Webinar: Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation’s Electricity System

See this exciting webinar from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine:

Report Release Webinar: Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation’s Electricity System
Thursday, July 20
2:00 pm ET

Electricity is fundamental to the United States’ health, safety, and economy. However, extreme weather events, earthquakes, cyber attacks, and other threats have the potential to cause large-scale outages, putting lives at risk. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine invite you to join a webinar on July 20, 2017 at 2pm ET highlighting their new report Enhancing the Resilience of the Nation’s Electricity System. Committee members who authored the report will identify promising technologies, policies, and organizational strategies that should be implemented on the federal, state, and local levels. After they summarize their findings and recommendations, the committee members will answer questions from webinar participants.

Click here to register.


Webinar: The Science, Business, and Education of Sustainable Infrastructure

Check out the next webinar offered by the Security & Sustainability Forum:

The Science, Business, and Education of Sustainable Infrastructure: Building Resilience in a Changing World
Thursday, July 19
1:15 – 2:45 pm EDT

Systems thinking and a sustainability framework can serve to effectively guide investment in natural, built, cyber, and social infrastructure.  The trifecta of science, business and education working together, presents an opportunity for infrastructure to be built, rebuilt, maintained or upgraded to meet standards of sustainability.

Innovation in all fields of natural sciences, engineering, computing, social sciences, and education working with business and government offers great potential to apply systems thinking to maximize co-benefits and meet society’s resilience needs.

Join SSF and the National Council for Science and the Environment in an important discussion on systems thinking applied to the built environment and the status of university sustainability educational programs to prepare the workforce of the future. The webinar is a lead up to the 2018 NCSE National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy, and the Environment and will include a report out from the NCSE Census Report on Sustainability Programs in Higher Education in the United States Today.

Click here to register.


Still Creek: Lost and Found Performance

Community arts group Still Creek Arts Society is one of the groups working to restore the natural habitat of Still Creek.

This Sunday, join them for a special performance about this beautiful place:

Still Creek: Lost and Found
Sunday, July 2
12:30 – 2:30 pm
Renfrew Ravine Labyrinth
Free for youth under 25; $10-$20 donation for others

On SundayJuly 2nd the Still Creek Arts Society will be performing Still Creek: Lost & Found, a site-specific performance that they’ve been researching and rehearsing for two summers! Join for an afternoon of song, dance, visual art, music, ephemeral sculptures and storytelling. There will also be a physical copy of the Still Creek Stories book on hand from the printer, with the opportunity to pre-purchase this companion piece for the performance. The book will be available as of July 15th.

Audience members will begin the performance by walking the Labyrinth, so please arrive at 12:30pm. Everyone will walk down to the Ravine streamside on narrow trails starting at 1 pm, so please dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. The performance will end at the Yin-Yang bench at 22nd Avenue and Boyd Diversion.

Space is limited so please pre-register on the Eventbrite page here. This performance is by donation ($10-$20) cash only; youth under 25 years of age are free and no one is turned away for lack of funds.


Open Call: Youth Delegation to UN Climate Conference COP23

Read below for an exciting opportunity for youth aged 18-24:
The British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) will be seeking youth to be part of a youth delegation and attend the UN Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn, Germany in Nov 2017.
BCCIC is seeking 2 youth to sit on the delegation and 5 youth to sit on the delegate selection committee until July 16th. Committee application closes on July 7th.
Young people who are between the ages of 18-24 with Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status living in BC may apply to be a part of the growing international climate change movement and demonstrate youth’s determination in achieving sustainable development.
Interested youth are asked to step forward by emailing Jeffrey Qi, BCCIC Youth Engagement Coordinator before Friday 14th July 2017 23:59 PST at jeffrey.intern@bccic.caAny questions regarding the opportunity should also be directed to Jeffrey.

Webinar: Cities on the Leading Edge of Resilience

Check out this new webinar from the Security and Sustainability Forum:

Cities on the Leading Edge of Resilience
Thursday, July 13
1:15 – 2:45 pm

The private sector and all levels of government are embracing resilience as a holistic, proactive framework to reduce risk, improve services, adapt to changing conditions, and empower citizens. Recent high profile programs, such as the $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition initiated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Communities, have helped define and advance this resilience framework for local government.
In 2016, the National League of Cities (NLC) launched a Leadership in Community Resilience program to help elected officials, city staff, and community partners share their experiences and advance local resilience efforts. The pilot initiative is providing technical assistance and professional development opportunities for 10 cities by supporting local resilience initiatives that have been prioritized by each city. This webinar, hosted by Arizona State University and NLC, will spotlight several cities and share their process for planning, building engagement, and implementing resilience initiatives with limited resources.

