The Climate Barometer: Lawn painting and less flushing help Canadians live greener lives delves into climate science and what life on a changing planet will mean
May 25, 2023
The Climate Barometer

Our planet is heating up, causing tremendous upheaval for life as we know it. Every month, The Climate Barometer from delves into climate science and looks at what life on a changing planet will mean.

Here's what's happening in Canada

How climate change is contributing to hotter, larger wildfires

Amid an unusually intense heat wave in Western Canada, dozens of active wildfires are blazing across Alberta's protected forest areas. Since a state of emergency was declared in the province on May 6, wildfire smoke has affected air quality in several communities and as of May 23, more than 10,000 residents were displaced from their homes. Click here to read more about how climate change is contributing to wildfires that are hotter, larger and more intense. For more stories on wildfires in Canada, click below:

'Very concerning': Respirologist advises Western Canadians to stay indoors amid wildfire smoke, especially kids
Dramatic images as wildfires rage, smoke blankets parts of Canada


Lawn painting, less flushing help Canadians live greener lives

In an effort to limit the effects of climate change, many are taking it upon themselves to reduce their carbon footprint. Dozens of Canadians wrote to about how they are leading more eco-friendly lives by investing in energy-efficiency upgrades to their home, reducing plastic waste, and flushing the toilet less frequently. Click here for more on how Canadians across the country are minimizing their environmental impact. For more stories on pollution and ways to reduce waste, click below:

'There's no excuse': An expert's tips for the garbage Canadians get wrong
These are the most polluting industries in Canada, the U.S.

Focusing on...

The 'extinction crisis' among global wildlife

Throughout the years, human activity has wiped out a significant number of species and pushed many more to the brink. But a new study shows the global loss of wildlife is "significantly more alarming" than previously thought. Using data from more than 70,000 species over the last few decades, researchers from Northern Ireland and Czech Republic found that nearly half the globe's animal species are seeing their populations quickly diminish. Click here to read more about the key factors behind this, and which species are suffering the most. For more stories on the threats faced by wildlife today, click below:

Ocean temperatures are off the charts right now, and scientists are alarmed
Wild bees face heightened environmental challenges in cities: Canadian study

The top stories on...

Extreme weather events and their impact

Over the past 50 years, nearly 12,000 extreme weather and climate-related events have led to more than two million deaths worldwide, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization. Data from the UN agency also shows the economic damage caused by these disasters continues to grow. In Canada alone, several severe weather events such as heat waves and flooding have hit various parts of the country over the last few weeks. Click here for a list of recent extreme weather events in Canada and around the world. For more stories on the effects of severe weather, click below:

Why are heatwaves getting worse?
The world's largest lakes are shrinking dramatically and scientists say they have figured out the reason behind this

Around the world: Pro-cycling cities and sustainable death

Floods that hit Italy in mid-May have killed at least 14 people and destroyed countless farms and businesses. More than 20 rivers overran their banks and at least 300 landslides were triggered by heavy rainfall, which couldn't be absorbed by the terrain. According to scientists, these deadly floods are another example of extreme weather conditions caused by a changing climate. Click here to read more about how warming temperatures are affecting global rainfall patterns.

Researchers have long pointed to the environmental benefits associated with travelling by bike instead of car, particularly when it comes to reducing carbon emissions that drive global warming. During the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous countries saw a surge in cycling as residents looked to escape isolation in a relatively safe way. This prompted cities in continents such as North America and western Europe to improve their bicycle friendliness. Click here for a breakdown of what some of the most pro-cycling cities in Canada and other countries have done to expand safe cycling during the pandemic.

For those looking to live greener lives, spending less time driving and making more efforts to recycle may be some of the first strategies that come to mind. But now, a company based in the Netherlands is proving that sustainability efforts can extend into the afterlife, too. By combining hemp fibre with mycelium from mushrooms, Loop Biotech is able to "grow" biodegradable coffins. Click here to read more about these mushroom caskets and what makes them so environmentally friendly. For more on international efforts to protect the planet, click below:

The likelihood that Earth briefly hits key warming threshold grows bigger and closer, UN forecasts
Myanmar says official death toll from Cyclone Mocha at least 145, says aid is being provided

Riskin Report: Athlete performance in warmer climates

Is it possible for some athletes to perform better than others depending on the climate? A new study out of the United States is trying to answer this question using data from Ironman competitions.

The Ironman triathlon is a long-distance race where competitors swim, ride a bike and run a marathon, all in the span of 10 to 15 hours. Ryan Calsbeek, a professor of biological sciences at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, looked at data from nearly 200 contestants over 20 years to see if the temperature on the day they competed may have affected their results.

Although no clear difference was observed during the swimming or cycling portions of the race, performance during the marathon could be linked to the athlete's physique. However, this trend was only observed among men.

CTV News Science and Technology Specialist Dan Riskin explains why that could be the case in this month's Riskin Report. Click here to watch.

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