Vineyards in the Niagara region, like the one pictured above, taken in May 2019 by Liette Vasseur, are among are among those impacted by climate changes.
When we think about the effects of climate change, we most often think about the planet becoming warmer, melting glaciers, biodiversity loss, flooding and drought. What many of us may not realize, however, is that the food we consume, and the way it is grown, is also impacted by climate change.
Farming communities all over the world are bearing the brunt of climate change. Changes in precipitation, for example, means that there may be less water available for irrigation, and can lead to droughts during the growing season. With extreme rainfall, on the other hand, soils can become saturated, which delays crop planting and can lead to lower overall crop yields. Warmer weather can also lead to increases of invasive pest species that can become a financial burden and drain on resources for farmers. Climate change can also result in increased cooling requirements and energy costs for greenhouse operators and inflict higher heat stress on animals and livestock.
While farmers in some regions are struggling to grow crops due to droughts, the excessive rainfall and flooding experienced in other regions are wreaking havoc for others. The Niagara region has experienced both of these extremes (flooding in the spring, droughts in the summer). This can impact local farmers not only financially, but emotionally, as well. Under these conditions, it may become increasingly difficult to maintain production. Climate change adaptation is therefore an important step to ensure agricultural sustainability.
Examining the possible strategies to adapt to climate change is a good first step and the MEOPAR Research team will be holding focus group meetings on these issues. The first will focus on agriculture,and will be held on October 31 at 8:30 am in Beamsville. For details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The researchers involved with the MEOPAR project are working to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change and how communities can effectively adapt, and increase resilience, to these changes. Follow along with these articles every week (written by researchers Liette Vasseur, Meredith DeCock, Bradley May and Pulkit Garg) to learn more about the project and how you can get involved. You can also visit the project website at brocku.ca/unesco-chair or contact the team via email at email@example.com