ACT Ecosystem Governance Research in the News

Our latest project, Low Carbon Resilience and Transboundary Municipal Ecosystem Governance: A Case Study of Still Creek, has been in the news this week.

SFU released an article on our project, focusing on the benefits of fighting climate change through ecosystem restoration. Restoring and maintaining ecosystems can be cheaper than building hard infrastructure to respond to climate change, and provides additional benefits such as buoyant property values and community health. Cities can work together on ecosystem governance to impressive results, such as those in Still Creek.

Read the article here.

Science website Phys.org also shared the article. See it here.

Our research found that the presence of ecosystems has been shown to help absorb floodwaters, reduce extreme heat impacts, and absorb and store carbon, while benefiting property values, contributing to physical and mental health, and helping species survive both climate change and the impacts of human development.

The Still Creek case study shows that partnerships, creative governance, community engagement, and innovative funding approaches between cities can lead to many mutual benefits including the return of spawning salmon to the creek after decades of pollution and neglect.

Learn more about this project here. 


ACT Interview on Roundhouse Radio

On June 15, ACT Executive Director Deborah Harford was a guest on Evenings with Kirk LaPointe on Roundhouse Radio.

Click here to listen to the interview. (~10 minutes)

In the interview, Deb and Kirk discuss the case of Still Creek, one of only two daylit streams in the City of Vancouver. After decades of pollution and neglect, salmon recently returned to the creek to spawn.

This case study provides an example of transboundary collaboration on ecosystem management. Partnership, creative governance, community engagement, and innovative funding approaches were all essential components that helped the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby come together to invest in ecosystem health and restore Still Creek.

Projects such as this also reflect on, and influence, our cultural and community identity, as the interview explores.

Click here to learn more about ACT’s exciting research on this project. 


CBC Early Edition: How do we adapt for 2050?

On June 15, ACT Executive Director Deb Harford was a guest on CBC’s The Early Edition to discuss the new podcast series 2050: Degrees of Change.

This new podcast, produced by CBC, explores how our world and lives will adapt to climate change over the next few decades. Each episode focuses on a different issue, with topics including cities, agriculture, and forest fires.

In the interview, Deb discusses the kinds of changes BC can expect due to climate change, what local governments can do and are already doing to adapt, and how to collaborate among sectors to make our communities most resilient.

To listen to the interview, click here and start playing at 2:18:50 (the interview is ~9 minutes).

Click here to listen to the podcast 2050: Degrees of Change.


8th Annual Northwest Climate Conference: October 10-11

This October, the 8th Annual Northwest Climate Conference will take place in Tacoma, Washington. The Northwest Climate Conference annually brings together more than 300 researchers and practitioners from around the region to discuss scientific results, challenges, and solutions related to the impacts of climate on people, natural resources, and infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest.

The conference is the region’s premier opportunity for a cross-disciplinary exchange of knowledge and ideas about regional climate, climate impacts, and climate adaptation science and practice. The conference also provides a forum for presenting emerging policy and management goals, objectives, and information needs related to regional climate impacts and adaptation.

Participants include policy- and decision-makers, resource managers, and scientists from academia; federal, state, and local agencies; sovereign tribal nations; non-governmental organizations; and the private sector.

Don’t miss this opportunity to share, learn, and discuss the latest decision-relevant climate science with other experts in the Pacific Northwest!

The deadline for abstracts has been extended until June 20, 2017. 

Click here for more information. 


Webinar: Innovations in Supply Chain Traceability

Check out this intriguing webinar from the New York Academy of Sciences:

Innovations in Supply Chain Traceability
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
12:00 – 1:00 pm EST
Presented by the Clinton Global Initiative and the New York Academy of Sciences

According to the UN Global Compact, corporations rank supply chain practices as the biggest challenge to improving their sustainability performance because of the scale and complexity of global supply chains. The opacity of these multi-layered systems and the lack of direct control over suppliers further down the chain make it extremely difficult for companies to monitor and ensure compliance with high environmental, health and safety standards, and respect for labor and human rights in their operations.

