Delta’s climate action should include protecting Burns Bog


Re: Delta wants to do more than just declare a climate emergency, Nov. 26

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The City of Delta is looking for ways to see what additional measures can be taken to mitigate climate change. This is the same city that has voted to approve industrial development within Burns Bog, adjacent to the protected Burns Bog Ecological Conservation Area.

Peat, which is the soil of a bog, accumulates at a rate of one to two millimetres per year. The metres of peat found in Burns Bog have been piling up for thousands of years. All this peat traps carbon, and when it is removed from the ecosystem, releases carbon into the atmosphere.

Building over historic bog lands also threatens the biodiversity of Burns Bog. Over 175 bird species and over 300 plant and animal species are found in Burns Bog. Preserving biodiversity means preserving the ecosystem in which it is found.

Picture yourself baking a cake. You know the middle cooks slower than the edges. The larger the cake, the longer it takes to cook. Now if you shrink the pan, the middle cooks faster. This is what is happening to Burns Bog.

As we slowly chip away at the edges, the integral centre is becoming more at risk. It may only start with one or two species, but the effects will snowball into a catastrophic collapse of ecosystem dynamics.

Bog restoration can only take place in areas where there was once a bog. Once developed, it would take over hundreds of years to restore that area to a healthy bog.

If Delta wants actions over words, then preserving Burns Bog should be the first action. Fighting climate change requires proactive efforts, not just reactive ones.

Canada has experienced warming at twice the rate of the global average. This number is even greater as we move further north.

Putting our emissions in perspective to China’s is a cop-out of taking self-accountability. Future generations will look back on history and wonder why action wasn’t taken sooner.

As a nation, we can be leaders in a global effort to create a future which our children’s children will be able to experience.

Nikolai Karpun

Research and Stewardship Coordinator

Burns Bog Conservation Society

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