Increased warm and cold periods

The weather has been all over the place and Canadians are wondering what’s happening? Is it a good thing or not?

Some spring and summer lovers might think so, but then there’s the avid skiers and snowboarders who are tired of the grassy, wet hills this season.
Evan Fraser, associate professor of geography at the University of Guelph, gave his advice and a broader view as to how people are reacting.

“This year, one of the benefits is that municipalities aren’t spending nearly as much money as they did last year for snow removal,” he said.

“But if you’re a person who depends on winter tourism then you are really, really suffering. In terms of other issues, the issues that I’m interested in [like] agriculture, [the situation] is worse.”

As always, there are environmental concerns. In regards to agriculture, energy critic for the Green Party of Canada, Cathy MacLellan, is also very concerned, specifically with the effects on maple syrup.

“Maple trees require dormancy and low night time temperatures and warm sunny days in order for that syrup it creates,” she explained.

“Being a maple syrup lover myself, I can imagine that the prices of maple syrup are going to be a bit more expensive for what might be an initial crop issue, though we don’t know this yet for sure.”

MacLellan also advocates for people to think more broadly in terms of the effects we are facing.

“If you’re only thinking about your own life, then sure people obviously like the warm weather, and sure it’s great, but it may be affecting global agriculture,” she said.

“Drought [affects] the kinds of crops we can grow, which is very concerning.”
According to MacLellan, there is hope to reverse the effects of climate change, involving even the meagere things that individuals can do to make a difference. For example, the fairly obvious things like choosing to use public transportation as opposed to the comfort of one’s own car.

MacLellan also pointed out that people are likely to suffer from respiratory problems due to the effects of climate change, so reducing exhaust and pollution can only be a benefit.

Jonathan Newman, director of environmental sciences at the University of Guelph, added his personal perspective on the matter with regards to the government making a difference, as opposed to individuals specifically.

“We’re unlikely to make the significant changes that we need without commitments from our governments,” he said.

For Newman, “The things that we do as individuals are likely to be treated at a smaller level. We need concerned national efforts, an international agreement between countries to take this seriously.”

Though, like MacLellan and Fraser, Newman agrees that people do need to think about how climate change effects not only production, but how the forces that lead to climate change themselves effect our food security.

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