A sign of things to come
It hasn’t exactly been B.C.’s year. After a summer of fatal record-breaking heat waves and wildfires, devastating floodwaters washed through parts of the province last week, claiming a still unknown number of human lives and thousands of animal ones, as well as destroying sections of major highways, cutting off essential supply links to communities across the province and Vancouver off from the rest of Canada.
The rising waters were a result of an “atmospheric river” that brought excessive rainfall to the province, something that scientists suggest is likely to become more frequent as the climate crisis persists.
Such extreme weather events pose a risk not only to life but also infrastructure across Canada, which “was not built to withstand the impacts of climate change.” And the near failure of a critical water pump in an already-flooded, low-lying area provides a grim illustration of just how risky this can be. As a senior research associate at the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices put it, infrastructure and buildings built for “yesterday’s risks and hazards (are) not going to cut it in the 21st century.”