Jessica Blythe, Assistant Professor in Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre, had a piece recently published in The Hamilton Spectator about the efforts of the Niagara Adapts program to involve interested members of local communities as climate change adaptation strategies for municipalities are developed.
“In the lead-up to the federal election, opinions polls persistently reflected Canadians’ rising concern around threat of global warming. It’s no wonder.
A recent United Nations study on global warming, by a team of top international climate scientists, delivered the latest evidence behind the floods, fires and droughts that are destroying communities and habitats on every continent. The report’s stark conclusion is that steely political will and massive societal change are needed — now — if we hope to sustain life as we know it.
Relentless headlines have documented how the sheer existential threat of climate change is no longer a peril of some future time. Consider:
- Warmer oceans are creating monster hurricanes that unleash unprecedented destruction.
- Raging wildfires char huge swaths of the Earth’s surface. In June, a day after the mercury in Lytton, B.C. hit 49.6 C, the hottest temperature recorded in Canada, a wildfire burned the town to the ground.
- As athletes struggled in fierce heat at the Tokyo Olympics, some events were rescheduled to early-morning starts or held hundreds of kilometres north in search of cooler conditions.
- From Germany to Tennessee to China, powerful floods increasingly devastate communities on every continent.
- Record heat and drought are killing humans and livestock, destroying ocean fisheries, baking the farm crops that feed us.
Growing public anxiety is giving senior governments the space to move legislation that raises carbon taxes, lowers greenhouse gas emissions and targets the use of fossil fuels.
But societal change is also happening at the grassroots level, and in the Niagara area of southern Ontario a group of communities anxious to protect their residents is taking matters into their own hands, partnering with a local university to create strategies for confronting the wrath of global warming.”
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