Webinar: Making a Big Impact in Sustainability Science with Big Data

The latest webinar in the Security & Sustainability Forum series:

Making a Big Impact in Sustainability Science with Big Data
Thursday, September 21
10:15 am – 2:30 pm PDT

Issues in sustainability science are increasingly being addressed using “big data” and data analytics.  Data rich modeling techniques can assist in improving systems thinking to integrate business operations, people, ecosystems and climate. The result can be improved decision making, greener supply chains and optimization of business operations — all leading to increased corporate profits and important social benefits.  The ultimate goal of big data science is to foster economic development, improve social livelihoods, and enhance environmental quality.
Join SSF and leaders from Chatmine Technologies and Boston University in a free webinar demonstrating the application of computational modelling of natural and social processes to identify patterns, trends, and associations that can inform sustainability decision making. The webinar will be organized around five case studies focused on integrating multi-scale and multi-source data and applying spatial statistical techniques, artificial Intelligence algorithms, and systems modeling to derive business insights and strategies.  The presentations will be appropriate for a non-technical audience and include:
  • Behavioral Correlations: Are hybrid or electric car drivers more likely to solarize their roofs? This project explores behavior and attitudinal data of some consumers in Massachusetts.
  • Analyzing Flood Risk: Flood insurance is increasingly important for residential and commercial property owners. Flood risk is still mapped using USGS 100 year flood maps. These maps have to be completely updated and revised using new satellite data that can be analyzed to provide better risk probability profiles based on International panel on Climate Change (IPCC) models. This example reports on work for a commercial insurance company.
  • Forensic Environmental Investigations Using Neural Networks: Urban sustainability includes protecting urban trees and forests. Panelists applied unsupervised neural networks to examine the impact of natural gas leaks caused by aging infrastructure that resulted in tree mortality in Boston
  • Predicting Malaria Hot Spots: Increasing temperatures in the highland regions of East Shoa in Ethiopia have led to increased incidence of malaria. Spatial statistical analysis, shown in this example, predicted the clusters or hot spots of malaria.
  • Municipal Resilience Snapshots: Designing and implementing sustainability metrics for a neighborhood or town can provide a quick snapshot of its current or future social and natural resiliency, as illustrated in this example.

Click here to register.


Webinar: Legal Implications of Climate Change for Professionals

Check out this upcoming webinar in the Fraser Basin Council’s Retooling for Climate Change series:

Legal Implications of Climate Change for Professionals
Thursday, September 28
11:00 am – 12:00 pm

With our changing climate, new risks are emerging for infrastructure, the economy, and the environment that can impact public safety and quality of life. Professionals are subject to legal responsibilities and standards of care, which could expose them to legal liability relating to climate impacts and associated damages.
In this webinar, Zizzo Strategy will speak about climate change liability issues with a focus on case law and climate-related litigation related to negligence and class action lawsuits. The webinar will also touch upon recent developments in corporate governance and disclosure of climate risk, including securities disclosure and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. This webinar aims to educate professionals on how climate change impacts their professional roles and responsibilities, encourage them to integrate climate change into their decision-making and empower them to make the case for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Register here!

ACT Adviser Nominated for Lane Anderson Award

Senior ACT adviser and author, Bob Sandford, has been nominated for a Lane Anderson Award for his recent book, North America in the Anthropocene. Congratulations, Bob!

The Lane Andersen awards celebrate the best in Canadian science writing for adults and young readers, and winners receive $10,000. The winners will be announced in September.

In addition to Bob’s work with ACT, he is the EPCOR Chair in Water and Climate Security for the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment, and Health. He co-authored the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and has also published previous books including Storm Warning: Water and Climate Security in a Changing World, in 2015.

With ACT, Bob’s most recent book is The Climate Nexus: Water, Food, Energy and Biodiversity in a Changing World. The sequel to this book will be released shortly.

Read more about the Lane Anderson award nominees here.


UBC Sustainability Work Learn Opportunities: September-April

Current UBC students, see the below opportunities for sustainability job openings:

UBC Sustainability Work Learn positions are now open for Winter 2017 term (September 2017 – April 2018). Positions are available to current UBC undergraduate and graduate students.

UBC’s sustainability student positions are an excellent opportunity to gain experience working within the sustainability field and contribute to the development and implementation of UBC sustainability plans and programs.

Please submit applications via UBC CareersOnline by August 13, 2017.

Positions currently available include:

  • Biodiversity Project Coordinator, SEEDS Sustainability Program
  • Climate Planning Coordinator
  • Community Energy Coordinator
  • Green Building Plan Research Assistant
  • Green Building Plan Research Assistant (REAP)
  • Green Building Tours Program Assistant
  • Green Office Program Assistant
  • Project Coordinator, SEEDS Sustainability Program
  • Sustainability in Residence Coordinator
  • Zero Waste Coordinator

For more information and links to full job descriptions, please visit the website.