Supply chain traceability — the process of mapping a product or component’s path from raw material to finished good — is therefore critical to identify and manage social and environmental risks along the supply chain, and advance sustainability goals.

This Webinar will convene innovative thinkers in supply chain traceability who are using cutting-edge technology and data analytic solutions to create greater transparency in global supply chains.

Click here to register.


Job Posting: PICS Associate Director

Exciting opportunity for climate change work in Victoria!

PICS (the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions) is hiring an Associate Director. Details below:

Associate Director
Location: University of Victoria campus, Victoria
FTE: One-year term, full time
Salary: commensurate with experience
Closing date: July 5, 2017


The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) was established in January 2008 as a collaborative initiative between the four research universities in British Columbia. The Institute is housed at the University of Victoria. The mandate of PICS is to partner with governments, the private sector, other researchers and civil society, in order to undertake research on, monitor, and assess the potential impacts of climate change and to assess, develop and promote viable mitigation and adaptation options to better inform climate change policies and actions. The principal lines of communication between the partner universities are through the Executive Committee (on which sit the Vice- Presidents, Research from each university), the Program Committee (on which sit members from each university), and a PICS Campus Coordinator at each university.

The PICS Associate Director will be responsible for a number of key PICS programs, and will develop and oversee events and other outreach activities that promote the goals of PICS. The Associate Director is second in command at PICS and will stand in for the Executive Director as required.  The successful candidate will take a leading role in the development and implementation of the Institute’s new strategic objectives.


Reports on a regular basis to the Executive Director of PICS, but is expected to perform work independently and with minimal guidance. Works with the central PICS Office at the University of Victoria, and with PICS Campus Managers at the University of British Columbia, the University of Northern British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.  This position liaises with faculty, staff and external project partners, the Innovation and Development Corporation, Office of Research Services, VP Research, VP Academic, and other UVIC departments as required, as well as with key ministries of the provincial government, municipal governments, business, industry, and the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) at UVic.


Research and Research Management

  • Develops partner relationships with industry, government and academia related to mitigation and climate adaptation initiatives.
  • Assists the Executive Director in the implementation of the 2017-2023 strategic plan, including the partnership research model.
  • Oversees funded research projects to ensure that the goals of PICS are being met. Is also responsible for tracking progress and impact, and reporting.
  • Drafts conceptual frameworks.
  • Manages special projects for PICS. Is responsible for setting project goals and timelines, assigning resources, tracking progress, implementation, and reporting.
  • Promotes and coordinates the PICS Fellowship Program.
  • Coordinates the work of the PICS campus coordinators at UBC, SFU and UNBC
  • Prepares and submits research funding proposals; oversees research proposal submission process; ensures timelines are maintained.

Communications and Outreach

  • Oversees the coordination of educational and outreach activities (i.e. seminars, workshops)
  • Develops and fosters working relationships with various University support units e.g. Finance, Purchasing, and with various academic units working on climate change e.g. Ocean Networks Canada, CCCMA Climate Modeling Group, PCIC
  • Liaises with community agencies, funding bodies, and governmental representatives as required.
  • Collaborates with PICS staff on communications, and produces communications content, including for the website, background pieces, funding proposals, briefing notes, and others as required.
  • Organizes PICS Annual Forum, and other major workshops and conferences as they arise.


  • Stands in for the Executive Director of PICS as required.
  • Involves occasional travel lasting 1-3 days


This is a senior administrative/research position that plays a critical role in the success of PICS.  Strategic planning, actions and decisions are crucial to the success of PICS. Work is governed by broad objectives and procedures and requires initiative and professional decision-making. Makes judgment calls, decisions and recommendations on all aspects of PICS research programs and outreach. Incorrect communication could cause delays or otherwise injure research activities.

Works with considerable latitude. Work is reviewed against achievement of project objectives.

Often supervises graduate student employees or temporary staff, as required for outreach and education events.


  • Post-graduate degree or equivalent professional designation, with a solid understanding of climate change in general and the ability to understand conceptually the objectives and focus areas of the PICS mandate.
  • Four years’ experience in managing research teams, or an equivalent combination of education and work experience.
  • Proven ability to work successfully with a wide range of groups and individuals, including community groups, researchers, the public sector and multiple levels of government.
  • Extremely strong leadership and interpersonal skills, and a demonstrated ability to take initiative.
  • Demonstrated organizational skills and well-developed problem-solving and conceptual abilities.
  • Proven management and strategic planning skills.
  • Ability to develop and monitor work plans, timelines and budgets.
  • Ability to work under the pressure of critical deadlines.
  • Ability to maintain accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills.
  • Ability to communicate complex scientific information especially to non-academic partners and audiences.
  • Effective interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Intermediate computer skills: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint.


