The Waughs River along the North Shore. File photo

TATAMGOUCHE – Seeing an increase in the power of storms convinced Guy Rochon to move from the shore to a place inland.

But still, the former environmental scientist to represent Canada at the UN on topics such as climate change and biodiversity is doing everything in his power to protect his property.

“The climate is warming twice as fast as scientists predicted,” said Rochon, who now lives in Tatamagouche and operates Blue Cabin Natural Products. “I had a home in Lawrencetown. The climate is going to be changing quite rapidly and people aren’t prepared for those types of storms. Even the storms we’ve seen the last couple weeks have been bad.”

The best thing people can do in regards to climate change is to leave the oil in the ground, however that doesn’t seem to be happening.

“When it was in the ground, it allowed the earth to have a stable climate,” he said. “The problem I’m seeing now is people are wanting to use the carbon tax. That would’ve been great if we started using it in 1992 when the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed. Now, they’re just trying to put a band-aid on the situation.”

While Rochon wasn’t prepared to continuing living on the shore with the rapid rise of climate change, he settled in Tatamagouche. That, however, doesn’t dispel his concerns about the increase of powerful and damaging storms.

“The best thing I’m doing right now to protect my home is the run-off and how to stop water from coming into my home. What I was seeing at Lawrencetown Beach was horrifying,” he said.

With more powerful storms than in previous years, Rochon said it’s important for homeowners to have a metal roof, especially for when the winds pick up in speed and strength.

“When it comes to asphalt and shingled roofs, we shouldn’t be doing those anymore.”

He said another big thing he is and others can be doing to protect their home is to assist where the water wants to go.

“Stop fighting where it wants to go, start assisting where it’s going,” said Rochon. “I’m amazed at the amount of water that comes out of the sky.”

Rochon said he’s changing the landscape of his property by following the water’s route.

He’s also preparing for the future by planting lots of trees around his house – he’s creating a spruce perimeter.

“I’m being a realist,” he said, about the work he’s doing. “The numbers are showing it’s only going to get worse.”

While he’s retired from his environmental science work with the UN, Rochon said he’s still following what’s going on in the world and especially at home.

“I used to be near the coast and watched the storms get more and more violent. I spent the majority of my career trying to get my generation to do something about it.”

Living on Lawrencetown Beach, Rochon said he saw people building iron stone berms to try and protect their property. He also saw the storm surges go right over the berms.

“The water is very powerful,” he said. “The biggest misconception people is have is because stone and rock is heavy, and it is, it will protect their property. But water is more powerful and will move iron stone.”

Rochon has seen roads, including the one leading to one of the province’s most popular beaches, Queensland Beach, be destroyed by storms, but it keeps being rebuilt.

“It’s hard to convince people they need to do something,” Rochon said. “Even inland, when a storm picks up I don’t feel safe. People have to hunker down and make their property as safe as possible.”