Let’s get ahead of the storm with green infrastructure

Yesterday the Government of Ontario promised to spend $190 million to help Greater Toronto Area (GTA) municipalities recover from devastating storms that have hit the region over the last few months.

 

Yesterday the Government of Ontario promised to spend $190 million to help Greater Toronto Area (GTA) municipalities recover from devastating storms that have hit the region over the last few months.

Local mayors welcomed the funding. It will help pick up the tab for disaster relief centers, hydro crew overtime and the cleanup of thousands of trees downed during a devastating late-December ice storm that left millions of residents without power for days.

But the climate will continue to change and severe storms will become increasingly common.

Last December’s ice storm and Calgary’s severe flooding last June are dramatic reminders of our vulnerability to severe weather events. Once referred to as “once in a century” occurrences, extreme storms are becoming disturbingly common in Canada and elsewhere.

The good news: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Communities can become more resilient to the effects of climate change by adopting policies that reduce vulnerability and costs.

One key strategy is to bring nature home. Planting trees and shrubs and constructing bioswales and engineered wetland add green while reducing storm water surges and flooding during heavy rainfall events.

As severe weather storms become more common, interest in preventative green infrastructure is exploding. The City of Philadelphia plans to spend $1.6 billion to convert one-third of its impervious asphalt surface to absorptive green spaces. And the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has begun to shift billions of dollars in expenditures into securing, protecting and enhancing green infrastructure following hurricane Sandy.

Read the full story here.

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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at www.amooseinamapletree.com. She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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