By Salima, IUCN CEM Young Professional.
The impacts of Climate change are already felt by communities throughout the world amid debates over how, when, and whether we should phase out fossil fuels and undertake more serious measures to reduce emissions. And yet many people are still very desensitized or conflicted when discussing our future. Unfortunately, we do not have to look very far to witness the alarming impacts of climate change.
Municipalities in Canada have limited funding and capacity to manage forest conservation, storm damage, invasive insects and diseases. Several weeks ago, Nova Scotia was hit by hurricane Dorian which left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity, some places were in the dark for a week, trees were uprooted while farmers in the Annapolis Valley lost parts of their apple and corn crops. A collapsed crane decorates downtown Halifax where people admire the strength of the storm. Days after the impact of the storm, some damaged trees fell interrupting the power supply. Dorian was one of the strongest storms recorded in the Atlantic after ravaging the Bahamas. This was a scary realisation that with the increasing warming of our oceans, it is expected that hurricanes may last longer and be stronger due to above-average temperature waters.
Darren Calabrese, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada recently noted that rising ocean temperatures will only aggravate the effects of climate change on Atlantic Canada—our coastal communities are facing storm surges, flooding, erosion. This has led to discussions over development activities, like, whether to approve coastal developments close to the shorelines. In the case of rural communities, some feel left behind by urban-centric solutions to issues that affect them such as sprawling, inadequate transportation options and inaccessibility to educational, recreational and other essential services like hospitals.
This anger is aggravated by development patterns that build highways and long roads to enable faster commute through the community when there is a desire and need to make it a beautiful and accessible place for locals of all ages and abilities.
The present is already riddled with complex environmental issues that need to be addressed. The silver lining here is that we aim to achieve a higher quality of life by cleaning our environments and changing our development patterns. Placemaking and greenways are proposed in relation to environmental protection as reducing emissions while beautifying neighbourhoods capitalising on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, such that they are an attractive and great place to live in. Concepts, such as ecosystem-based adaptation and ecosystem governance, place a high focus on environmental quality without negating livelihoods to ensure that the future we are building is one that we can all get behind.
Ms Salima is currently posted as a Policy Analyst at Nova Scotia Department of Energy, New Glasgow, Canada.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here are her own and have nothing to do with the organisations she is affiliated.