Canada will not be spared from the effects of climate change. Canadians could stand to lose their favourite parks, see their levels of health decline, and suffer threats to their very livelihoods.
With a 2°C rise in temperature, the Prairies face a 50 percent increased risk of desertification. In this scenario, parks in the region could become very changed places. As well, other climate change scenarios often predict larger areas getting burned when it comes to wildfires, further altering landscapes as we know them.
Climate change is altering the frequency and intensity of weather extremes, such as heavy rainfalls or heat waves. Associated dangers include increased outbreaks of water-borne disease agents such as Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E.coli. The effects of warmer temperatures also extend to lower air quality, compromising the health of people with conditions such as asthma and other respiratory ailments.
Climate change has also been held partly responsible for the current mountain pine beetle infestation of British Columbia’s lodgepole pine stands. The lack of concurrently cold winter nights, which would normally keep the insects’ numbers in check, has yielded pine kill on an unprecedented scale. People that rely on forestry for their livelihoods are left jobless.
In these ways, the risks of climate change bear down on all aspects of a person’s life. Whether it be leisure time activities, health level or employment status, the effects pervade all levels of Canadian society and cannot be ignored or downplayed.
This piece shows viewers a map of the Prairies, which outlines the potential desertification facing these provinces, due to increasing climate change.