Climate Change and Canada’s Pacific

A couple years ago I predicted that the world would end in 2012.
Well, okay actually I just saw the movie.  Maybe you did too?  The seas rise one afternoon to engulf the continents and a handful of survivors rally together and… well you get the idea.
But back in the real world, the reality of sea level rise is only one part of a much more complex host of impacts by which climate change is affecting the world’s oceans.  But that’s still stating the obvious.  To make this matter to you and me, we have to get down to the some details and tell that story on a scale that matters.
Beginning in 2009, WWF collaborated with Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and scientists from the University of Victoria to dive into the complex world of climate change impacts on oceans.  This is no small task considering the vast range of issues, from sea level rise to risking ocean temperatures to acidification, shifting currents and more!  Read co-author Hussein Alidina’s blog.
Unfortunately, well-intentioned research reports have a nasty habit of making a few headlines and then collecting dust.  Since its release, we’ve been working hard at WWF to get this resource into the hands of those who can use it.   As the first ever comprehensive overview of climate change effects on the Canada’s Pacific Ocean, the report provides a much needed source of information for communities, resource managers, and planners.  The full report can be found here, and also a fact sheet summarizing key findings.
Of course, not everyone will feel inclined to wade through 157 pages of detailed technical reviews.  So we created a one-stop online toolkit as a companion piece to the full report.  Through photos, examples, and key graphic illustrations, the toolkit provides a readily accessible go-to source for anyone wishing to learn more about the ABCs of climate change impacts on the Pacific.
mike aug 9The tool is designed to be used flexibly, depending on your interest.  Learn about the different species that will be impacted, the kinds of habitat they rely on, or the underlying forces of nature that drive the whole incredible system.
This is urgent, folks.  The speed of change in our oceans should be cause for alarm.  Just this month, the journal Nature Climate Change featured a report based on the work of scientists from 17 research institutes across the world.  The bottom line: climate change effects on the oceans are already occurring, at a faster rate than on land.   This is obliging us to think differently about how we interact with our oceans.   We are now dealing with challenges unlike any we’ve faced before.  No, the world won’t end – I prefer to leave those scenarios to Hollywood.  But we will have new story to tell, one where we begin to shape our society, institutions and economies to respect the real forces at play in our oceans.   Join the dialogue and be part of that story.  Check out the toolkit Climate Change on Canada’s Pacific Coast.