Webinar: Biophillic Cities, Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning

Register now for this free webinar from the Security & Sustainability Forum:

Biophillic Cities, Integrating Nature into Urban Design and Planning
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
10:15 am – 11:45 am PDT

The “greening” of cities can focus on everything except nature, emphasizing such elements as public transit, renewable energy production, and energy efficient building systems. While these are important aspects of reimagining urban living, human beings have an innate need to connect with the natural world (the biophilia hypothesis). And any vision of a sustainable urban future must place its focus squarely on nature, on the presence, conservation, and celebration of the actual green features and natural life forms.

Research shows nature’s ability to reduce stress, to aid recovery from illness, to enhance cognitive skills and academic performance, and to aid in moderating the effects of ADHD, autism and other childhood illnesses. Recent research suggests even that we are more generous in the presence of nature; all these values are in addition to the immense economic value of the ecological services provided by natural systems.

Join Island Press and the Security and Sustainability Forum in a free webinar featuring Tim Beatley, Chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning and Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities at the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia and author of “Handbook of Biophilic City Planning & Design”. Tim will discuss the principles of biophilia and use Washington, D.C. as an example biophilic city. He will be joined in the DC discussion by Sabine O’Hara, Dean and Director of Landgrant Programs for the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and Tommy Wells, Director of the Washington, D.C. Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) and responsible for protecting the environment and conserving the natural resources of the District of Columbia.

Click here to register.


ACT’s Edward Nichol on Roundhouse Radio










ACT Senior Researcher Edward Nichol was recently a guest on Roundhouse Radio, along with other SFU climate change experts, to discuss how SFU is responding to emerging challenges as a result of climate change. Challenges include global health concerns, implications for trade and the economy, and making our way of life more sustainable over all.

The guests discussed SFU’s Pacific Water Research Centre, a project focusing on promoting and mobilizing research that addresses water issues on multiple scales, ranging from local communities to national to global. They also discussed Canada’s contributions to global climate action, the interplay between local and global issues, and how universities can contribute to solutions.

Click here to listen to the clip.


New paper: Collaborative adaptation in Africa and Asia

Check out this new paper, published in Regional Environmental Change, focusing on collaboration in adaptation research:

A reflection on collaborative adaptation research in Africa and Asia

The reality of global climate change demands novel approaches to science that are reflective of the scales at which changes are likely to occur, and of the new forms of knowledge required to positively influence policy to support vulnerable populations. We examine some of the opportunities and challenges presented by a collaborative, transdisciplinary research project on climate change adaptation in Africa and Asia that utilized a hotspot approach. A large-scale effort to develop appropriate baselines was a key challenge at the outset of the program, as was the need to develop innovative methodologies to enable researchers to work at appropriate spatial scales. Efforts to match research to the biophysical scales at which change occurs need to be aware of the mismatch that can develop between these regional scales and the governance scales at which decisions are made.

Click here to read the paper. 


Earth Day Panel: Storytelling and Climate Change

On April 22, celebrate Earth Day with a panel discussion on the importance of storytelling when it comes to climate change.

Earth Day Panel: Storytelling and Climate Change
Saturday, April 22
2:00 – 3:30 pm
Welsh Hall, West Vancouver Memorial Library

Join ACT Executive Director Deb Harford, author Claudia Casper ,and ecofiction expert Mary Woodbury to discuss the role of storytelling in making a difference and shaping the future. When it comes to climate change, storytelling is key to help people visualize how a low-carbon future could improve resilience, adaptability, and community connections.

This event is free.




Summer Student Job: Flood Adaptation Research and Writing Assistant

The Fraser Basin Council is hiring a summer student to assist on their Regional Flood Management Strategy.

Reporting to the Senior Program Manager, this position undertakes research to support the integration of climate adaptation into river and coastal flood management infrastructure, policies and practices in BC’s Lower Mainland. This is part of a larger initiative to develop a Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy. This is a full-time internship position (avg. 37.5 hrs/wk) for up to 19 weeks from April 24 to August 31, 2017 with the potential for extension subject to performance and available financial resources.