Please submit your curriculum vitae and cover letter to picsadmn@uvic.ca.
Applications must be received no later than July 5, 2017 at 4:00 PM.
We thank all applicants for their interest, however, only those applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.


Still Creek: A Case Study of Transboundary Municipal Ecosystem Governance

Still Creek: A Case Study of Transboundary Municipal Ecosystem Governance

Still Creek: A Case Study of Transboundary Municipal Ecosystem Governance

Climate change impacts such as flooding and extreme heat are projected to increase in BC over the next few decades and will be extremely costly for cities to manage. As well, species are struggling to adapt to changing weather patterns and climate extremes combined with the impacts of human development. Planning for resilience while reducing emissions is more important than ever.

Restoring and maintaining ecosystems to respond to these issues is cheaper than using hard infrastructure and has multiple benefits. Ecosystems can absorb and store both flood waters and carbon, and increase resilience while reducing emissions at the same time in other ways as well, such as reducing the impacts of extreme heat and therefore the need for air conditioning. Ecosystem presence has also been shown to increase property values, contribute to physical and mental health, and help other species survive both climate change and the impacts of human development.

Experts are beginning to attribute value to ecosystems at the level of capital assets, acknowledging the benefits provided by water bodies, forests, aquifers and foreshores and the extraordinary costs that would be required to replace them. Cities stand to gain the most from ecosystem benefits, given the localized effects of climate change. But many ecosystems cross municipal boundaries, and cities often lack the capacity for collaboration that is essential to restore and maintain ecosystem health, resulting in fragmentation and loss of these values and benefits.

However, cities can achieve these goals and enjoy the benefits by partnering with neighbouring cities and community members to ensure ecosystem health. This new case study of Still Creek from ACT at SFU’s Pacific Water Research Centre illustrates successful collaboration on ecosystem restoration between the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby in Metro Vancouver. Partnership, creative governance, community engagement, and innovative funding approaches were all essential components that helped the two cities come together to invest in ecosystem health and restore Still Creek, one of only two daylit streams in the City of Vancouver. This collaboration led to many benefits, including the return of spawning salmon, after decades of pollution and neglect.

The results of the project are presented in four products you can access here:

  • A POLICY REPORT that tracks the background decision-making processes over time for the developments in Still Creek, and identifies challenges and the key factors that led to success, as well as recommendations for other municipalities considering action on transboundary ecosystem governance. The report includes several appendices: Literature reviews of ecosystem health indicators and methods for establishing ecosystems goods and services/ecosystem valuation; case studies of two other ecosystem areas that were considered for the project but not pursued (Boundary Bay and North Shore forests); a more detailed breakdown of jurisdictional influences; and an in-depth management history.
  • AN ONLINE STORY MAP that orients the viewer in Still Creek and provides a visual journey through the changes over time as well as the benefits that resulted from restoration efforts
  • AN INFOGRAPHIC showing changes in the creek over time correlated with policy decisions to illustrate direct changes resulting from these measures
  • A WEBINAR describing the concepts and rationale that informed our Still Creek project research, as well as the key research findings. The webinar also features content from ICLEI Canada’s Ewa Jackson, who discusses the role of nature in low carbon resilient communities.

ACT Workshop at Livable Cities Forum 2017

The 2017 Livable Cities Forum will take place September 18-20 in Victoria, BC. As a special pre-event workshop, Green Resilience Strategies and ACT are offering the following:

Taking Action on Green Resilience: Adaptation & Mitigation Strategies
Sunday, September 17
1:30 – 5:30 pm
Cost: $45 + tax and fees

It is time to align our efforts on climate change mitigation and adaptation planning, to increase the returns on investment in climate change and infrastructure and attract more funding for implementation. Join us to explore “Green Resilience” measures that yield both climate change mitigation and adaptation benefits, and discover how they can be financed and implemented across Canada.

