Sea Level Rise Will Completely Reshape Canada by 2100


Halifax Harbour. Image: Anson Chappell/Flickr
Vancouver, Halifax, and Tuktoyaktuk are on the front lines.

By Kate Lunau | MOTHERBOARD

In the past year, the Inuit community of Tuktoyaktuk in the Canadian Arctic, perched on the edge of the Beaufort Sea, has had to move five houses and a warehouse away from the shoreline because they were threatened by erosion, according to Mayor Darrel Nasogaluak.

„One was an emergency,“ Chukita Gruben, the community’s 22-year-old former climate change coordinator, told me over the phone. „The other ones were about to fall.“

Tuktoyaktuk, in the Northwest Territories—its population is around 900 people—is grappling with the effects of climate change. Permafrost melt is liquefying the ground under its buildings and roads. Sea levels are rising. The ice is melting earlier, and freezing later, meaning more open water and more storms. All this is contributing to the erosion that’s eating away at the coast.

„Climate change is something the community’s living with daily,“ Nasogaluak told me, and Tuk, as locals call it, is moving to adapt as quickly as it can.

Canadians, at least in the south, can sometimes feel smug about climate change. We read about places like the Maldives or even Miami being flooded by the rising seas, and it’s scary—but for many of us, this feels far off from our own reality. Yet Canada is being reshaped by the same forces. In the next century, our coastline will look much different than it does today. The western Arctic, southeastern Atlantic Canada, and Vancouver are on the front lines.

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