As our region continued to grow and expand through the 2000s, cries for action to be taken to prepare for and mitigate the effects of climate change grew louder and louder; not just on a global scale, but locally as well. Born out of the need to adapt locally to projections by environmental experts that were becoming more and more alarming, the Cowichan Climate Change Collaboration first came together in 2014 to work on a collective strategy that addressed climate change at a local level, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable populations in our community and how to build resiliency in our neighbourhoods.
The collaborative was made up of more than 20 environmental and social benefit organizations, local governments including Cowichan Tribes, faith organizations, and provincial government agencies dedicated to creating local responses to the impacts climate will have on our region in coming years.
We have been involved in an ongoing climate change adaptation initiative that builds community and resiliency to climate change neighbourhood by neighbourhood. The collaboration works with neighbourhoods indicating interest in climate adaptation projects that enables residents to better respond to climate change through education, skills training, and relationship building.
While our efforts have been ongoing, concrete steps we took though this work included establishment of community gardens and rainwater catchment systems; emergency preparedness kits and establishments of emergency protocol and evacuation routes; information sessions to educate residents about climate change and what can be done on a local level to mitigate its effects. The added benefit of neighbourhood cohesion and community building was also seen as an important step in moving toward a future for which we are better able to face the effects of climate change.