Niagara Adapts

  • Niagara Adapts Partnership Presentations at Brock University

    Niagara Adapts Team Photo

    Niagara Adapts brings together seven municipalities within the Niagara Region of Ontario — Grimsby, Lincoln, Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Pelham, St. Catharines and Welland, as well as the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre at Brock University, to tackle climate change in the Region.

    Blog Contributor: April Sorenson

    On February 25th, representatives from municipalities within the Niagara Region of Ontario came together to present to the current Master of Sustainability graduate students about an innovative partnership called Niagara Adapts. Niagara Adapts is a partnership that works to reduce the risks associated with climate change and increase resilience in the Niagara Region. On the 25th, a representative from each of seven municipalities gave a presentation on the specific climate change issues their municipality is facing along with their adaptation efforts.  

    Deanna Allen, the Climate Change Coordinator for the Town of Pelham, said that her municipality is predicting many challenges related to climate change. Some of these challenges include summer droughts leading to water supply shortages, more frequent episodes of rain resulting in severe washouts and flooding, a higher likelihood of experiencing heat stress, freezing rain events that could damage hydro lines, and an increased demand for municipal services. Many of the other municipal representatives presented similar concerns. Olivia Groff, the Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator for St. Catharines, said that there have been 56 extreme weather warnings in the past two years alone.  

    Fortunately, several municipalities have already taken steps to adapt to climate change. James Sticca, Manager of Environmental Services at the City of Niagara Falls, outlined the steps they’ve taken to adapt to climate change, including a Rain Barrel Purchasing Program, a Low Flow Toilet Rebate Program, and a Water Monitoring Device Rebate Program. Many of the presenters were hopeful that through continued collaboration with Niagara Adapts and local communities, real progress will be made in adapting to climate change.  

    Municipal governments are at the front lines of climate change. Many are stepping up to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their residents. The Town of Lincoln, the Town of Pelham, St. Catharines, Welland and The City of Niagara Falls have provided more information about their climate change adaptation efforts and their contribution to Niagara Adapts on their websites.  

    These presentations are available online via the ESRC YouTube Channel. 

    Links to the climate vulnerability fact sheets can be found on the Niagara Adapts Website

    Categories: Blog, Collaborations, Innovative Partnership, Niagara Adapts, SSAS Student Contributor

  • Niagara Adapts Officially Launches to the Public

    In June, members of Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre partnered with seven Niagara municipalities to address how climate change is affecting the region. This partnership, formally known as Niagara Adapts, was officially launched to the public on November 27th, 2019.

    The launch event featured a screening of the film Resilience, followed by a panel discussion with climate coordinators from each of the seven municipalities involved in Niagara Adapts. The conversation continued during a reception event where members of the community were invited to speak with ESRC members, Resilience filmmaker John Anderson, and other members of the Niagara Adapts team.

    Categories: Event, Innovative Partnership, Niagara Adapts

  • Brock launches climate partnership with Niagara Municipalities

    A need to address climate change action in the Niagara region sparked an alliance between Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) and seven regional municipalities.

    Niagara Adapts, which formally launched Nov. 27 at the Film House at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, was formed to seek innovative strategies that address how climate change is impacting the region.

    The partnership, which was announced in June, will leverage resources and expertise from ESRC and the Town of Grimsby, Town of Lincoln, City of Niagara Falls, Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Town of Pelham, City of St. Catharines and City of Welland.

    “Many Canadian cities and regions don’t have formal climate change plans, which is surprising in 2019,” said Jessica Blythe, Assistant Professor, ESRC. “These seven municipalities are really stepping up and taking a leadership role.”

    The partnership has a mandate to support collaborative climate change adaptation assessment, planning and implementation.

    University President Gervan Fearon speaks with Professor Ryan Plummer and Assistant Professor Julia Baird.

    “One of the most critical priorities of our strategic plan is to support the vitality and health of our surrounding communities,” said University President Gervan Fearon. “Niagara Adapts is the perfect opportunity for us to work alongside our neighbours.”

    The launch included a free community screening of the film Resilience, followed by a discussion and reception with partnership representatives.

    The inspiration for Resilience, said filmmaker John T. Anderson, stems from a course curriculum from one of Blythe’s classes, which allowed him to “understand the full dimensions of climate change.”

    Screening his film was especially meaningful to Anderson, who, in addition to having worked as a marine scientist at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, is proud to call himself Blythe’s father.

    “We kind of pinch each other,” said Anderson of collaborating with his daughter. “We can’t believe it.”

    Blythe agreed, noting that they never thought their conversations about climate change would develop into a professional relationship.

    “It’s a dream to work with my dad,” she said. “I’ve also been very fortunate to work with the ESRC because of their prioritization of community partnerships, which lead to talking with municipalities and observing the similar challenges of climate change impact.”

    The motivation behind the partnership came from the realization that finding climate change solutions could be alleviated by sharing expertise and resources.

    “One of the challenging things about climate change is that it cuts across everything,” said Blythe. “It’s related to health, infrastructure, food production… everything we do has some sort of impact from climate change. The silver lining is that we can only tackle it collaboratively.”

    Acting Director and Associate Professor in ESRC Marilyne Jollineau says that successfully tackling climate change requires a community-based effort.

    “We need to draw upon the knowledge and expertise of everyone around the table,” she said. “This means talking to experts, scientists, social scientists, politicians, business owners and municipalities who are trying to address these issues. We should all think critically about the ways we can reduce our carbon footprint.”

    She also applauds Regional councillors, who voted to move to biweekly garbage collection starting in fall 2020 and encouraging residents to use organic and recycling bins when possible.

    Blythe hopes that the partnership, as well as the film Resilience, will empower Niagara residents to take action.

    “I want the community to feel proud and be aware of the leadership their municipalities are demonstrating,” said Blythe. “Niagara Adapts, as well as the film Resilience, are solution-oriented and meant to demonstrate the areas where people can take action to take on this challenge.”

    Story from The Brock News

    Categories: Collaborations, Event, Innovative Partnership, Niagara Adapts