British Columbia grows less than half of the fresh produce it needs. Much of what we consume comes from California. The ongoing drought conditions, and a weak loony, have sent vegetable prices spiralling 11.7% this year. Fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables are becoming an occasional luxury for some middle-low income B.C. families. Though this will only worsen worse as global temperatures continue to rise, the government of BC is far more preoccupied with the get-rich promise of mega-energy projects. Once it is completed, Site C will submerge prime agricultural lands.
Though British Columbia’s hydrologists have fifty years of stream flow data to formulate its’ responses to climate change, a recent study from the University of Victoria shows this is not enough. Tree ring data shows that, since 1658 AD, their have been 16 droughts exceeding anything evidenced in the instrumental record. The most recent and severest of these events took place in 1958. According to one of the study co-authors, Bethany Coulthard, “It was a cool time and yet we still saw these extreme natural droughts.” Add problems like urbanization, deforestation and rising Global temperatures into the equation and we can expect a mega-sized drought coming to BC.
The message probably applies to every nation, though specifics would need to change. While it is difficult to gage the effectiveness of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s crusade for a pan-Canadian framework for clean growth and climate change, there can be no doubt that he has brought these issues to the forefront of National attention. Do they resonate with the average Canadian: especially the newly unemployed? Or someone whose business is in trouble? On the National last night, Rex Murphy suggested building a healthy economy may be the precondition for fighting climate change.
The first seven months of this year were the warmest on record, and last month was the hottest known July. California’s drought has become a West Coast phenomenon, spreading as far north as Alaska. Wildfires are being reported in areas like Washington’s Olympic National Park, where there have been not been fires in living memory. “Rainy” British Columbia’s abnormally dry conditions are expected to continue through this fall and into winter. Trees are stressed and fish populations are failing. Is this Climate Change?