Climate change is already affecting the city

Angela Danyluk’s work and research has given her a clear picture of how environmental changes will impact residents of Vancouver, and the local effects of climate change cannot be avoided much longer. As a senior sustainability specialist in the City of Vancouver, Danyluk states the impact of climate change on Vancouverites will go beyond merely physical damage.

“Humans are part of nature. We can do damage, but we also have the capacity to repair and create conditions where nature thrives,” she says, adding that climate change will have unavoidable consequences for Vancouver and its residents.

On Apr. 28, the Stanley Park Ecology Society will be hosting Action for Climate Change, an online webinar conducted by Danyluk alongside Kayah George, who is a Tsleil-Waututh youth and environmental activist, as well as Naomi Leung and Hannah Wicki, two youth from Climate Education Reform B.C.

Climate change inevitability

“I do think it will soon be impossible to ignore. Climate change is not so obvious in Vancouver right now since it is mostly felt in these big events like heatwaves and forest fires,” says Angela Danyluk.

Having conducted a substantial amount of research on how climate change will affect Vancouver, Danyluk says to look no further than the last five to eight years for evidence of those effects.

“Droughts, forest fires and extreme rain will become more regular in the next 30 to 50 years,” says Danyluk.

Since 2015, Vancouver summers have been accompanied by massive smoke clouds covering the city as a result of wildfires in the interior and the United States. Rapidly warming climates have also resulted in droughts throughout the province. Water use is annually restricted by the City of Vancouver to protect the city’s water supply.

“Drought and sea level rise will cause great harm to our nature and ecosystem,” says Danyluk.

Vancouver is a city known for its large number of greenspaces and urban nature, the biggest example being the 405-hectare Stanley Park. Danyluk believes climate change will affect more than just weather in Vancouver and B.C. as a whole.

Financial impact of climate change

“Over the past five years, house insurance costs [have gone] up,” says Danyluk. “Strata insurance is going up because of the effects of climate change.”

Danyluk notes that Vancouver is already one of the world’s most unaffordable cities even without the costs of insurance.

In Canada, the risk of flooding has caused insurance premiums related to flooding and other water damage to increase dramatically. Higher levels of rainfall pose another risk for people living in B.C. Metro Vancouver experiences some of the heaviest annual rainfalls in Canada. Richmond sits below sea level and is already vulnerable to flooding. According to Danyluk, however, climate change is already financially felt beyond merely the costs of insurance.

“Folks should already know that they’re being impacted by climate change through our food, fuel and even the cost of consumer goods,” says Danyluk. “A couple years ago, there were droughts in California that caused the collapse of grain sales needed by Canadian beef farmers to feed cattle which impacted prices here.”

In 2014, prices for imported California produce skyrocketed over 20 per cent as a result of drought.

“These incidents are happening in different systems. We don’t always tie them together and not all the stories are being shared,” says Danyluk.

The goal of weathering climate change and maintaining environmental sustainability is more than just a job for Danyluk. She has always felt a connection to nature and the lands and waters of Vancouver.

“It’s personal for me and something I’m very passionate about,” says Danyluk. “It’s my assumption that it’s personal for most people in Vancouver too. We all benefit when nature thrives; we know this to be true. Why wouldn’t we take action to help
nature out?”

For more information about Danyluk, visit www.expertfile.com/experts/angela.danyluk/angela-danyluk

For more information about Action for Climate Change, visit www.eventbrite.ca/e/action-for-climate-online-tickets-149955335445?mc_cid=da8f5df2fc&mc_eid=062419b740

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