Webinar: The Most Comprehensive Plan to Reverse Global Warming

Check out this new webinar offered by the Security and Sustainability Forum:

Drawdown: 60 minutes with Paul Hawken 
The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming  
Wednesday, October 4
10:15 – 11:15 am PDT
Project Drawdown is facilitating a broad coalition of researchers, scientists, graduate students, PhDs, post-docs, policy makers, business leaders and activists to assemble and present the best available information on climate solutions in order to describe their beneficial financial, social and environmental impact over the next thirty years.
The book, Drawdown, reports on this research to map, measure, model, and describe the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming.  It is the first detailed plan to reverse global warming. 
Drawdown hit #9 on the  NYT bestseller in its first week, stayed on the best seller list for four weeks, and is in its 4th printing. It was the first book on the environment or climate to attain that ranking in over 25 years.
For each solution, Drawdown describes its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works. The goal of the research that informs Drawdown is to determine if we can reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon within thirty years. All solutions modeled are already in place, well understood, analyzed based on peer-reviewed science, and are expanding around the world.
Join Security and Sustainability Forum Managing Director, Edward Saltzberg, and American Renewable Energy Institute  Chairman and CEO, Chip Comins, in a 60 minute webinar and conversation with Drawdown Editor and Project Drawdown Executive Director, Paul Hawken.

Second Annual Summit on Science Enablement for the Sustainable Development Goals

Exciting news from the New York Academies of Sciences:

Second Annual Summit on Science Enablement for the Sustainable Development Goals
Tuesday, October 17
9 am – 5 pm
The New York Academy of Sciences, New York City

With encouragement from the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the support of the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, the New York Academy of Sciences presents this Summit with leaders from corporations, academia, the UN and civil society to explore how science and technology can help strategically advance delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The themes of the Summit include:

  • People in Crisis
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Sustainable Consumption and Production
  • Urbanization
  • Food Security and Nutrition
A mix of plenaries, panels, breakouts, “lightning sessions,” and networking, the goal of the Summit is to go beyond talk and seed the ground for action.

Call for Proposals: BC Wildfires

The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction’s Quick Response Research Program welcomes proposals related to the wildfires in British Columbia

The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) is soliciting research proposals from social, behavioural and economic science researchers across Canada under its Quick Response Research program. They seek to encourage disaster risk reduction research in Canada. The Quick Response Research program allows researchers to quickly deploy to disaster-affected areas in the aftermath of a wildfire, flood, extreme weather event or earthquake to collect perishable data. The program’s four research priorities are aligned with the priorities for action established in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction announced by the United Nations in 2015 and endorsed by the Government of Canada, which are:

  1. Understanding disaster risk;
  2. Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk;
  3. Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience; and,
  4. To “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Candidates who would like to apply for funding through the Institute’s Quick Response Research program must submit a three-page research proposal (maximum) consisting of a title, research question(s), proposed methods as well as a description of how data will be collected and analyzed under potentially difficult local conditions. This submission must include a budget (limited to research expenses), a CV of the applicant(s), and an official letter from the applicant’s university ethics review board approving or waiving the need for approval of the proposed research.

Please note that ICLR is currently welcoming proposals related to the wildfires in British Columbia, and will support quick response research following any wildfire, flood, extreme weather events or earthquake in Canada and the United States.

For additional information on the program, please click here.

If you have any questions, or do not wish to receive future announcements, please contact:

Sophie Guilbault
Manager, Partnership Development
Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

416-364-8677 ext. 3217


Webinar: Ecosystem Service Assessment for Decision-Making

Check out this webinar from the Ecosystem-Based Management Tools Network:

Completing and Using Ecosystem Service Assessment for Decision-Making: An Interdisciplinary Toolkit for Managers
Tuesday, August 15
10-11 am PDT

This new toolkit contains key tools and resources for planning and undertaking an ecosystem services assessment and the analyses that contribute to such an assessment. It provides practical step-by-step advice on determining if an “ecosystem services” approach is needed in a given situation; completing a robust ecosystem service assessment; understanding what the results of such an assessment mean and what they do not mean; and incorporating ecosystem services analyses and considerations in a wide range of policy, decision, and management processes.

The Ecosystem Services Toolkit is freely available for download here.

Webinar co-sponsored by the EBM Tools Network (co-coordinated by NatureServe and OpenChannels.org) and MEAM.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Click here to register.


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.

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