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THE GLOBAL ENERGY MARKET’S MOMENT OF TRUTH

solarIf you want to know what addressing climate change will really be like for business and investors, then take a look at today’s electricity and energy markets. Driven by climate policy, technology development, business innovation, NGO campaigns and investment risk analysis, creative destruction is inflicting itself upon the sector with a vengeance – and the process has just begun.

Value is being destroyed at an incredible scale with just one example being European utilities losing $750 billion in market cap in recent years. Another is the huge losses in value for coal companies and the cancellation of a large number of new coal mining projects around the world as the forecast growth in China and India evaporates. As I argued in my last Chronicle, Carbon Crash Solar Dawn, this is not a temporary market blip but a fundamental shift. Company strategies and business models that have been working for generations are collapsing. In parallel we see the creative side of the process, with new industries being built, entrepreneurs flourishing and massive wealth being created. Now the market is working, as it should, allocating capital to the places where risk and return are best aligned. It is at once a beautiful and brutal process to observe.

Read the full article here.

 

 

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Buyer Beware: Home Insurance, Extreme Weather and Climate Change

In many parts of the country, climate change is mixing with natural variability to pile on the risk of damage to Australian homes. Where Australians live, the design of settlements, the cost of housing, and whether homes are insurable or not are not issues of the future, but very much issues of today.

The Climate Institute, together with CHOICE, commissioned independent risk analysts Climate Risk to take a snapshot of how the home insurance industry is responding to climate risk. The study, Buyer Beware: Home Insurance, Extreme Weather and Climate Change, offers a preliminary analysis of changes in premiums, policies, and insurability. The research reveals the growing risks for homeowners and also offers important new tools to assist homebuyers to assess current and future risk to what is often the biggest asset purchase of their lives.

Access the full report here.

 

 

 

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Ticking Time Bomb? Climate Change and Ixodes scapularis

tick

The black-legged (a.k.a. deer) tick transmits Lyme disease to humans. Removing a tick within 24 hours of being bitten can prevent transmission of the bacteria responsible for the disease. © Kent Wood/Science Source

Sharon Levy is a freelance science journalist and contributing editor to OnEarth, the magazine of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Lyme disease, caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, first emerged in the northeastern United States in the 1970s. Since then, the geographic range of the illness has expanded to the west, south, and north, and it has become by far the most commonly reported vector-borne disease in North America. Evidence is mounting that, on its northern front, the expanding range of Lyme disease is driven by climate change; warming temperatures allow new populations of the tick vector, Ixodes scapularis, to establish themselves in regions that were once too cold. Now a new study in EHP has quantified the relationship between warmer temperatures and the tick’s expansion into Canada.

Some historical and genetic evidence suggests Lyme disease was widespread in much of the contiguous United States prior to European settlement. The new work shows, however, that I. scapularis may now be spreading into regions it never occupied before, paving the way for disease to follow.

Read the full article here.

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Canadian economy will lose billions to climate change: report

By 2050, as much as $43 billion could be sapped from the Canadian economy because of natural disasters.

climatefloodA road crew foreman surveys the washed-out lanes of northbound MacLeod Trail in Calgary, Alta., Monday, June 24, 2013. Heavy rains caused flooding, closed roads, and forced evacuations across Southern Alberta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

By:  Staff Reporter, Published on Mon Apr 14 2014

A new report on the financial implications of climate change notes that while natural catastrophes are estimated to cost Canadians $21-$43 billion per year by 2050, popular economic measures like GDP fail to capture the escalation, discouraging preventative investment.

The TD report follows a recent and alarming warning by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that governments are ill-prepared for a warming world. If action is not immediately taken, the UN report projected risks could become unmanageable.

Monday’s report detailed the Canadian perspective on increasingly frequent natural catastrophes — the average number per year has doubled over the past three decades — and how by 2020 they will sap an estimated $5 billion from the economy.

Read the full report here.

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Five Canadian cities tearing up asphalt to help reduce flash-flooding risk

OTTAWA — They paved paradise, and put up a flood zone.

TO flood

A woman gets gets back in her car in flood water during a storm in Toronto on July 8, 2013. Photograph by: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn , Postmedia News

Five cities across Canada will see some of their asphalt torn up and replaced with porous brick and gravel this summer to help mitigate the flash flooding that frequently follows extreme rainfall.

Modern cities are ever more sheathed in concrete and pavement, sealing off the absorbent ground and leaving heavy rain with nowhere to go — except basements, subway tunnels and underground corridors.

Last year, Calgary and Toronto homeowners and businesses were hit with severe flooding that was aggravated by sealed topsoil that could not absorb the sudden influx of water, costing billions in damages.

The University of Waterloo, Ont., and insurer Intact Financial Corp. announced a 20-project initiative today aimed at helping communities better survive the extreme weather that is the inevitable result of climate change.

The so-called “Depave Paradise” pilot projects are set for Calgary and the Ontario communities of Mississauga, Peterborough, Kingston and Ottawa.

The projects in five provinces range from construction of so-called bio-swales — which work as temporary holding tanks for excessive rainfall — to restoring urban wetlands, to carrying out home audits in Calgary so owners can flood-proof their properties.

Read the full article here.

 

 

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Climate Adaptation: Advice for cities in the South

RosarioCities in developing countries with quality health, housing and water drainage systems, can more easily adapt to a changing climate, says the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

David Satterthwaite, a leading expert on human settlements and one of the two coordinating lead authors of the urban chapter in the IPCC report, told IRIN the report’s message for urban centres in developing countries is: “Good development provides the basis for climate change adaptation both in the sense of resilient infrastructure (piped water, drains, all-weather roads) and better quality houses… Providing these, also develops the institutional and financial base for climate change adaptation.”

