Tag: Canada

Climate Lawsuits

The La Rose youth climate plaintiffs (Our Children’s Trust, September 30, 2020)

On October 27th 2020, the Canadian Federal Court rejected a lawsuit headed by 15 Canadian youth who intended to argue that their Charter Rights were being violated by insufficient government action against climate change. The details of La Rose et al. vs. Her Majesty the Queen and the rejection are explored in greater depth here.

These young Canadians were not the first nor will they be the last to try to bring the climate change fight into a legal arena. The Netherlands vs. Urgenda ruled on December 20th 2019 that inadequate action against climate change is a violation of human rights, and the court mandated a strict target on greenhouse gas emission reduction. Similar cases are being brought to the table across the world.

Summer Skies and Smoke Pollution

A photograph of a West Kelowna beach during the daytime taken September 8 2020. The sky is visibly smokey, completely grey with no visible horizon. The sunlight reaching the beach looks darker than normal and red-shifted because of the smoke.
Smokey skies in West Kelowna (Brady Strachan/CBC)

As summer fades to fall, many of us might be hoping to walk outside (while physically distancing, of course) and soak up the remnants of sunny blue skies – only to be disappointed with grey smoke overhead. While British Columbia has had its fair share of wildfires, the current smoke blanketing southern BC is largely credited to our neighbours south of the border.

Throughout the summer, fires from Washington state and California have resulted in the dispersion of smoke into Canada as well as people out of their homes. Furthermore, a recent study from the University of Colorado Boulder has found that many areas in California and Colorado are becoming less resilient to fires, and that many affected forests are projected to become permanent grassland. The study highlights the importance of battling climate change before changes become permanent (read the press release here).

Increasingly severe fire seasons in North America are starting to serve as a near-annual reminder that the changing climate is a global problem and that disasters in one part of the world tend to have negative impacts elsewhere. Here’s how you can protect your lungs from smoke this fall (hint: the advice is largely one that’s been echoed throughout 2020 – stay inside!).