Kwilákm and the Changing Climate
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On an early spring morning, the landscape around Kwilákm looks much as it always has: the sea, the mountains, and a shore lined with fir trees that, these days, shelter waterfront homes. This looks familiar, but beneath the surface, the ocean is changing in a way it hasn’t for eons—changes that will be with us for a long time. The science is clear: humans are changing Earth’s climate. Human-caused climate change is affecting the planet in ways that could affect all life. We are witnessing an increase in the severity and frequency of storms, heat waves, wildfire, and heavy rains.
These negative effects will worsen as the level of carbon pollution in our atmosphere continues to rise.
Earth’s changing climate is changing the world’s oceans. According to a report by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the world’s oceans are absorbing about 90 per cent of the planet’s greenhouse gas-related heating. Scientists have found climate change is affecting the marine world by:
- Hotter ocean water temperatures
- Changing ocean chemistry — Ocean Acidification
- Raising sea levels while increasingly the intensity and frequency of storms
When the temperature spikes seashore life dies: see Killer Heat Dome 2021. Warmer water is presenting opportunities for some and challenges to survival for others. We will look into some of the ways nature is fighting back against climate change. How are these changes to the marine world likely to affect the Bay’s creatures, plants, and natural systems? In this section we look at some of the challenges the climate catastrophe will bring to the Bay.
Climate change is the biggest, most urgent problem many of us face. Many have started using stronger terms such as climate emergency, climate crisis, and climate catastrophe to reflect the severity. The overall solution to the climate crisis is to significantly reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. To protect our irreplaceable marine ecosystems, we must act.