No snow pack speaks of climate change calamity

One doesn’t need to look at the science (though there’s plenty of it) to see that climate change is real.

Snow packs the hills around Lake Cowichan in the early 1960s. This is what it looked like in May.

Snow packs the hills around Lake Cowichan in the early 1960s. This is what it looked like in May.

One doesn’t need to look at the science (though there’s plenty of it) to see that climate change is real.

There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence simply from our own memories, along with photos like the one above, to back up what scientists around the globe are warning about.

Taken in the early 1960s, in May, this photo graphically depicts just how much show was on the hills around Lake Cowichan (not even very high up). That snow pack has been reduced to zero, or virtually zero for the last several years.

So why is this worth mentioning? It informs many of the issues that are being debated in the Cowichan Lake communities at present. Questions surrounding the weir at Cowichan Lake, and Catalyst’s proposal to install pumps to try to keep the river flowing at a healthy level during the summer drought months, as well as questions of flood management and who should take control of the watershed are profoundly influenced by the impacts of climate change.

A snow pack used to hold water in for when we needed it in July, August and September. Without that natural storage we are left floundering in the shallows. Less snow is falling, certainly, and our winter temperatures have risen to the point where it doesn’t stay when the white stuff does stick to the ground. Clearcuts don’t help.

We must face up to the changes we are undergoing, so that we can find solutions and prevent further damage.