Applicants for this internship position must be currently enrolled as a full-time student and intend to return to academic studies following the internship.

Summary of Essential Job Functions:
The key role of the Research and Writing Assistant is to analyze and report on emerging and innovative flood mitigation measures that can strengthen resilience to flood-related climate change impacts within the Lower Mainland of BC. The work of the Assistant will inform the development of the Regional Flood Management Strategy and will include the following functions:

  • Undertake research on innovative approaches to flood management that support adaptation to climate change impacts.
  • Liaise with local governments, provincial agencies and other organizations to acquire relevant studies, reports, data and information.
  • Participate in committee / working group meetings as relevant to the internship.
  • Collate, summarize and catalogue relevant studies, reports, and data including the development of brief case-study reports. • Assist in the preparation of briefing notes, progress reports, and PowerPoint presentations.
  • Share research findings at meetings and/or workshop events.

Relevant Skills, Qualifications and Experience

  • Knowledge of flood hazards and flood management policies, practices and jurisdictions.
  • Knowledge of climate change impacts on flood risk and climate adaption.
  • Strong research and writing skills, including ability to summarize complex information into briefing documents for diverse, non-technical audiences.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to communicate with people from diverse jurisdictions, organizations, and sectors.
  • Experience in the planning and delivery of meetings, workshops and other events.
  • Demonstrated skills in coordinating complex projects.
  • Ability to take initiative, manage time, complete tasks efficiently and work independently.
  • University/college degree, preferably in community planning; engineering; geography; or resource and environmental management.

Salary Range: $22.00 – $24.50/hr

Location: Vancouver or Lower Fraser region

Start date: April 24, 2016

Submit your 2-page maximum cover letter and CV by email by 5pm Monday April 10, 2017 to:
Attn: Amy Greenwood, Program Manager, Fraser Basin Council
Email: agreenwood@fraserbasin.bc.ca
Tel: (604) 488-5367
Email Subject: Flood Internship-Last Name

The Fraser Basin Council is a not for profit, nongovernmental organization with a mandate to advance sustainability throughout BC with a focus on the Fraser River Basin. The Council is currently facilitating a process to develop a Flood Management Strategy for the Lower Fraser Region. For more information visit www.fraserbasin.bc.ca and www.floodstrategy.ca. The Fraser Basin Council is an equal opportunity employer.


Book Launch: Downstream – Reimagining Water

Downstream: Reimagining Water 
6 pm, Tuesday, March 21, 2017
READ Bookstore, Emily Carr University of Art & Design
1399 Johnston St., Granville Island
unceded Coast Salish territories

This anthology brings together artists, writers, scientists, scholars, environmentalists, and activists who understand that our shared human need for clean water is crucial to building peace and good relationships with one another and the planet. This book explores the key roles that culture, arts, and the humanities play in supporting healthy water-based ecology and provides local, global, and Indigenous perspectives on water that help to guide our societies in a time of global warming. The contributions range from practical to visionary, and each of the four sections closes with a poem to encourage personal freedom along with collective care.

This book contributes to the formation of an intergenerational, culturally inclusive, participatory water ethic. Such an ethic arises from intellectual courage, spiritual responsibilities, practical knowledge, and deep appreciation for human dependence on water for a meaningful quality of life. Downstream illuminates how water teaches us interdependence with other humans and living creatures, both near and far.

Please feel free to invite your friends! The event page is at https://www.facebook.com/events/265810820505739/

For more info see https://www.wlupress.wlu.ca/Books/D/downstream

With grateful acknowledgement to the Coast Salish peoples whose lands we are on, and the support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


ACT Publication in ‘Natural Hazards’ Journal

ACT’s Deborah Harford and Yaheli Klein, along with other members of the Coastal Cities at Risk Canadian research team, have published an article in the academic journal Natural Hazards. 

The article, titled “A multi-perspective examination of heatwaves affecting Metro Vancouver: now into the future,” explores potential impacts of the physical changes expected to come with climate change. Temperature projections for Metro Vancouver for 2041–2100 suggest that the region will experience extreme heat events more frequently in the future due to climate change. This article aims to provide key information such that communities can better prepare for future conditions.

