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District Municipality of Muskoka Muskoka Water Web

Planning for Climate Change in Muskoka

With Dr. Peter Sale

Past-chair, Muskoka Watershed Council


Presented at several locations across the watershed throughout the spring and summer.


About the Talk


Climate is changing in Muskoka just as it is changing elsewhere, and we are powerless to alter the trajectory by taking local action. Instead, we must adapt to the changes coming, while supporting the global actions that need to take place if we are to avert truly serious changes in climate later in this century. To adapt effectively, we must plan ahead and be proactive.


Beginning in mid-2014, the Muskoka Watershed Council has studied the climate we are likely to see at mid-century, and has assessed the impacts it will have on our environment, our infrastructure and our lives. A subcommittee including a number of environmental scientists met monthly through to the summer of 2015 with three tasks: to define the mid-century climate in Muskoka, to evaluate its impacts, and to make recommendations for action to adapt and perhaps to ameliorate some of those impacts. A final report was produced, which is now available on the MWC website and in hard copy, and several brochures highlighting specific aspects are in production.


The good news is that the mid-century climate is likely to be one we can do well in; however, the less good news is that it will likely lead to some profound changes in our environment that we should try to avoid, and that it will require some modifications to infrastructure and the way in which we live our lives. The recommendations range from steps individuals can take to reduce their own carbon footprints or manage their own land, to larger steps that will require engagement of community groups or one or more levels of government; all residents should participate in the discussion about how best to proceed. We, and Muskoka, will have a far better future if we plan carefully and act to minimize deleterious impacts. Our lakes and forests, so critical to our economy and our quality of life, will thank us.


Dr. Sale will outline this project, and will report on the likely mid-century climate and how it is likely to impact our lives. He will explain why careful planning and action are needed, and how we might act to retain the special environment we all value highly.




About Peter Sale


Peter F SaleDr. Peter F Sale was Assistant Director at United Nations University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health and is University Professor Emeritus at the University of Windsor. Educated at the University of Toronto and the University of Hawaii, his research into ecology of coral reefs spanned a career at the University of Sydney, (1968-87), University of New Hampshire (1988-93), and University of Windsor (1994-2006).


His work has focused primarily on reef fish ecology, most recently on aspects of juvenile ecology, recruitment and connectivity. He has done research in Hawaii, Australia, the Caribbean and the Middle East, and visited reefs in many places in between. He has successfully used his fundamental science research to develop and guide projects in international development and sustainable coastal marine management in the Caribbean and the Indo-Pacific. His laboratory has produced over 200 technical publications and he has edited three books dealing with marine ecology.


He now lives with his wife Donna in Muskoka while leading projects applying science to coastal marine management in tropical regions around the world. His most recent book, Our Dying Planet, tells the story of our impacts on the environment from the perspective of an ecologist who has seen environmental decline with his own eyes.