A recent survey conducted by Alberni Climate Action shows that many Alberni Valley residents are “very” concerned about the local impacts of climate change, especially wildfires.
The survey had 197 respondents, who were asked to rate their concern about the impacts of climate change on a scale of 1 to 5, in which 1 was “not concerned” and 5 was “very concerned.”
The following is a list of the local impacts of climate change that participants were asked to rate. It shows the percentage of respondents who registered a high level of concern:
1. Wildfires and smoke and air quality: 91 percent.
2. Increased water temperature and impact on salmon: 88 percent.
3. Die-off of native tree species (e.g. Western Red Cedar) due to hotter, drier summers: 82 percent.
4. Impact of reduced snow-pack, hotter, drier summers and wildfires on drinking water supplies: 82 percent.
5. Wildfires and family safety: 80 percent.
6. Heat waves and health: 75 percent.
7. Food shortages in our region as a result of drought impacts to world food supplies: 71 percent.
8. Impact of wildfires and native tree species die-off on timber harvest industries: 70 percent.
9. Rising sea levels and extreme rain events: 66 percent.
10. Increase in disease carrying insects (e.g. Lyme disease): 65 percent.
The sources informing the survey included the B.C. Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy 2021, Alberni Together for Climate document 2020 and the Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities Climate Action Goals.
Members of Alberni Climate Action presented the results of their survey to Port Alberni city council on Sept. 27, asking council to declare a state of climate emergency and use the Alberni Together for Climate document as a reference in the city’s Official Community Plan review.
Council agreed to review the Alberni Together for Climate document before considering the requests.
Alberni Climate Action is a locally-based community group formed to work on local climate crisis issues.
“We felt that this summer’s heat wave and wild fires had heightened local residents’ concerns about climate change, and that this increased awareness presented an opportunity for us to highlight what the climate emergency holds in store for the Alberni Valley,” explained Robert Gunn, chair of Alberni Climate Action.
“It is important for all levels of government to act like this is a climate emergency and we believe that this survey is an indication that local residents are ready for their leaders to take the necessary action.”
The climate action survey also offered draw prizes for people who filled out the survey. Holly Roberts was the winner of a $100 gift certificate to the Clam Bucket and Laurel White won a $100 gift card from Boomerangs Café.
For more information about Alberni Climate Action, visit www.aca.zone.