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Local people gathered up above Slocan Lake at the Enterprise Creek hairpin corner to protest old growth logging this past Sunday. Enterprise Creek resident Theresa Smed tells us why they are concerned.
Fox Forest from Last Stand West Kootenay was at the gathering and she tells us yet more about the issue which was first highlighted last year by a Last Stand West Kootenay protest.
We will also good news about the Argenta Slope on the Northeast Corner of Kootenay Lake. I spoke to Bill Kastell from Cooper Creek Cedar, the subsidiary of Porcupine Lumber which logged part of the slope in the Salisbury Creek area.
Friday January 20, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Locals attend Egypt’s COP27 and Montreal’s COP15
The West Kootenay Climate Hub’s first webinar of the season is this Friday, January 20th Noon to 1 pm.
Why do international summits about climate change and biodiversity matter? And what do they have to do with the Kootenays?
Join the Climate Hub webinar featuring two community members who recently attended international UN Summits. They will share their personal experiences and what they learned from the international community in the hope that their stories will help inspire us to continue working locally to address the interconnected climate and biodiversity crises.
Dr. Marian Berry, a local neurologist, attended the COP27 Climate Summit in Egypt in November with her child Gideon, who is an engineering student and climate activist at UBC. Dona Grace-Campbell, a Kaslo resident who works in northern First Nations communities and is National Director of Stop Ecocide Canada, attended the COP15 Biodiversity Conference in Montreal in December.
Tuesday January 31, 4pm
New book: The End of This World: Climate Justice in So-Called Canada
The climate crisis is here, and the end of this world—a world built on land theft, resource extraction, and colonial genocide—is on the horizon. The authors of the newly released book The End of This World: Climate Justice in So-Called Canada envision a near future where oil and gas stay in the ground; where a caring economy provides social supports for all; where wealth is redistributed from the bloated billionaire class; and where stolen land is rightfully reclaimed under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples. The book is published as part of the Corporate Mapping Project.
Join us for a discussion with all six book authors They will focus on the book as a roadmap to a livable future, where Indigenous sovereignty and climate justice go hand in hand, showing that the next world is both within reach and worth fighting for.
Saturday February 25, 2023
Mass Mobilization for Old Growth Forests, BC Legislature Victoria.
A large coalition is bringing a broad-based mass mobilization to the BC Legislature on February 25, 2023 that reflects the majority of public will in BC for progressive solutions to the crisis in the woods. Based on the Union of BC Indian Chiefs Resolution 2022-32, and supported by independent reporting, the scientific data on old growth, and the urgency of the climate crisis, we demand that the BC NDP government:
Immediately halt logging in at-risk old growth forests and additional areas suggested by First Nations
Provide fulsome and immediate financial support for First Nations to implement logging deferrals and resilience planning on their unceded territories, including Indigenous conservation strategies and compensation for any lost revenues and employment as a result of deferrals
Organized by: Sierra Club of BC, Stand.earth, Wilderness Committee, and Elders for Ancient Trees
Sources I go to for environmental events include WestKootenayClimateHub.ca and westcoastclimateaction.ca
The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George BC has renewed the temporary use permit for Trans Mountain Pipeline’s worker accommodation camp south of Valemount, but many residents are questioning why the company has not expanded the camp to relieve pressure on area rentals, a situation which has led to housing shortage and dramatic rent increases in the area.
At a public hearing Dec. 5th, several residents spoke about the about-face made by the company after the initial plan was agreed to.
In 2019 the company had said it expected the vast majority of area workers to live in accommodation camps, with only a few hundred living outside the camp in the Valemount area. But over the next two and a half years, that number has ballooned to more than a thousand outside the camp. The company reports 2/3rds of its North Thompson non-local workforce is living outside camps, in hotels, RVs or rentals.
Housing, groceries, health care and food services have been most impacted by the influx of workers.
Toxic chemicals from toilet paper have been found in the bodies of British Columbia’s endangered orcas, according to a study conducted by marine scientists.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia analyzed tissue samples from six southern resident killer whales and six Bigg’s whales, also known as transient killer whales, stranded along the coast of B.C. between 2006 and 2018.
Dr. Juan José Alava, co-author of the study, said in an interview Thursday that the findings left him and other researchers “shocked and saddened.”
He said the toxic chemical substances could affect killer whales’ hormone systems, disrupting physiological function and making them susceptible to diseases.
The findings were published last month in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Sturgeon habitat restoration work is set to resume near the Hugh Keenleyside Dam and Arrow Lakes Generating Station in order to improve the chances of survival for larval white sturgeon.
A working group comprised of BC Hydro, Columbia Power, Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship, Okanagan Nation Alliance, and Ktunaxa Nation Council have recommended placing a specific mix of rocks and gravel at the site in order to improve conditions for incubating eggs and larvae by helping them hide from predators during this critical life stage.
The project was originally slated for last fall but delays halted construction until February.
The project aims to enhance the spawning substrate for the endangered white sturgeon in the spawning area in the tailrace (outlet channel) of the Arrow Lakes Generating Station.
Teck Metals Ltd. in Trail has been fined $2.2 million for a 2019 effluent spill.
In a Jan. 10 release, Environment and Climate Change Canada says Teck spilled 2.5 million litres of low pH (acidic) solution into the Columbia River on Feb. 26, 2019.
According to Teck Trail Operations, the company entered a guilty plea and will pay $2.12 million for violations of the Fisheries Act and Environmental Management Act and an additional $80,000 to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation for fish and habitat conservation projects.
