WATCH: This is what Canada will look like if we don’t stop climate change

Campbell Baron
Story by Campbell Baron • CBC Kids News • Published 2019-06-17 14:59

Scientist predicts the changes in your area


EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is part of a CBC News series called In Our Backyard, which looks at how climate change is affecting Canadians, and what's being done about it.


By now we've all heard the warnings.

We have slightly more than 10 years to get climate change under control — or else.

Or else what?

I wanted to find out what might happen to Canada if we don't meet that deadline.

I started by travelling to the University of Guelph in Ontario to speak with ecologist Merritt Turetsky.

Scientist Merritt Turetsky used the example of Minecraft to explain how computer models predict how climate will change. (CBC)

She explained that climate scientists like herself use a computer modelling program to make predictions about the future.

The program tracks how air and water flows through the atmosphere, dividing the information into small blocks, kind of like Minecraft.

The models "aren't perfect," Turetsky said, "but they are the only tool that we have."

I asked Turetsky to help us time travel 50 years into the future and look at five regions across Canada.

How will they be affected if we don't stop climate change?

West Coast

Northern B.C. might not have any forests at all because of wildfire damage.

North

In Nunavut, thawing permafrost and melting sea ice will cause all kinds of problems, including making it hard to travel on ice roads.

Prairies

Dry conditions will mean "we're going to need to make hard choices about where to send what little water we have,"  Turetsky said.

Should it go to people for drinking water? Or to farmers to grow food?

Central

Heat waves will become more common in Ontario and Quebec.

It can be deadly when the temperature stays above 30 C many days in a row.

East Coast

Stronger storms and rising sea levels will put people who live on the water at risk.

Helicopter flies through smoke and ash.

In 2016, a wildfire near Fort McMurray, Alta., burned nearly 6,000 square kilometres of forest. That's bigger than the province of P.E.I. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Flooding, fires, storms — it sounds like mayhem.

So what can we do about it?

Talking about climate change is an important first step, Turetsky said.

"We know that kids talking about climate change have a big influence on how their parents think," she said.

Because parents can vote, they can push governments to act on climate change.

For more solutions, check out CBCKidsNews.ca on June 21 for the next instalment in my climate change series.

In Part 4, we'll be looking at a kind of technology that could slow down climate change.

In case you missed it

Here are links to the other videos in my climate change series so far:

1/ Understanding climate change, from a kid's perspective
2/ Citizen science and the war on climate change

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About the Contributor

Campbell Baron
Campbell Baron
CBC Kids News Contributor
Campbell Baron is a 15-year-old entrepreneur and video producer from Toronto. He loves creating video content and got his start developing social media videos for brands, helping them tell stories that target younger audiences. He's worked with companies such as Sleep Country Canada and Pinkberry and is excited to work with CBC Kids News to produce engaging stories for kids across Canada.
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