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Editorial: B.C. storm shows impact of climate change is here

More extreme weather is becoming more common

First there was the "heat dome" this summer, which brought unprecedented temperatures to B.C., causing hundreds of deaths and sparking fires that wiped out an entire community and many more.

This week, just a few months later, we’re mopping up after Biblical level floods, which have destroyed several major highways, including main transportation routes in and out of the Lower Mainland and put entire towns under water.

Can the plague of locusts be far behind? How about a global pandemic?

Forgive us if it’s starting to feel a more than a little apocalyptic around here.

To have both extreme weather events happen within months of each other feels very ominous. More frequent extreme weather is one of the impacts of climate change we’ve been warned about for years. Now, it’s apparently arrived.

In this week’s storm, the North Shore has been relatively lucky. Partly that’s geography, partly it's luck and partly that’s hard experience: lessons of a previous fatal landslide helped North Vancouver learn to plan for and mitigate some risks.

But this week also feels like a “teachable moment,” coming as it does immediately after the most recent global climate conference, where more promises were made to stem human-caused global warming. Those promises are only as good as our willingness to turn them into action.

The temptation when listening to the “blah blah” as activist Greta Thunberg has described it, is to view climate change and its impacts as a distant problem, divorced from our own choices in everything from energy to transportation.

This week shows us emphatically once again that it isn’t.

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