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climate impacts

You Can Make a Difference!

Climate change is a global problem, and there is no question that it requires action at the national and international levels. But the effects of climate change are being experienced locally - on Koshlong and across cottage country - and there are things we can do as individual households, and as a KLA community, to address both the causes and the impacts.

Please consider engaging in actions that fit with your household capacity and needs, such as:

1. Reducing our own emissions.

2. Mitigating the impacts of a warmer climate on our lake and surrounding environment.

3. Adapting to evolving conditions, to protect our families, neighbours and property.

4. Engaging with research, advocacy and governance at the local and provincial levels. 

Reducing emissions

At the cottage, there are two main contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, the main driver of atmospheric warming and climate change: the energy you use in the cottage itself, and the vehicles you drive to and during your time there.

You can improve the energy efficiency of your cottage in small and larger ways:

  • Unplug appliances and devices when they're not in use
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with low-energy, long-lasting LEDs
  • Install blinds to reduce solar heat gain in summer and heat loss during colder months
  • Replace old mercury thermostats with digital programmable thermostats
  • Improve the insulation of your cottage and seal air leaks
  • Choose Energy-Star appliances and heating units if you are upgrading
  • Choose high efficiency windows and doors if you are building or renovating
  • Explore non-fossil-fuel based heating and energy options, such as solar panels or a heat pump

You can also improve the efficiency of your vehicle "fleet":

  • Service your vehicles regularly -- oil changes, engine tuning, and properly inflated tires all contribute to fuel efficiency; try to choose a more fuel-efficient model if you are purchasing a new car, boat or other vehicle
  • Take fewer trips and adopt good driving practices; here are some tips for more efficient boating, and efficient driving
  • Take up paddling, biking, skiing and snow-shoeing to reduce use of fossil-fuel-powered boats, ATVs and snowmobiles

The Municipality of Highlands East has set a target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 15% over the period from 2018 - 2030. As a property owner in Highlands East, can you help meet that target?

mitigating the impacts

Warmer lakes are more conducive to the growth of algae, with negative impacts on you and on wildlife. While we as cottagers cannot drop ice cubes in to cool the lake as we do our summer dock drinks, we can reduce the "food" that feeds the algae: phosphorous and other nutrients

The warmer environment also impacts precipitation levels through the hydrologicacycle. Dry summers are great for our recreational activities, but dangerous for the forest surrounding Koshlong. 

To lessen the damages of climate change, each cottage household can:

  1. Maintain a healthy septic system
  2. Preserve or restore a natural shoreline
  3. Protect existing, healthy trees, and plant more wherever possible: trees absorb and store carbon, keeping it out of the atmosphere
  4. Practice fire safety, indoors and out

Adapting to a changed climate

In cottage country as elsewhere, we are experiencing more frequent and more severe storms, as well as more forest fires. As cottagers we need to be prepared for potential storm and fire emergencies. 

Protect yourself:

  1. Check the weather before you head out on the lake or trails
  2. Carry safety gear: a whistle or horn, flashlight or flares, first aid kit, and fully charged phone
  3. In the event of a severe storm, get to safety:
    shelter indoors if possible, away from windows and doors;
    if you are outdoors, seek lower ground away from tall trees and metal objects;
    if you are on a boat, get to shore!
  4. Keep emergency supplies on hand at your cottage

Protect your property from lighting, high winds, ice and flooding:

  1. Secure outdoor furniture, BBQs, yard tools and small boats; remove construction waste or debris
  2. Secure your dock to prevent ice damage in winter
  3. Check your roof for loose or missing shingles, and conduct necessary repairs
  4. Repair loose or damaged siding and fencing
  5. Seal any gaps in siding, windows and foundations
  6. Keep gutters clean
  7. Trim trees and branches near the cottage roof and power lines, and remove dead trees
  8. Consider installing a surge protector on your electrical panel
  9. Address landscaping to ensure water drains away from your cottage or foundation
  10. Maintain a healthy shoreline to prevent ice and flood damage

Engaging in action

Read an example of how local advocacy made a difference in Muskoka

Thanks to KLA member Rob Horsburgh for his photograph of Wallace Island used as the background photo throughout this site

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