How the climate crisis has resulted in...

How the climate crisis has resulted in extreme weather in BC and why urgent action is necessary

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

In 2021, British Columbia experienced some of its worst weather ever. The town of Lytton burned down, while fires burned in the province, and other areas experienced extreme heat that killed many people. Next were floods that destroyed even more of the province.  For anyone who has been watching the news, the past year has shown that British Columbia is in a climate crisis. Urgent action is necessary to help avoid complete disaster from this kind of extreme weather.

The weather varies from year to year, but 2021 was worse than anything people have ever seen. The World Weather Attribution organization, which studies trends in weather, reported that BC’s heat wave was a highly unexpected event in current climate conditions, likely to happen only once in a thousand years. If global temperatures rise by two degrees, however, this kind of heat wave could happen every five or ten years.

Heat can badly affect people, animals, and plants. In this case, berries dried up, animals died in overheated seawater, and birds left their nests, trying to find cooler spots. As the land dried up, fires started around the province. One of the worst cases was in the town of Lytton, which burned to the ground, but many other fires forced people from their homes.

People might have thought that the weather had finally returned to normal once the fires were under control, but they were wrong. In mid-November, a storm brought torrential rains to the province. The water caused landslides that tore up highways and trapped people in their cars. People had to use ferries to take supplies to farms and homes because the streets were covered with water.

These weather disasters helped people realize that they needed to take action. The British Columbia government held public consultations to find strategies for dealing with floods. For example, research organizations will improve early warning systems and expand research into the climate. Vancouver will invest in better infrastructure such as sewers, while getting the public involved in tasks like clearing leaves away from storm drains. Planting more gardens and building permeable sidewalks that let the water through could also help.

Governments can change systems and infrastructures, but ordinary people can also make a difference. Growing gardens, taking the bus instead of a car, and helping to clean up garbage are simple actions that people can take. You can urge your family or school to adopt better practices to help save energy. For example, installing better insulation into buildings can help reduce the use of heaters that create greenhouse gases. Energy-efficient lightbulbs can also benefit the environment. Urging city governments to improve transit systems can also reduce the use of personal cars that can use large amounts of fuel.

Urgent action is necessary to deal with the effects of climate change. You might not feel that you have much power or that your small actions make a difference. However, a hundred or a thousand people making small changes can make a big difference. The summer and fall of 2021 have shown that people cannot wait to respond to climate change. We all need to act quickly to avoid another year like the past disastrous one.



Carman, Tara. “Climate Change in BC: Here’s How 2050 Could Look.” https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/climate-change-in-b-c-here-s-how-2050-could-look-1.4146580.

Cruikshank, Ainslee. “After a Year of Climate Disaster, BC Grapples with the Urgent Need to Adapt to Its Dangerous Future.” https://thenarwhal.ca/bc-climate-disasters-2021/.

Duncan, Scott. “British Columbia at the Epicentre of Climate Change-Fuelled Weather Extremes.” https://www.euronews.com/green/2021/11/19/british-columbia-at-the-epicenter-of-climate-change-fuelled-weather-extremes.

Moon, Jenna. “Urgent Climate Change Action is Needed or Else Canada’s Extreme Heat and Severe Weather Will Worsen.” https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2021/08/09/urgent-climate-change-action-is-needed-or-else-canadas-extreme-heat-and-severe-weather-will-worsen.html.

Province of British Columbia. “Climate Change.” https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/climate-change.

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