Read the article here.

The Coastal Cities at Risk (CCaR) project was a five-year, international project to study climate change impacts on coastal megacities. The overall objective of the CCaR program was to develop the knowledge base, and enhance the capacity of megacities to successfully adapt and cope with risks posed by the effects of climate change – including sea level rise – in the context of urban growth and development. ACT was a key member of the Canadian research team on this project.


Carbon Talk: Implementing the Pan-Canadian Framework on Climate Change

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
12:30 – 1:30 pm
Room 7000, SFU Harbour Centre, 515 W Hastings St

In December 2016, the Prime Minister and Premiers announced a national plan to grow the economy, meet its emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement, and adapt to a changing climate: the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. We know the Framework includes plans to price carbon, phase out coal-fired plants, grow the clean tech sector, and increase renewable energy supply (among others), but how will Canada turn these commitments into action? Member of Parliament Jonathan Wilkinson will discuss key components of the framework, progress, and what Canadians can expect on climate action.

Though this is a free event, please click here to register.


Call for Nominations: Glen Davis Conservation Leadership Prize

Do you know a wildlife conservation hero who has been essential to protecting nature in Canada and is in financial need? Nominate this hero for the inaugural $10,000 Glen Davis Conservation Leadership Prize.

5 p.m. ET Monday, May 1, 2017

About Glen Davis

Glen Davis was a Canadian businessman and philanthropist. When he wasn’t managing his financial interests or trekking in remote wilderness, he helped to protect more of Canada than anyone before or after him.

Glen loved big wilderness and was a leading supporter of WWF-Canada’s Endangered Spaces Campaign between 1989-2000, which resulted in the establishment of more than 1,000 new nature reserves, parks and wilderness areas, doubling the amount of protected lands and waters in Canada. Tragically, his life was cut short. Glen was slain in May of 2007 at age 66.

About the prize
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society was a strong partner in Glen’s conservation efforts, particularly through its local chapters, which he supported right across the country. That’s why the $10,000 Glen Davis Conservation Leadership Prize is a joint project of WWF-Canada and CPAWS.

Glen focused on tangible conservation accomplishments and distinguished between process, progress and results. So the Glen Davis Leadership Prize is intended to recognize not just improving the decision-making process or making progress towards protection — as necessary as these steps might be. It rewards efforts that lead to the actual protection of land or marine ecosystems in Canada.

For this reason, the successful candidate for this prize must have demonstrated clear conservation results, or be on the cusp of such accomplishments with help from the $10,000 prize money.

Glen invested in people as individuals and was known for supporting their costs of living as well as the costs of their work. Likewise, this prize is also intended to help a worthy candidate cover everyday expenses, such as rent and groceries, recognizing that conservation activists often experience financial hardship in order to do what they do.

This prize was established by WWF-Canada and CPAWS to be given for the first time on the 10th anniversary year of Glen’s death to honour his nationally significant contribution to Canada and to continue that contribution through worthy individuals who deliver results in the tradition of his legacy. As such, it is one of the most prestigious recognitions of its kind.

Who should be nominated?
The successful candidate will have the one of following characteristics:

  • Played a key role in bringing — or being on the cusp of bringing — meaningful protections to identifiable land or marine ecosystems. This could be one specific area with which the nominee has become associated, or an entire network of new protected areas.
  • Or, led a foundational initiative regarding species or spaces that leaves Canada measurably better off.


  • Demonstrated personal financial need.

Other considerations
The successful candidate:

  • May or may not be associated with or employed by an existing conservation organization, and this person might lead from the front by having a highly visible role in conservation advocacy, or play a leadership role behind the scenes, such as inspiring and coordinating the efforts of others.
  • May or may not be well known. They could be a veteran of many years effort, or a promising up-and-comer.
  • The prize is not intended as a bursary or scholarship to help full-time students in financial need, or to complete their studies.

