Climate Change: At Our Cottage & Everywhere
Big changes are coming to Ontario’s lakes & rivers.
First: Audubon’s ”Birds & Climate Change Report” suggests that within this century, “the call of the Loon may disappear” from its traditional territory as a result of global warming. The bald eagle is on the list, and the Baltimore Oriole too. In fact, Audubon’s models suggest that 314 bird species of 588 studied will lose more than 50% of their current climatic range by 2080 due to habitat disruption brought on by climate change.
Second: The World Meteorological Organization’s annual ”Greenhouse Gas Bulletin” indicates that greenhouse gas concentrations rose 34% since 1990. The WMO is the United Nation’s authoritative voice on the state of Earth’s atmosphere, the climate it produces and the ultimate distribution of water resources. “We know without any doubt that our climate is changing and our weather is becoming more extreme due to human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. “The laws of physics are non-negotiable.”
Climate change will affect our land and water resources, our economy and ultimately our way of life. The Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations cautions that these profound shifts will impact our waterfront communities, and indeed everyone in Ontario, where our existence is inextricably linked to our watery legacy.
In Ontario, we can expect to experience lower lake levels, shorter periods of winter ice, invasions of more and different non-native species, and dramatic changes to the conditions that support our fish & wildlife. Higher water temperatures may accelerate the accumulation of mercury and other contaminants in the food chain and ultimately fish, and may contribute to more toxic algal blooms.
So, what can we do ?
It is incumbent on all of us to reduce our contribution to the global problem of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, as a major and first step. We can help by increasing energy efficiency at every opportunity, reducing energy consumption including kilometres, reducing power boat usage, by avoiding waste, and by recycling.
We need to minimize human pressures on the global and local environment to reduce the vulnerability of ecosystems. Action includes reducing air pollution, protecting the quality of water supply and aquatic habitat, minimizing urban sprawl, reducing habitat destruction and fragmentation, restoring critical habitats, and preventing the spread of invasive non-native species.
SOURCE: Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Association, FOCA Executive Director “with permission to quote excerpts”