Climate change is not a future problem – the impacts of rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns are affecting communities in BC today in our personal health, sense of security, our economy and the environment we live in. We know from our lived experiences and from climate modelling that climate change will bring extreme temperatures, severe storms, rising sea levels, heavy precipitation, flooding, droughts, wildfires, and other climate challenges.
Indigenous communities have been disproportionately impacted by climate change, as they are witnessing the immediate impacts on their territories, traditional foods, medicines and ways of living. Indigenous Peoples have been adapting to changing climates and conditions for countless generations, and Indigenous knowledge systems will have a critical role in ensuring the sustainability of our ecological systems.
The existing social inequities in B.C are exacerbated by climate change, so work on climate change resilience must consider an intersectional equity lens. People who experience poverty, racial or social inequality, and/or are impacted by colonialism and systemic racism are often affected more strongly by the impacts of a changing climate. Low-income or racialized populations in both urban and rural regions may have less resources to adjust to changing climatic conditions or respond to extreme events, such as the ability to invest in an air conditioner during heatwaves or repair their homes after a flood, and may also have higher rates of adverse health conditions. Therefore, it is critical to build climate change responses that address systemic inequalities.