On September 24, 2022, more than 30,000 people occupied the main roads of downtown Seoul, South Korea, for the nation’s largest climate justice march. The sheer turnout of people from all walks of life and the participation by a wide range of advocacy groups were a testament to the impact of climate change on every aspect of life: human rights, women’s rights, religion, food insecurity, and labor rights. For many of these advocacy movements in Seoul, recent crises like COVID-19 have brought home the urgent need to address the climate crisis.
The groups of protesters regularly chanted in unison: “lives over profit” and “we can’t live like this anymore!” Drumming, music, and dance filled the streets. During a five-minute “die-in,” protesters fell to the ground, front to rear, like cascading dominoes.
In less than a week, the story about California’s weather shifted dramatically. Just before New Year’s Eve, the state was running out of water following two decades of severe drought. Then, it started to rain and rain. Over the last two weeks, California was battered by a series of atmospheric rivers — narrow corridors of water in the sky — that utterly drenched the region, killing people and damaging homes and highways.
From extreme drought, the focus on California has quickly pivoted to extreme floods.
There’s a term for this: weather whiplash. It generally describes a quick shift from one weather extreme to another. And California is far from the only region to experience the effect. Places like Dallas and Michigan, as well as parts of Europe and Asia, have all experienced their share of whiplash, which often produces catastrophic results.
Temperatures can whiplash, too. In late December, temperatures plunged into negative double-digits across much of the Midwest and East. More than 50 inches of snow fell on Buffalo, New York, killing more than two dozen people. Then, in a matter of days, temperatures in many of those places soared — to 30, 40, and, in some cases, more than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Some cities even set warm temperature records.
Eight different groups will have the chance to weigh in on the fate of B.C.’s mining system this April. In a recent decision, the B.C. Supreme Court allowed groups representing Indigenous communities, human rights, environmental advocacy and the mining industry to present statements in a precedent-setting legal challenge to the province’s mineral tenure system.
The B.C. Supreme Court will be deciding whether or not the way the province permits mining exploration is “unconstitutional.” The exploration process being challenged is called the “free-entry system” and it has its roots in B.C.’s gold rush era.
The current system is “a relic of colonization,” Union of BC Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said to a crowded room of supporters and media in mid-December. “In this day and age, somebody can huddle over their keyboard in a dark basement and file a claim to tens of thousands of acres of Indigenous lands without any consultation whatsoever; without any notification,” Stewart said ahead of court hearings.
Canada will see federal just transition legislation early this year that will become a gateway for oil and gas workers to move into green energy jobs, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told CBC last week.
Wilkinson has been styling the bill as an action plan for “sustainable jobs,” CBC reports, even though fossil-producing provinces see it as “the nail in the coffin of the oil and gas industry” and the work force and communities that still depend on it.
Wilkinson told CBC he’s been working with Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan and NDP economic development critic Charlie Angus to craft the bill, as a condition of last year’s confidence and supply agreement between the minority Liberal government and the New Democrats.
The Alberta government is refusing to release information on toxic contaminants in snowpacks downwind from mountaintop removal coal mines.
The data was collected by two senior provincial government scientists who conducted research into the impact of windblown dust from mines in British Columbia on a pristine Alberta alpine lake, The Canadian Press reports. They recently published a paper concluding that sediments in Window Lake are as contaminated as lakes downwind from the oilsands.
They also analyzed contaminants in area snowpacks, data as yet unpublished. That data appears to have been presented to senior Alberta Environment staff in November.
The Canadian Press filed a freedom of information request to have that presentation released. In response, the news agency received a copy of a slide deck containing information that was already public, minus large redactions.
The millions of North Americans who found themselves shivering through late December’s bitter cold snap can surely thank a meandering polar vortex, but whether and how a rapidly warming Arctic might be involved in these intensifying deep freezes remains a subject of fierce scientific debate.
While it might seem counter-intuitive, the idea that a warming Arctic might be exacerbating periodic deep freezes in typically temperate latitudes has been around for a while.
In a paper published last September in the journal Science, climate scientist Judah Cohen linked the devastating and deadly freeze that hit Texas in February, 2021, to Arctic warming by way of changes in stratospheric polar vortex circulation that are in turn being driven by increases in the amount of energy and moisture lower down in the troposphere.
Explaining his research in a September post in The Conversation, Cohen said these changes deliver a kind of “kick” to the troposphere, which responds by producing waves that then radiate upward into the stratosphere. He identified melting sea ice, and increased snow cover in Siberia, as key drivers of the shift.
A federal agency says a ban on gas stoves is on the table amid rising concern about harmful indoor air pollutants emitted by the appliances.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission plans to take action to address the pollution, which can cause health and respiratory problems.
“This is a hidden hazard,” Richard Trumka Jr., an agency commissioner, said in an interview. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”
Natural gas stoves, which are used in about 40% of homes in the U.S., emit air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter at levels the Environmental Protection Agency and World Health Organization have said are unsafe and linked to respiratory illness, cardiovascular problems, cancer and other health conditions, according to reports by groups such as the Institute for Policy Integrity and the American Chemical Society. Consumer Reports in October urged consumers planning to buy a new range to consider going electric after tests conducted by the group found high levels of nitrogen oxide gases from gas stoves.
The Los Angeles City Council voted in May to ban most gas appliances in new homes and other construction, joining cities including New York, San Francisco and Seattle.
Former pipeline executive Sonya Savage, now Alberta’s minister of environment and protected areas, echoed Smith’s concern about job loss. “We expect the federal government to stand up for our world-leading oil and gas employees, instead of trying to eliminate their jobs,” she tweeted.
CBC says both Alberta and Saskatchewan have declined to take part in the regional energy resource roundtables the federal government has been convening over the last several months. University of Alberta professor Andrew Leach said it may not be in Alberta’s best interests to stay clear of the sessions.