Jacqueline’s Climate Story


Jacqueline Ryalls


Cobourg, Ontario, Canada

How are you sensing climate change?

I grew up in a small town on Lake Ontario before moving about an hour or two away for school in Toronto. After my family also moved away, I didn’t get the chance to revisit my hometown until the summer of 2019. But on that visit, the typical sight of sailboats sitting in the harbor shocked me, as something was different: they sat at least a foot higher on the otherwise calm lake, masts pushed toward the sky due to abnormally high precipitation, affecting the water levels in the region. Some paths along the water, usually 10 or so feet from the shore, were being threatened by the encroaching waves. While I feel lucky that I live in a place that has been relatively safe from the more disastrous aspects of climate change, when it does happen to affect the environment here, it is particularly jarring and bizarre.

How do these changes make you feel?

Although my experience isn’t a particularly harrowing one, it was surreal, uncomfortable, and significant. I’m left thinking about how such experiences would be greatly multiplied in places that are less fortunate regarding geography and the effects of climate change.



Cobourg, Ontario, Canada

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