“Our resiliency will depend on the level of understanding
and maturity Canadians have regarding the connection
between energy, food, water and climate change.”
Responsible resource management and awareness key to resiliency
On the global scale, Canada is blessed with one of the richest reserves of extractable energy and is the fifth largest food exporter. It also possesses upwards of 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water. This wealth of resources – in a country of only 35 million – might be the envy of other nations, but also comes with responsibility, says Jon Fennell, vice president of geosciences and water security at Integrated Sustainability Consultants Ltd.
Dr. Fennell believes that while a lot of the discussion has focused on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, more awareness and maturity is needed on how climate change will affect Canada’s energy, food and water security.
“Understanding the critical importance of water to the continued delivery of energy and food is the lynch-pin,” he says. “Environment Canada indicates that approximately 60 per cent of Canada’s GDP is directly connected to water. Those sectors reliant on water of sufficient volume and quality – when and where they need it – should prepare themselves.”
Since water use varies across the sectors – and is not necessarily proportional to their contributions ot the GDP – Dr. Fennell advocates for more transparency.
While Dr. Fennell sees a growing awareness in the natural resource sector regarding sustainability and the importance of water to Canada’s future, he believes that this needs to trickle down to consumers so that they can make informed decisions.
“Climate change will create stress on existing societal structures given its influence on gross domestic product (GDP) and costs related to extreme weather events,” he says.
“Our resiliency will depend on the level of understanding and maturity Canadians have regarding the connection between energy, food, water and climate change,” Dr. Fennell explains. “We need to be informed and ask our government officials to enact laws and policies that will secure our nation’s future.”