Green Resilience Strategies and ACT (Adaptation to Climate Change Team) at Simon Fraser University have documented examples of synergistic Green Resilience measures in a variety of sectors, including energy, transportation, water and flood management. Participants will learn about green resilience opportunities such as microgrids + efficiency + renewables, green infrastructure, flood-proofing mass transit, building efficiency, and water conservation. Breakout discussions will focus on research, analysis, and policy needs to advance the state of practice and accelerate the financing and implementation of green resilience solutions. Light refreshments will be served.

Click here to register for this workshop. 


ACT Webinar: Recording Now Online

On May 2, ACT  gave an enlightening webinar highlighting an example of low carbon resilience work across jurisdictional boundaries.

Low Carbon Resilience Case Study: Transboundary Municipal Ecosystem Governance in Still Creek
Chloe Boyle, Researcher, ACT; Graduate Student, SFU School of Resource and Environmental Management
Deborah Harford, Executive Director, ACT
Edward Nichol, Senior Researcher, ACT

In this webinar, the presenters described ACT’s policy findings from a case study of Still Creek, one of only two daylit streams in the City of Vancouver that flows across the border with the City of Burnaby, and where, thanks to years of collaborative restoration, salmon have returned to spawn for the past five years. ICLEI Canada’s Ewa Jackson contributed information on connections with ICLEI’s expertise on Local Governments and Biodiversity Management, and provide details of the upcoming Livable Cities Forum on Low Carbon Resilience.

The recording and presentation slides from this webinar are now available online via the Climate Change Adaptation Community of Practice (CCACoP).

Click here to view the webinar recording.

Click here to view the presentation slides.


Re-energizing Canada: Pathways to a Low-Carbon Future

In Fall 2016, Natural Resources Canada commissioned Sustainable Canada Dialogues to produce an independent, scholarly report on the transition to low-carbon energy.

The report was developed to examine how Canada could transition to low-carbon energy systems while remaining globally competitive.  Re-Energizing Canada: Pathways to a Low-Carbon Future, provides independent academic input to Generation Energy, a national dialogue on Canada’s path to a low-carbon future launched by Natural Resources Canada on April 21, 2017. The work of the academic experts in the context of Generation Energy highlights the importance that science and research must play in informing the public policy debate on Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy. It is an important contribution to the range of views and opinions on how Canada can create the affordable energy and innovative jobs Canadians want.

According to the scholars, Canada should accelerate its shift to a low-carbon economy by reducing overall energy demand through energy efficiency and conservation, increasing electrification and switching to low-carbon-emitting sources of electricity and progressively replacing high-carbon petroleum-based fuels with low-carbon ones.

Click here to read more about the report.

Click here to read the group’s press release.


Read Now: The Green Infrastructure Guide

Published in May 2007, The Green Infrastructure Guide remains an invaluable reference document for those who embrace a ‘design with nature’ philosophy.

The Guide led directly to development of the Shared Responsibility Matrix which embodies a way-of-thinking that is timeless. The Guide illuminates the early history of green infrastructure implementation in British Columbia, serves as a frame of reference for judging progress over the past decade, and can inform current and future actions by local governments.

The Guide – A Backdrop for Conversations
“The Green Infrastructure Guide traces some of BC’s local government experience in implementing engineered green infrastructure designs,” wrote Susan Rutherford, Guide author. At the time, she was on the steering committee of the Green Infrastructure Partnership, representing West Coast Environmental Law.

“The Guide’s purpose is to encourage successful designs, by reporting on what the legal and policy strategies are, what some of the implementation hurdles (and solutions) have been, and how they have been effective in achieving sustainability goals.

“The intent is to support the efforts of local government officials and decision-makers to green their community’s infrastructure, by sharing tools and the collective wisdom that have been gained as a result of implementation experiences from around the province.

“The Guide is designed to serve as a useful backdrop for conversations to take place both within and beyond the local government’s planning department and legal advisors.”

The Shared Responsibility Matrix
Following release of the Green Infrastructure Guide, and over a period of three years, the Shared Responsibility Matrix decision tool evolved from a set of generic “what we would like to do” questions that were framed through the eyes of practitioners in local government.

“All of us have an impact on the land, on the water, and on the way things look. Each party in the process has a responsibility. There are solutions to be found if all parties in the development process simply talk to each other about how they could all work together more effectively, using law reform or other process changes as tools,” Susan Rutherford would explain to audiences at outreach events organized under the umbrella of the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia.

Click here to read the Guide, and click here to read more about the Shared Responsibility Matrix.
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