March 30, ’21. A green budget? Record fines for Teck. Supreme Court says climate crisis is real.

Listen or download the MP3 of the March 30 Show HERE:

The Canadian government released its big climate plan back last December, but coming up in just a few weeks here, we’ll find out if the Liberal government is going to put our money down on substantial action on climate.  The budget is coming up April 19 and environmental organizations across Canada will be watching closely to see if it really backs up all the talk about taking on the climate crisis with real resources.   A group of environmental NGOS published a report this week on what would be crucial in the budget, a wish list.  We talk to one of the authors Vanessa Corkal from the International Institute for Sustainable Development about what to watch for in the budget.

Last week in a court in Vancouver, record environmental fines were handed to Teck Resources for ongoing pollution coming off its massive coal mines in the Rocky Mountains of the Elk Valley.  $60 million in fines. Huge right? Well maybe not when you compared the billions Teck is taking out of the mountains.  We’re catching up again with Lars Sander-Green from Wildsight… and he walks us through it.   Also last week the Supreme Court of Canada released a major decision confirming that the climate crisis is real and the federal government is constitutionally allowed to impose a carbon cost to reduce emissions in every province.  A big win.  I spoke with one of the official intervenors in the case from the Council of Canadians Regina, Saskatchewan chapter.  Jim Elliott is happy to talk about the big win.

We’ve got events, an editorial this week from Linn Murray and wrapping it all up Linn brings us this week’s environment news.


Climate Strike Fridays for Future West Kootenay

April 2nd Friday at 2 PM PDT – 2 PM PDT at Nelson City Hall.

Join us for the next major global climate strike! Please wear a mask and observe social distancing. Look forward to seeing you! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send us a message!


Not On My Watch.    Alexandra Morton’s testimony on Salmon. 

7 pm Wednesday, March 31.

Book Launch for her new book, Not on My Watch: How a Renegade Whale Biologist Took on Governments and Industry to Save Wild Salmon. Alex Morton is interviewed by writer and conservationist Ian Gill, followed by a panel discussion featuring coastal Indigenous leaders ƛiʔiik Tsimka Martin, Homiskanis Don Svanvik, and Galagame Bob Chamberlin.


Carbon, water, and recreation: Protecting the land that sustains us

Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 11:30 AM PDT

Join this webinar with Wildsight and Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative to learn about first-of-its-kind research that maps Canada’s most important places for freshwater, carbon storage, and nature-based outdoor recreation. 

Presenters include Dr. Aerin Jacob, ia conservation scientist at the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, and Dr. Matthew Mitchell, a Research Associate in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia.

We will zoom in on B.C.’s Inland Temperate Rainforest, the Columbia Basin, and southern mountain caribou habitat, and explore how this tool can inform decisions about land and water management, planning, and conservation at national, provincial, and regional scales.

Please pre-register at:


Mushrooms in the Spring West Kootenay EcoSociety webinar


The West Kootenay EcoSociety has another one of its popular online webinars coming up…. and this one is on Mushrooms in the Spring with local mycophile Rob Macrae. 

The is going to be talking about the importance of mushrooms in old growth ecosystems. These fascinating fungi are more important than most people realize, and Rob will be there to unravel their secrets. RSVP now for our first webinar with an incredibly fun-guy (fungi).

Go to and click on EVENTS.  Or go the West Kootenay EcoSociety facebook page.


In a new report by an international coalition of environmental NGOs, says that the world’s biggest 60 banks have provided $3.8tn of financing for fossil fuel companies since the Paris climate deal in 2015.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic cutting energy use, overall funding remains on an upward trend and the finance provided in 2020 was higher than in 2016 or 2017, a fact the report’s authors and others described as “shocking”.

If we are to have any hope of reaching the Paris targets on climate, we know that the global fossil fuel industry has to start shrinking fast. A significant proportion of existing reserves must remain in the ground if global heating is to remain below 2C. 

So the fact that banks are investing in the growth of the fossil fuel industry is problematic.  The international campaign for divestment from fossils has apparently not yet made it to the bank board rooms

US and Canadian banks account for almost half of global fossil fuel financing over the last five years, the report found. JPMorgan Chase provided more finance than any other bank but the several big Canadian banks RBC, TD and the Bank of Montreal are all on the list.

