Climatic and Environmental Changes Affecting Communities in Atlantic Canada

Vasseur, L., M. Thornbush, Plante, S., Climatic and Environmental Changes Affecting Communities in Atlantic Canada, Sustainability, 9(8), 2017.

Small rural coastal communities located in Atlantic Canada are vulnerable to the effects of climate and environmental changes. Major storms have impounded the coastline, causing much physical damage and affecting the socioeconomics of these communities that are composed of an aging population. The current study relays findings based on interviews completed in 2011–2012, following the 2010 winter storms in Atlantic Canada. It portrays the physical and social–ecological impacts affecting 10 coastal communities located in the provinces of Québec, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Semi-structured interviews held in these provinces are the basis for the contributions of this research. The findings reveal physical changes related to coastal erosion from high-wave impacts and storm surge causing flooding of the coastal zone. Also considered are strategies preferred and actually implemented by residents, such as building of protection walls, although undesirable. Due to funding constraints, however, many of these large-scale flood protection projects are not possible without governmental support. Instead, it is suggested that development be controlled and some respondents in this study upheld that relocation be used to alleviate the situation. Finally, more work is required to improve emergency planning. Better concerted short- and long-term responses need to be coordinated by local authorities and higher up in the government in order to ensure the sustainability of these coastal communities.