Blog Contributor: Michaela Jennings
In the fall of 2019, Niagara Adapts conducted a baseline survey to understand the vulnerability of municipalities in the Niagara Region to the effects of climate change. Climate change affects communities in a variety of ways; some can be extreme and cause harm to individuals and their property, others may create emergency circumstances.
The vulnerability assessment that was completed with the 7 Niagara Adapts partners was an opportunity to assess how the community was being impacted, and their perception of climate change in their municipality. The survey resulted in Climate Vulnerability Fact Sheets, which outline the results that were collected in the study. There is a general assessment of the Niagara Region, followed by an assessment of each of the participating municipalities. The fact sheets outline the results using infographics to highlight the key findings.
The infographics highlight the experiences of the respondents, presenting the percentages of those who have experienced flooding, extreme heat events, extreme cold events, and severe weather events in their community. These weather events are examples of how climate change is impacting communities in the Niagara Region. The percentages draw attention to the wide range of experiences being had in the region, as well as in each municipality independently.
As flooding is an important and potentially damaging impact of climate change, there is a section of the fact sheet that highlights flood preparedness in households. The infographic shows what households have done to prepare for flooding in their homes (rain barrels, sump pump, flood insurance, etc.). This section presents what respondents can do to prepare for sudden flooding in their homes, as well as the percentage of respondents who are already seeking those solutions.
The fact sheets also address the perspectives of the respondents on climate change in their community, and their perceived community preparedness. For example, in the Niagara Region, 74% of the respondents stated that climate change is impacting their community, with only 21% feeling that their community is prepared for the impacts of climate change. This is an important finding throughout the fact sheets, as it highlights where there is room for improvement in preparing for the impacts of climate change, as well as becoming more adaptable.
Overall, the fact sheets highlight the key significant findings. It offers an overview of climate change in the Niagara Region, and the 7 municipalities partnering with Brock University through Niagara Adapts. The fact sheets will be used to inform decisions in the community, and to assist in creating a climate-ready Niagara Region.