Category:

Climate Change Adaptation

NEW REPORT: “The science is clear— natural infrastructure can provide significant, quantifiable levels of protection for communities from natural hazards, and is often more cost-effective than structural infrastructure,” said Jessie Ritter, Director of Water Resources and Coastal Policy, US National Wildlife Federation (released June 2020)


The report titled Protective Value of Nature summarizes the latest science on the effectiveness of natural infrastructure in lowering the risks to communities from weather – and climate-related hazards – benefits often described as natural defenses. “The use of natural infrastructure for hazard risk reduction has not reached its full potential. This is due, in part, to perceptions that conventionally engineered approaches are always more effective – despite numerous instances when they have failed,” stated Jessica Ritter.

Read Article

URBAN FORESTRY AND CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION: “As more cities begin to link their current climate change activities to the benefits of carbon sequestration and storage through the management of urban forests, the climate benefits provided by trees will only continue to increase,” stated Dr. Lauren Cooper, Forest Carbon and Climate Program, Michigan State University


“Why aren’t more cities explicitly linking the CO2 sequestration benefits with their urban forests? With varying city size and capacity, the answer is not simple. While there are examples of cities incorporating forest carbon storage and sequestration policies into their planning, these are limited, and often only in our largest cities,” stated Lauren Cooper. “Many cities are not quite comfortable taking a leap into climate mitigation claims and calculations.”

Read Article

BUILDING RAIN GARDENS IN THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY ERA: “Community engagement and green infrastructure are powerful partners for building climate resiliency. Our vision is to scale up this work and encourage our partners to embrace this winning partnership as significant levers for change,” stated Dr. Joanna Ashworth, Project Director, North Shore Rain Gardens Project (Metro Vancouver)


“One rain garden does not seem like much in the face of so much road water runoff that is sending containments into our salmon bearing streams and rivers, but scaled up, green infrastructure like rain gardens capture and filter large volumes of runoff, thereby reducing flow and pollutants and better protecting species. These green approaches are also more cost effective than replacing municipal storm water infrastructure: and they provide opportunities for community interaction,” stated Joanna Ashworth.

Read Article

BOREAL FORESTS: “Reversing land degradation can provide over one-third of the climate mitigation required by 2030 to remain below 2°C increase in average global temperatures,” wrote Catherine Benson Wahlen, International Institute for Sustainable Development


“During the Fifth European Forest Week and Forêt2019, country representatives came together to discuss forest restoration and cooperation on boreal forests,” wrote Catherine Benson Wahlen. “Country representatives from the Caucasus and Central Asia agreed on a regional greening strategy focused on landscape restoration and greening infrastructure. According to the UNECE, this region’s ecosystems and landscapes have suffered from excessive extraction and waste of water, deforestation and pollution from mining, resulting in desertification, land erosion and soil loss.”

Read Article

THE POTENTIAL FOR GLOBAL FOREST COVER: “Our study provides a benchmark for a global action plan, showing where new forests can be restored around the globe,” reports Jean-Francois Bastin, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (July 2019)


“We mapped the global potential tree coverage to show that 4.4 billion hectares of canopy cover could exist under the current climate,” wrote Jean-Francois Bastin. “Excluding existing trees and agricultural and urban areas, we found that there is room for an extra 0.9 billion hectares of canopy cover, which could store 205 gigatonnes of carbon in areas that would naturally support woodlands and forests. This highlights global tree restoration as our most effective climate change solution to date.”

Read Article

COLOUR COORDINATING: “It’s time to design smarter 21st century systems that restore and maintain green infrastructure as a critical component of urban resilience and vitality,” says Jan Cassin, Water Initiative Director, Forest Trends Foundation (September 2019)


“How can we move from viewing green infrastructure in terms of “nice to have” extras, to putting green infrastructure at the center of how we value and invest in the infrastructure we need for vibrant, resilient cities? A number of innovations can move us in this direction,” states Jan Cassin. “Cities and their utilities should embrace natural asset management. In the same way that well-managed utilities strategically assess their gray assets, we can evaluate our green infrastructure base.”

Read Article

BLUE AND GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE: Vietnam has been selected as the study location for assessing effectiveness of eco-friendly flood schemes because its low-lying coastal cities are particularly vulnerable to increased flood risk due to rapid urbanisation and climate change


“In the last few decades approaches to dealing with flood risk in urban areas have typically preferred the adoption of hard infrastructure like dykes, concrete barriers and raised structures – all of which are costly to build and maintain, and may have adverse environmental impacts locally and further downstream,” stated Dr. Lee Bosher. “Loughborough University is supporting the work of the University of Stirling in assessing the role of natural capital and ascertaining the added economic value that alternative BGI measures for flood defence and mitigation can provide.”

Read Article

FLASHBACK TO 2013: Massive floods in Alberta and in the Toronto region provided the same kind of wake-up call that B.C. got in 2003, when it was hit by wild fires and drought (article published in the Globe & Mail newspaper, July 2013)


“In Canada, water has surpassed fire to become the leading cause of property damage, and now costs insurers about $1.7-billion a year, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The budgets and stakes are enormous,” wrote Wendy Stueck. “Over the past decade or so, there has been increasing use of so-called ‘green’ infrastructure, which involves using vegetation and soil to disperse rainwater as it falls rather than funnelling it into a storm sewer.”

Read Article

Researchers Link Climate Change to Urban and Suburban Stormwater Management: “What we design now is in place for 20 or 30 years, so we should design it with future climate conditions in mind as opposed to what the past rain has looked like,” said Dr. Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman, University of Maryland


“This work puts emphasis on what’s happening in local upland spaces that has immediate implications for the people who are living in these watersheds for future flood mitigation, but connects this to the broader issues of how increased runoff links to the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” stated Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman. “It is really the bigger rain events where we are seeing things not work as well, and that’s concerning partly because we know that with climate change these more intense events are going to become more common.”

Read Article

INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE SALMON: “It is not just about the salmon. It is what that organism represents that is fundamental to how we look at the landscape, especially when the climate is changing,” stated Nick Leone, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, at the Parksville 2019 Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate


In embarking on this journey, British Columbians can learn from historical precedents and parallels. In particular, the “salmon crisis” in the 1990s was a game-changer in the way it was the catalyst for green infrastructure practices. A generation later, will lightning strike twice and will the iconic salmon again be the regulatory driver that spurs communities to raise the bar to ‘improve where we live’? “If we are to fundamentally restore or rehabilitate creeksheds, we must first recognize and understand the essential elements that make up a dynamic landscape. It is a system. Act accordingly,” stated Nick Leone.

Read Article