Schools were shut down across Nepal this week, as air pollution hit alarming levels raising concerns over public health and containing the Coronavirus.

The Himalayan country of 30 million saw air pollution levels rise to their highest levels since the government began tracking pollution in 2016.

Air pollution is a chronic problem in the rapidly growing capital city of Kathmandu, raising the risk of cancer, stroke, asthma, high blood pressure, and respiratory illnesses like those caused by COVID-19. Schools will remain closed in the Nepalise capital for at least 4 days, as the population holds their breath, waiting for the thick clouds of smoke to leave.


In a recent opinion piece on three climate experts explain that the new federal proposal for carbon offsets would likely not really reduce carbon emissions, but in fact would allow them to increase.

The “proposal will likely give the illusion of progress, even as it increases emissions” reads the headline. 

While buying “carbon offset” credits would allow an industry to increase its own emissions, there is little guarantee that the “offset” designed to reduce emissions will really do that.  In fact real world offsets have often been shown to not reduce the greenhouse gas emissions they were paid for.

SFU’s Mark Jaccard, along with Kathryn Harrison and Nicholas Rivers concluded that the federal proposal likely won’t work.  They say “ without major reforms, Canada’s newest climate policy is likely to give the illusion of progress, even as it increases carbon emissions.”


In Ottawa, the Supreme Court made a key ruling this week, declaring that the Federal Government’s carbon price is constitutional. 

In a 6-3 decision, the court agreed that “Climate change is real. It is caused by greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities, and it poses a grave threat to humanity’s future,”

Chief Justice Richard Wagner, writing for the majority, said the federal government is free to impose minimum pricing standards because the threat of climate change is so great that it demands a co-ordinated national approach.

The West-Kootenay cities of Nelson and Rossland, along with other BC cities were interveners in the case, supporting the federal government’s carbon pricing system.


The Alberta “energy war rooms” campaign against the animated family movie: Bigfoot Family has backfired and given the online release a real boost with the publicity.  That’s what the film’s director Ben Stassen told Canadian Press.

The films viewings were dropping on Netflix before the Canadian Energy Centre, set up by the Jason Kenney government in Alberta to defend its oil industry from what it claims is foreign propaganda.

But after news media played up the ridiculousness of attacking Bigfoot, millions more jumped on to watch it.

The Canadian Energy Centre started a petition against the movie, urging people to send Netflix Canada letters saying the film villainizes energy workers and tells lies about the oil sector.

The Centre’s CEO Tom Olsen said its campaign against Bigfoot was a huge success.


In the largest penalty ever issued for Fisheries Act offences, Teck Coal Limited was fined $60 million by the Provincial Court of British Columbia Friday for polluting waterways in the Elk Valley, where the company operates metallurgical coal mines.

The coal mining company pleaded guilty to two charges related to selenium and calcite pollution from its Fording River and Greenhills mines.

Associate Chief Judge Paul Dohm said he is “satisfied the penalties imposed are a significant deterrent to Teck Coal.”

Meanwhile, the kootenay-based environmental organization Wildsight is raising concerns, stating that a $60 million fine is inconsequential when compared to the $4.5 Billion dollars in profit from coal mining that Teck posted for the year 2012 alone.

While Teck CEO Don Lindsay issued an apology for the environmental disaster, experts worry that small fines will not deter future pollution by the company.

Former NDP MP Wayne Stetski will run again in Kootenay-Columbia, despite being defeated by Conservative Rob Morrisson in the 2019 federal election.

Stetski received the NDP nomination unopposed with unanimous adoption. This comes as speculation mounts that the Canadian government will call an early election this spring or summer.

Stetski says he is honoured to have been nominated and will continue to advocate for the people of Kootenay-Columbia. He adds that he is focused on recovering from the pandemic, among other party platforms like climate change and bringing “progressive voters together”.


And in Nelson by-election News:

Former BC Greens candidate Nicole Charlwood had been declared winner of the Nelson by-election in a landslide victory.

Charlwood finished with 74.7% of the vote, 750 votes ahead of runner up Brenton Raby. Josh Wapp finished third with 64 votes.

Voter turnout was very low, at below 20%.

Charlwood now joins Councilmembers Keith Page, Jesse Woodward, Rik Logtenburg, Cal Renwick, Janice Morrison and Mayor John Dooley on City Council.

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