As our world warms, extreme weather events are projected to increase in frequency and/or intensity, both here in Canada and around the world. At the same time, sea levels are rising, prolonged droughts are putting pressure on food crops, and many animal and plant species are being threatened with extinction.
It’s hard to imagine what we, as individuals, can do to resolve a problem of this scale and severity. However, there are actually many ways that we can take initiative and help mitigate the impacts of climate change: by assessing and altering our behaviour and the way we react to certain situations; through adaptation and making adjustments, decision making and transformation related to climate change problems; and through mitigation, which reduces the severity of climate change impacts.
A great place to start is by participating in conversations about climate. Solving climate change requires us to work together, and there are many schools, businesses, youth groups and other volunteer organizations that are already taking action and working towards change for the future. By getting involved with some of these groups, you can engage in ongoing conversations about climate that will help broaden your knowledge on climate topics. This will then allow you to initiative and engage in future conversations about climate, sharing what you have learned with others.
Another behavioural change is to focus on how you travel. Using public transportation or riding your bike can help reduce the impacts of climate change by reducing gasoline consumption and the emissions that gas-powered vehicles produce. Altering other activities, including around your home, can also help you adapt to climate change by using energy more wisely, which in turn helps to reduce the impacts of climate change. These strategies include mitigating the effects of climate change and greenhouse gases (GHG’s) by installing solar panels or “wrapping” windows to make them more energy efficient.
Taking initiative and making changes is both good for the environment and helps to ensure a safe and cost-effective home. To adapt properly, it is important to do some research about how climate change is most directly impacting your region, such as how the temperature is changing and the specific precipitation and windstorm events. A great website to see projected changes in our climate is climatedata.ca. We will be talking about this website in next week’s blog post.
Climate change presents challenges for everyone and in order to reduce these risks we must adapt. Change begins with us, and there are many opportunities for individuals to adapt to these risks right in our own homes.In our upcoming blogs posts, we will discuss specific adaptation such as naturalizing your yard so it absorbs more water, retrofitting your home to better handle floods and using stronger, hail-resistant building materials.
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 our blog every week (written by researchers Liette Vasseur, Meredith Caspell, Bradley May, Sam Gauthier & Jocelyn Baker) to learn more about the project and how you can get involved. You can also visit our website at brocku.ca/unesco-chair or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Caption: Using public transportation or riding your bike can help reduce the impacts of climate change. At the Google offices in San Francisco, for example, bicycles are provided to employees to use as transportation. Photo: Sam Gauthier.