Climate change will change how Canadians live in the future. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Photo/dpa, Julian Stratenschulte)

Education urged to prepare for climate change

Knowledge of coming changes is essential, speaker tells Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Hotter, drier summers, wetter spring and fall seasons and more variability in the weather are forecast for the South Okanagan in the coming years, a climate change researcher says.

Speaking to the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen on Thursday, Gillian Aubie Vines, a principal with Pinna Sustainability Inc. said past trends and patterns will no longer work to determine the weather in the future.

“The past is no longer appropriate for predicting the future,” she said. “We need to be changing how e think and plan for climate change.”

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She said the research indicates climate change will involve hotter, drier summers, but spring and fall will have more rain than at present.

“The time of year when it falls will change,” she said.

While warmer temperatures could extend the length of the growing season, other climate factors must also be considered.

In addition, as the climate changes, ecosystems will change and species not found in this area at present may be in the region in the future, she said.

To prepare for climate change, Vines said knowledge and information will be essential.

“Education and collaboration will play an important role in preparing for these changes,” she said.

Vines’ presentation came as the regional district has been working to plan for climate change adaptation.

Over the past year, regional districts in the Okanagan Valley have been working to examine climate change and how to prepare for future climate events.

Vines’ report, Climate Projections for the Okanagan Region, was adopted as a planning guide by the regional district. In addition, the report will be forwarded to member municipalities for their information.

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