Two consecutive seasons of floods and fires may be too little to call this the new normal, but there is no sense hiding our heads in the sand.
Climate change, whether human-caused or just a natural trend, is a fact. And the massive changes in weather patterns across North America are a clear indicator.
It would be nice if there was no flooding next year, and the summer was a more typical one for B.C., a few weeks of really hot weather surrounded by perfect balmy days. But even if that were to happen, there is no guarantee that 2020 won’t bring more floods and fires.
It’s time for everyone to “hope for the best, prepare for the worst,” as the saying goes. That means that everyone, from senior governments down to the businesses that rely on great summers, needs to act as if this is the new normal, not a blip in climate patterns.
That might mean planning for higher than normal road repair costs due to washouts or slides, budgeting for flooding control just like we do for snow removal, and other forms of disaster preparedness.
For the tourism economy, it means working on new ways of drawing people to our communities, not just relying on traditional factors like sun and sand. Continuing to expand tourism into the shoulder seasons and make it a year-round economy, rather than a seasonal one, might need to be even more of a focus over the next few years.
And while we think we’ve got it bad dealing with smoke, most of us are comparatively lucky.
It’s true that the smoke and the high level of particulates is crippling for some, even dangerous, but for most of us, it pales to an inconvenience when you consider what firefighters and people living close to the fires are facing.
Just something to consider when we complain about smoky skies and their effects on us personally or the economy.