Sammy McLean, 14, felt overwhelming helplessness as she stood with her family and watched two angry rivers – the Bow and the Elbow – surge through their home, cutting a path of destruction across the downtown Calgary neighbourhood. Furniture flew through the front windows, and the basement and first floor were washed out and filled with mud. McLean remembers thinking that her once calm, picturesque street resembled a war zone.
A confident, athletic girl, McLean says the flood left her vulnerable, scared and hating the rivers that encircled her home. “They wouldn’t let us in for several days after we were evacuated,” says McLean, who now lives in a downtown condo with her parents and three siblings while the house is being extensively renovated. “I used to think the rivers were so pretty. It made me not like them any more. I thought the water was going to take away the whole house – and my bedroom.”
While the Alberta floods haven’t been directly linked to climate change, destructive weather events are expected to increase in Canada in the future. McLean, a normally upbeat youth, is painfully aware of the sheer power of Mother Nature and the carnage its fury can wreak. She’s now anxious about what we’re doing to our environment. “I volunteered to take an active role in my school’s Model United Nations, which is studying the impact climate change is having on our planet,” she said. Click here to continue reading.
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