost that many of the roads, pipelines, and buildings in the north are constructed upon will begin melting. Not only will this result in millions of dollars in damages, but also massive investments to rebuild this infrastructure on top of the changing landscape.
Rising sea levels will also impact coastal erosion and could result in many fishing communities having to relocate to higher ground. We’ll look at this a bit closer in the next section.
The Atlantic Coast:
Canada’s Maritime provinces will also be hit hard by climate change. With predicted increases in storm events, rising sea levels, and coastal erosion all impacting this region.
The main concerns come along with rising sea levels and increased coastal erosion. As the coastline pushes inland, many of the smaller coastal communities that make up much of the Maritimes will have to follow-suit and move inland or face having their homes washed away by the rising sea.
An increase in extreme weather events will also put more pressure on infrastructure and could result in more frequent power outages and interruptions.
Quebec and Ontario are home to the largest metropolitan areas in Canada, and with that comes a unique set of challenges.
With rising temperatures in these densely populated areas, there will likely be in increase in the number of heat-related illnesses. Smog episodes will also become more common in these areas resulting in more respiratory illnesses as well.
Outside of the cities, more forests will turn into grasslands, and heavily grazed agricultural areas may begin to look more like deserts than pastures. The prairies will experience similar impacts.
The provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta make up Canada’s prairie provinces and significantly contribute to our country’s agricultural output. However, as the impacts of climate change worsen, these provinces will most likely see a decline in productivity.
This decline is down to a few factors.
Firstly, increased floods and droughts due to irregular precipitation could result in lost or low-quality crops.
Secondly, with droughts becoming more common, desertification will be a serious issue for many of the pastures where livestock are raised.
And finally, the grasslands that the prairies are famous for will push further north, replacing some of the boreal forest. This is an issue because forests have more carbon sequestering capacity than grasslands and are home to much of Canada’s biodiversity.
This is the last region we will look at, but certainly not the least impacted.
Like the Atlantic Coast, Canada’s pacific coast will experience greater coastline erosion resulting in some communities having to relocate. Forest fires, floods and droughts will also occur more frequently.
Because of this, many of the smaller communities relying on fishing and forestry will be hit hardest and require the most assistance going forward.
How you can help:
Okay, so there was a lot of bad news in this article, but there are still things you can do to help fight climate change and mitigate some of is negative effects. Check out the list below:
1. Sign petitions and vote for politicians that put climate change towards the top of their agenda. You can find some petitions here.
2. Try avoiding meat for a day each week as animal agriculture is one of the leading drivers behind climate change
3. Walk or bike to work if you live close enough instead of driving. Not only will this avoid some greenhouse gas emissions, but it will also help the longevity of your vehicle.
4. Decreasing your energy usage also helps. You can do so by remembering to turn lights off, using power bars for entertainment systems so you can shut them off, and investing in energy efficient appliances. Not only would doing those things decrease your environmental footprint, but you will also save on your energy bills.
Another way to reduce your electricity costs is by supplementing your energy usage with a microgeneration wind turbine. You can check out ours, the Anorra, here.