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              Climate Change & Sustainability

I have spent the past twenty years on Vancouver Island witnessing an ever-changing environment. Since living on Vancouver Island I have experienced a major decrease in snowfall in the winters, causing reduced snow-pack for river runoff in late summer, leading to increased summer drought. The increased summer droughts, coupled with decreasing water resources have created many challenges to water supply to support irrigation, industry, agriculture, and the urban population’s water supply.

Despite the international scientific community’s overwhelming evidence on climate change, a large portion of the global population still believes climate change is not real or that humans are not the cause of it. To the mass majority, it is known that climate change is directly connected to industrial pollution and habitual actions by individuals. A major issue stemming from climate change is global warming, which is a rise in the average global temperature.

Vancouver Island and the lower mainland of British Columbia have become one of the most desirable places to live, work, play, and visit in all of Canada. With this reputation comes great responsibility and challenges. As the world becomes more complex, the problems that arise are more complicated, interdependent, and thus harder to solve. Urban sustainability is certainly one of these problems. The main challenge for this generation is to transform this livable region into a sustainable one.

Sustainability is not just environmentalism. It is a holistic approach embedding three pillars of ecological integrity, social equity, and economic development. Ecological integrity is all of earth’s environmental systems kept in balance, while natural resources within them, are consumed by humans at a rate where they are able to replenish themselves. Social equity encompassing universal human rights and basic necessities are attainable by all people, who have access to enough resources in order to keep their families and communities healthy and secure. Lastly, economic development concerns communities across Vancouver Island maintaining their independence and having access to the resources that they require to meet their needs, while also recognizing that all environmental factors must be considered in order to find lasting prosperity. Sustainability is described as meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

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