How to nominate a candidate for the prize:

  • Provide the name, address, email and telephone number of the nominee.
  • Gather material to describe in 600 words or less how the nominee meets the prize criteria, documenting both conservation merit and financial need.
  • Provide the name, email and telephone number for two references for the nominee, other than the nominator.

Submit the nomination in one of two ways (Deadline: 5 p.m. ET Monday, May 1):

  1. Complete and submit this electronic form.
  2. Or download the nomination form Word.doc, complete it, and email it todavis.prize@wwfcanada.org or mail it to:
    The Glen Davis Conservation Leadership Prize
    410-245 Eglinton Ave E.
    Toronto, ON
    M4P 3J1
    Attn: Monte Hummel
The winner will be announced on May 18, 2017.

Webinar: Stormwater Infrastructure and Extreme Precipitation

Check out this upcoming webinar from the Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources (OCCIAR):

Planning for Extreme Precipitation: Assessing Alternatives for Stormwater Infrastructure Resiliency
Wednesday, March 22
1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

Presenters: Peter Nimmrichter (Associate & Climate Change Specialist in Water Resources with Amec Foster Wheeler) and Marvin Ingebrigtsen (Infrastructure Planning & Development Supervisor with the City of Welland, ON)

The City of Welland, Ontario, with assistance from Amec Foster Wheeler, assessed the resiliency of the City’s stormwater/combined sewer systems and the wastewater treatment plant, in 2012, to potential climate change impacts using the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) vulnerability assessment protocol. The outcomes of that assessment have been supporting City staff to better manage infrastructure risks, by increasing the understanding of uncertainty related to infrastructure planning and design. This presentation focuses on the next phase of the climate change impact assessment which is founded on dynamic modelling of the major/minor stormwater systems contributing to a stormwater management facility in the City which is presently experiencing performance issues. The objective of the modelling is to investigate how changing precipitation patterns in the future may exacerbate current problems, and specifically identify if more frequent surcharging events will manifest as more frequent at ground or on street flooding. This assessment examines various infrastructure adaptation considerations, notably to either “offset” the projected rainfall increases or to convey more runoff, in a framework of risk and uncertainty.

Click here to register.


Harcourt and Robertson: Two Mayors Reflect on Vancouver Past, Present and Future

Check out this upcoming event hosted by SFU’s Centre for Dialogue:

Harcourt and Roberston
Then and Now: Two Mayors Reflect on Vancouver Past, Present and Future

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Free public lecture

Doors open at 5pm with light refreshments
SFU Vancouver Campus, Fletcher Challenge Theatre, Room 1900
515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC

On February 28, former Mayor of Vancouver Mike Harcourt received the City’s highest honour, the Freedom of the City Award. Join SFU Centre for Dialogue for a special conversation between Mayor Gregor Robertson and former Mayor Mike Harcourt as they discuss Vancouver’s changes over the past 30 years.

This discussion will reflect Mike Harcourt’s living legacies as former Mayor of Vancouver and look at new opportunities for the City today.

Though this is a free event, please register in advance here.


Webinar: Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in Sustainable Forest Management and the Forest Industry in Saskatchewan

Tuesday, March 21
1:00 – 2:00 pm ET 

Presenter: Sheri Andrews-Key (PhD Candidate, School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan)

As the climate continues to change, forest ecosystems are experiencing stresses that have not been seen in the historical past. These changes are impacting many facets of forests in Saskatchewan and will have implications for forest practitioners and industry in their efforts to achieve sustainable forest management (SFM) objectives and goals. With this in mind, on a national level, the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM) has recommended that it is essential to consider both climate change and future climatic variability in all aspects of SFM. Policy and management practices need to evolve in the face of an evolving climate. What does a changing climate and its impacts on forests mean for industry?

