WC129 MarApr2023 - Flipbook - Page 15
Getting Our Hands Dirty
Restoring soil, recovering forests, and
rescuing our planet BY ROB MILLER
HERE WAS SOMETHING MISSING in the unmistakable signs of autumn as the sun beat down last October.
The sweet scent of leaves decomposing on the ground was
prominent as usual, but the air felt warm on the nostrils.
People were outside in shorts. Where was the cold, damp
air that hinted of impending snowfall? Where were the whitecapped mountain peaks signaling the approach of ski season?
Why were neighbours complaining about still having to water
their garden this late in the year?
With this unusually dry fall weather, British Columbia was
experiencing severe drought only a year after torrential rains and
epic flooding devastated farms and highway infrastructure. Ten
regions were at the highest Drought Response Level: 5, including parts of Vancouver Island, the Peace region, and the Lower
Farmers in B.C. were seeing their harvests threatened by the
lack of rain and dwindling water supplies. Dangerously low
watersheds resulted in salmon die-off and hydro dams curtailing
output to slow the depletion of their already low reservoirs. Over
200 wildfires were burning in B.C. as of October 24, with the
total surpassing 1,700 fires for the current fire season.
In an environment untouched by humans, the heavy rains in
2021 should’ve recharged the aquifers and made British Columbia more drought-resilient the following year. Sadly, for decades
we’ve mismanaged the various ecological components that regulate the water cycle in the province. What we are now witnessing
is the destabilizing response of multiple complex and interconnected systems that are being pushed to the breaking point.
”What we are now witnessing is the
destabilizing response of multiple complex
and interconnected systems that are being
pushed to the breaking point.”
Rob Miller is a retired systems engineer
who now volunteers with the Calgary
Climate Hub and writes on behalf of EcoElders for Climate Action.
City of Hamilton
The crucible of life
The more frequent and worsening climate catastrophes may seem
manageable to those who haven’t been directly impacted, but in
geological terms things are changing at an unprecedented pace.
Species are disappearing at a rate that hasn’t been seen since the
last great extinction event, around 65 million years ago. The water
cycle is central to the story of B.C.’s environmental collapse.
WATER C AN ADA • M ARCH/APRIL 2023