#CCWIL: Eastern Ontario, Canada

#CCWIL: Climate Change Where I Live

Everyone is experiencing the negative impacts of climate change.

I live in Toronto, the largest city in Canada, but I have a cottage and family in smaller towns in Eastern Ontario. I also ride horses and travel out of the city to the small town of Stouffville many times a week. This summer we have experienced the worst drought in years. Being a part of the equestrian community means that I depend on farmers for hay for my horse. I also have family members who live on a farm and depend on their farm for their horses and their livelihood. Farmers usually are able to do at least two cuts of hay a year, but this year they are barely able to do one.

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This is a pasture for horses that is usually teeming with grass in the middle of August, yet this year all of the grass is dead. This has been typical of hay fields and pastures this summer.

As a result of the lack of rain, there has been a huge decrease in the production of crops as well as pasture land for livestock and horses. This does NOT just have an effect on those who work in the agriculture industry or who own horses, but everyone who eats food. If there is less production of crops there is less food. Less pasture for cattle to eat? Less healthy cattle to be eaten. The lack of pasture is leading animals to eat plants that are not meant for their digestive systems, that are unpalatable. Horses have been seen eating thistles!

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Ever heard of a corn field maze? This corn field would not get you lost! 

One of the major issues with the water shortage is that outside of major urban centres, homes are run on well water. With the lack of rain in Eastern Ontario, as well as many other areas around the world, comes the shortage of water. The fear of the completely real possibility that the well could RUN OUT OF WATER.

Water is a basic human right, it is a necessity of life. To have your source of drinking water depleted to the extent that you might run out is unacceptable. To have it become necessary to purchase bottled water from companies who have charged extra for water that was already yours, put it in toxic plastic that hurts the planet is unacceptable.

This is why environmental rights are human rights.

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It is mid-August yet the trees are dying and losing their leaves as if it was OCTOBER.

Not only have we experienced drought, but we have also experienced record heat waves and high temperatures. Everyone thinks Canada is cold, but it isn’t, not in mid-summer. Our average annual temperatures have risen 1.5 degrees Celsius since the 1950s, our winters are warmer, and our summers are hotter. Yet, cities like Toronto have decreased the support of cooling centres in the summer for people who don’t have air condition and decreased the number of warming centres in winter.

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This looks like fall to me, when it should be luscious in the prime of summer.

It is difficult to label the drought of three or four months that your home is having, followed by torrential downpour and possibility of extreme thunderstorms and flooding as climate change. It is difficult to acknowledge that you, too are being hit strongly by the effects of climate change, that your livelihood, if not your life is being threatened by the weather changes you are experiencing.

 But,
YOU
Are.

No matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter what you do, you are being negatively impacted by climate change. That is why we must protect our planet, because protecting our planet is protecting ourselves.

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