Protests planned outside MPs' offices on Canada on Fire Day of Action
Normally when climate activists stage a protest outside a politician's office in Metro Vancouver, it's usually directed at the ministers responsible for the environment.
At the federal level, that means the riding office of Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, who represents North Vancouver. At the provincial level, Environment and Climate Strategy Minister George Heyman's office in Vancouver-Fairview is where these demonstrations occur.
Every once in a while, there's an environmental protest at Attorney General David Eby's office. He's the MLA for Vancouver–Point Grey.
But with a federal election looming, activists have decided to turn their attention to several MPs in the Lower Mainland. It's part of 350.org's efforts to "demand emergency-level climate action".
Today (July 29) at noon as part of the climate-justice group's "Canada on Fire Day of Action", demonstrators will gather outside the office of Wilkinson.
In addition, protests will take place at the same time at the riding offices of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan (Vancouver South), Digital Government Minister Joyce Murray (Vancouver Quadra), Patrick Weiler (Liberal, West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country), Terry Beech (Liberal, Burnaby North–Seymour), NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh (Burnaby South), and Peter Julian (NDP, New Westminster–Burnaby).
Researchers say fires threaten all Canadians
Meanwhile, a team of scientists released a white paper today declaring that the current approach to wildfires in Western Canada is not sustainable.
"Fires of the immediate future threaten all Canadians, even if they are not directly in the path of the flames," they state.
The paper links chronic increases in wildfire smoke to increased hospital visits, degradation of physical and mental health, and hundreds of thousands of premature deaths in Canada each year.
According to the white paper, other consequences of wildfires include wage interruptions and lost jobs, shutdowns to transportation of consumer and industrial goods, a decline in tourism revenue, fluctuating housing prices and tax bases as communities are forced to rebuild, and the effects of trauma along with economic losses and detrimental health impacts.
To slow the spread of a 100,000-hectare wildfire, fire scientists recommend that more than 50 percent of the landscape needs to be treated, the scientists wrote.
"This means higher biomass utilization on harvest units, more harvest units prescribe burned, more salvage of damaged forests, more areas of non-forest fuels, more areas of deciduous forest, etc.," they states. "These thresholds to effectiveness are critical; if our investments in fuel treatments fall short of treating a high enough percentage of fire-prone landscapes, we are not likely to have enough of an impact given the scale and severity of wildfires to reduce negative consequences.
"We will continue to experience large, high severity fires with staggering levels of emissions as well as social, environmental, and economic costs."