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Climate Risks

In the midst of climate change, there are populations who are often highest at risk. 

Hazy smog over the City of Vancouver.

Climate change is one of today’s most critical challenges, but we know that not everyone is impacted by climate change equally.

In Vancouver, populations that are vulnerable to climate impacts, specifically Downtown Eastside residents and seniors across the city, face higher risks of exposure to climate hazards and have less ability to adapt and fewer opportunities to shape the decisions that impact their lives. For these populations, climate risks such as extreme heat and poor air quality are a function of exposure to climate hazards, sensitivity to these hazards, and the capacity to adapt.

Recognizing the need to create equitable, community-grounded responses to climate impacts that builds local resiliency, Evergreen collaborated with the City of Vancouver on the Climate Risks Project to reach populations vulnerable to climate impacts in the city. Through 9 local events, and 9 tailored community activities carried out in 5 different languages, Evergreen engaged 546 people who were vulnerable to climate risks.

The Climate Risks Project worked in partnership with the City of Vancouver and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to improve understanding of the impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations. 

Whether it’s hot, dry, wet or hazy, Vancouver prepares for a future filled with extreme weather.

 

The project provided pathways for vulnerable populations to share their experiences of climate change, concerns over future risks, and priorities for addressing climate change impacts.

Through public engagement, workshops and innovative solutions, we worked to support these communities in building their resilience and adaptive capacity to climate change. A summary of the following findings were shared with the City of Vancouver and Vancouver's Climate Adaptation Steering Comittee.

Key Findings:

Through public engagement, workshops and innovative solutions, we worked to support these communities in building their resilience and adaptive capacity to climate change. A summary of the following findings were shared with the City of Vancouver:

  • Access to clean, well-maintained drinking water and washrooms are needed both indoors and outdoors where people live, and where they access services.
  • Tree cover is needed above seating in parks, on streets where people wait in line for services, and along main streets where people walk. Trees must be maintained to prevent fallen branches and uneven sidewalks from roots. Outdoor spaces provide important opportunities for socializing, reducing isolation and building climate resilience.
  • Indoor cooling spaces need to be tailored to each particular group while also meeting their needs.
  • Cooling and air ventilation should be provided in spaces where people already access services.
  • Landlords, building managers of public and not-for-profit housing and community partners need to monitor and be aware of the health impacts of building design for new and old buildings during extreme heat and smoke, and empowered and supported through funding and tools. This may include the City relaxing building regulations or advocating for climate adaptations to be addressed in building regulations, and City-sponsored bulk-buying to provide necessary cooling solutions such as ventilation through windows and doors, air conditioning and filtration, misting stations in courtyards etc.