Mistik Management Ltd. manages 1.9 million ha of boreal forest in northern Saskatchewan. Mistik is dedicated to practicing responsible forest management that provides sustainable wood products and maintains healthy ecosystems and communities. Mistik realizes that in order to do this sustainably for the future, ongoing climatic changes need to be addressed. Current and future risks of Mistik’s management area, including both the biophysical and management aspects of their practices, need to be incorporated into forest management plans. Adaptive management tools and techniques are essential for Mistik to continue to adapt to the rapidly changing climatic conditions. A vulnerability assessment of their management area using the CCFM Guidebook is currently underway. Through this assessment, Mistik’s adaptive capacity is also being analyzed. Based on the vulnerability assessment and the analysis of their adaptive capacity, we will work with Misitk on incorporating the results into their 20-year forest management plan.

In this presentation, Sheri will provide an overview of the main components of this project and then will explain the work by Mistik and take you through their progress and process of doing the vulnerability assessment.

Click here to register.


Ontario Climate Consortium: 5th Annual Symposium

The OCC team is holding their 2017 Ontario Climate Symposium which will be taking place at York University on May 11th and 12th.

The theme for this year’s symposium is “Just Transformations: The Next 150”. This event hopes to encourage the development of positive narratives and visions of a just future – ones that cross boundaries between natural science, social science, law, humanities and the arts.

Given that Canada is celebrating the 150th anniversary of confederation this year, discussions will be encouraged about what Ontario could be like in the next 150 years. The organizers are also mindful that from many indigenous perspectives, the collective responsibility we bear for ensuring the well-being of our Earth and its communities (both human and non-human) applies to at least seven generations into the future. Inherent to this responsibility is the importance of caring for marginalized and vulnerable communities and sharing fairly the benefits of our transition towards a more sustainable society. This perspective will inform the symposium throughout the program.

Register now!


Comox Valley Eco-Assets Symposium

The Comox Valley on Vancouver Island is facing a long list of challenges as more frequent and intense winter storms and summer droughts overwhelm engineered infrastructure and natural systems (that have been degraded over time by land use activities). It is feast AND famine! Now, the four local governments in the valley are facing a total cost approaching $200 million for proposed engineered infrastructure solutions to these problems.

On March 14-15, the 22 environmental and ratepayer groups comprising the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership are hosting a symposium to explore less expensive ‘design with nature’ solutions. Sponsors include the City of Courtenay, Comox Valley Regional District, Village of Cumberland and Real Estate Foundation of BC. The symposium spotlight will be on the potentially powerful and cost-effective role that ecosystem services can play in an infrastructure strategy.

ACT author and water advisor Bob Sandford is also a keynote speaker at this event.

“The stewardship and conservation sector has traditionally focused on habitat restoration and protection of lands with high ecological values,” states David Stapley, Program Manager with the  Comox Valley Conservation Partnership. “With cumulative impacts from climate change, urban and resource development escalating, these groups have now become community leaders in educating and supporting improved land use practices.”

“To address these escalating challenges, the Eco-Assets Symposium will promote measures that capture the value of ecological assets to address infrastructure and climate change issues by integrating them into land use planning and practice.”

Click here to learn more and to register.


ACT ED on Roundhouse Radio


ACT Executive Director Deb Harford was recently interviewed on the Roundhouse Radio show Impact. 

Deb discussed why we need to adapt to climate change – and, more importantly, how to ensure adaptation actions build in low-carbon solutions to ensure resilience overall. She also tackled climate change denial, innovation, and how to re-frame a low-carbon future as a desirable, positive world.

Listen to the interview here.


Free Public Lecture: Resiliency and You

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions – SFU and the Pacific Water Research Centre in the Faculty of Environment at Simon Fraser University are pleased to invite you to a free public talk and discussion:

Can cities have the wisdom to adopt preventive measures before disaster strikes as we shift into a climate unsteady future?

Presented by  Nadine Magdefrau, Research Coordinator, Institute of Spatial Planning;
Robin Change, Research Associate, European Planning Cultures, the Technical University of Dortmund, Germany;
Moderator: Alec Balasescu, Adjunct Professor, Urban Studies, SFU.
When:  Thursday, March 9 7pm
Where: SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings, Room 1400, Vancouver
How:  Reservations- click here to register.
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