New campaign aims to raise awareness about rising sea levels
Published Tuesday, May 9, 2017 5:44PM ADT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 9, 2017 6:11PM ADT
A new campaign by Halifax’s Ecology Action Centre and the Department of Ocean and Fisheries aims to get people talking about flooding.
“In Quebec and New Brunswick, people are talking about flooding and it's really on their minds, but we're not talking about it here because it's not happening to us right now,” says Samantha Page, coastal adaption coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre.
In addition to an educational video and a new website, the Ecology Action Centre plans to hold workshops across the Maritimes to inform Atlantic Canadians about the possible impact of rising sea levels.
“We only become aware of and start talking about it when there are big storms, but it's really important to keep the discussion going between storm events,” says Page.
That discussion includes some alarming statistics. According to the Ecology Action Centre, between 1993 and 2010, sea levels have risen an average of 3.2 milimetres per year. Those numbers are especially concerning in Atlantic Canada, where over 60 per cent of the population lives within 50 kilometres of the shore line.
“Homeowners and people with coastal properties really have that on the horizon, that by the year 2030 we could have one foot of sea level rise and that would increase the severe risk of flooding 25 fold from what it is now,” says marine biologist Boris Worm.
Worm says sea level rise is inevitable in this area and both government and the public need to be informed of the risks.
“We live in a very vulnerable region, no region in North America is more affected by sea level rise than the eastern U.S. and the Maritimes and that's just a fact that we need to face and be prepared for,” says Worm.
Halifax's chief city planner says the city is always updating and assessing its flood strategy.
“Climate change and all the other impacts are something we've taken seriously for quite a while, so the 2014 regional plan has a lot of direction in there…we're also updating regularly the information we have,” says chief planner Bob Bjerke.
The Ecology Action Centre says the process of adaptation to sea-level rise is a group effort that requires the federal, provincial and municipal governments, along with community members to work together.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Allan April