BC’s Parks and Protected Areas as Part of a Solution to Climate Change

Downstream from Kinuseo Falls, Monkman Provincial Park
Downstream from Kinuseo Falls, Monkman Provincial Park

Climate change has emerged as the world’s most critical threat. While it is a global issue, its impacts are felt most acutely at the local and regional level. They are very real and very personal. Just ask any British Columbia who has experienced losing their home to wildfires or floods driven by the changing climate.

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention in the USA has identified eight ways that human health is affected by climate change including increased respiratory illness, mental health issues, and cardiovascular failure.

But it’s not just human health that is threatened. So is that of the planet. Entire ecosystems that support life are collapsing as the Earth’s temperature continues to rise. In 2016, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources released a report entitled: “Climate Change Vulnerability of BC’s Fish and Wildlife: First Approximation”. In it, the authors list a host of ways in which climate change is likely to impact BC’s biodiversity, if it isn’t already, including the unavailability of suitable habitat to support migration, increase abundance of invasive species, and development of new disease patterns.

Stone Mountain Sheep
Stone Mountain Sheep

There’s no doubt that Earth is running a life-threatening fever and a solution to climate change needs to be found immediately and urgently. Restoring the planet’s health is an inarguable imperative. Parks and protected areas make an invaluable contribution to achieving this goal.

Wolf hunting along roadside
Wolf hunting along roadside

 British Columbians can be rightly proud of the province’s parks and protected areas system; it is the envy of the world. But the creation of new parks has not kept up with the challenges of climate change and species loss. Nor is the agency – BC Parks – adequately funded to carry out its responsibilities properly. As a result, BC’s ability to mitigate and adopt to climate change is weakened.

The Government of BC must move quickly to expand the parks and protected areas system and to restore adequate funding so the system can be properly managed to protect, maintain and restore ecological integrity/planetary health.

On the Golden Spruce Trail Haida Gwaii
On the Golden Spruce Trail Haida Gwaii

 

Video Climate Change Impacts on Tourism

For the past two years, a remarkable conference has taken place in Victoria, BC during the cold wet days of late January. It is completely focused on the opportunities for and challenges to sustainable travel and tourism in Canada and around the world. To the best of my knowledge, it is the only conference of its kind in Canada.

Last year, a key focus for the “IMPACT: Sustainable Travel and Tourism” conference was the anticipated impacts of climate change and what could be done to reduce them. With the assistance of Shaw Community Television, I was able to produce this short video on the issue, featuring Bob Sandford, EPCOR Chair in Water and Climate Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health

Climate Change Challenge for Tourism (Video)

Climate change is already having a significant impact on travel and tourism, just as travel and tourism contribute to climate change. Some within the industry are aware of these reciprocal impacts and are attempting to reduce their carbon footprint through auditing and offsetting of emissions.

Interviews for this video were conducted during the IMPACT Sustainable Travel and Tourism Conference held in Victoria, BC from Jan 22 – 24, 2018. The video production was made possible by the Community Producer Program of ShawTV in Victoria. Special thanks to Lorraine Scollan from ShawTV for shooting the interviews and assisting post-production.