Urban centres in developing countries often have to make difficult decisions on how much expenditure to allocate to development versus climate change adaptation, but the report’s authors say a successful balance can be achieved with clear policy direction, committed and informed staff, knowledge, and of course money.

The UK-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED – where Satterthwaite is a senior fellow) produced case studies on three cities facing significant development problems and at the same time trying to make their residents more resilient to extreme natural events.

Read the full article here.

 

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A risk management framework improves health systems’ resilience to high-impact weather

According to a new study by the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Policy Program, a risk management framework can improve the resilience of healthcare facilities and services to high-impact weather such as tornadoes and hurricanes. The report is based on a recent AMS Policy Program workshop, A Prescription for the 21st Century: Improving Resilience to High-Impact Weather for Healthcare Facilities and Services, held in Washington, DC in October 2013.

The purpose of the study was to explore methods for improving the resilience of the health system. The report outlines a process for reducing the structural and operational risks that healthcare facilities often face. The study presents a systematic strategy for improving resilience through a three-step process that first seeks to understand risks, then addresses the vulnerabilities of health facilities, and finally prepares for the continuity of health services in the event of disruptions.

The AMS Policy Program workshop included many diverse and engaged parties. The insurance sector and healthcare accreditors represented the stakeholders who assess risk. Those who plan and construct hospitals were represented by land developers, building engineers, and urban designers. Discussions on the continuity of healthcare services addressed pharmaceutical supplies, health IT, and clinical services.

“Two of our key findings involve new concepts,” Shalini Mohleji, Policy Fellow at the AMS Policy Program and director of the study, said. “First, resilience can be increased through successful risk management, and second, redundant systems promote efficacy, not inefficiency.”

Healthcare facilities and services provide a key foundation for a thriving community. Therefore, ensuring their resilience to high-impact weather is critical. High-impact weather events present a challenge in that they disrupt health facilities and services and decrease the ability to provide healthcare at a time when a community’s needs increase due to injuries and illness associated with the event. As more communities will emerge in areas vulnerable to high-impact weather, the need will grow for resilient  and services.

“Our health facilities are too vulnerable to  and climate events. We need to protect them more effectively and a comprehensive framework to assess and manage risk can help do that.” said Paul Higgins, Director of the AMS Policy Program.

Explore further: Financial decision makers need weather and climate information to manage risks

More information: The full report is available at the AMS Policy Program website at www.ametsoc.org/hfs

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Local Government Units urged to adopt science-based disaster prepared tools

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, May 28 (PIA)  – The Department of Science and Technology  (DOST) has appealed to local government units, disaster managers, and other stakeholders to adopt science and  technology –based  tools to boost their disaster  preparedness.

“We at the DOST  believe that we could use science to better understand and improve our disaster  planning and preparations at the national and local levels,” DOST Assistant Secretary Raymund  Liboro said.

Liboro was here Monday to represent Secretary Mario Montejo as keynote speaker of the the 16th and  final leg of the “Iba na ang Panahon: Science for Safer Communities” roadshow.

The  two-day information campaign showcased the latest S&T tools like 3D hazard maps, flood  models, Project NOAH website hazard simulation software, and mobile applications.

Read the full article here.

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IN SESSION WEBINAR – JUNE 17 – Key Findings of the Working Group II Contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report

Tuesday June 17th, 2014 from 1:30pm-2:30pm EDT

Presenter: Dr. Stewart J. Cohen, Senior Researcher, Climate Research Division, Environment Canada

This webinar is being delivered jointly by ICLEI Canada and the Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) at Simon Fraser University.

The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report consists of four volumes, one of which is the Working Group II report entitled “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.” The Summary for Policymakers, based on the underlying report, was approved by governments on March 31, 2014, and contains information on observed and projected impacts, and adaptation.

Dr. Stewart Cohen, a Senior Researcher with the Climate Research Division, Environment Canada will present key findings from the Working Group II report on this webinar.  Dr. Cohen contributed to Canada’s first national climate change assessment report, “Canada Country Study”, as well as the 2007 National Assessment, and “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” published in 2009. Since 1992, he has contributed to publications of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. For the IPCC 5th Assessment Report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, he is a member of the author team of the chapter “Foundations for Decision Making” as well as a member of the core writing team for the Summary for Policymakers which was released on March 31.
Climate Change: Implications for Cities, a summary report of key findings from the 5th Assessment, will also be presented.  The newly launched report, produced by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the University of Cambridge, synthesizes the most pertinent findings of AR5 specifically for the “city sector”.

ABOUT IN SESSION:

ICLEI Canada is hosting a series of webinars on various climate change and sustainability issues at the local level.  The In Session series offers expert-led presentations on many subject areas as they relate to sustainability planning, biodiversity management, communicating climate change, municipal best practices, capacity building, and research.

PAST WEBINARS:

Presentation slides and recordings of past webinars can be found on our Resources page: Past Webinars

 

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Should water managers put their head in the sand about climate change, or not?

West Coast Environmental Law Blog, October, 2013

 

Recently the BC Water and Waste Association (BCWWA) posted a video of a short talk that West Coast Staff Lawyer, Deborah Carlson, gave last June to their Climate Change Committee.  The talk, which is intended to be a first video resource for the planners and engineers that are members of the BCWWA, looked at the question: are local governments and professionals dealing with water management more likely to be sued if they seriously examine for climate impacts?

The question sounds ridiculous, but it’s actually one that we’re hearing more and more.  Obviously if governments are more likely to be sued if they pay attention to climate change, that would create a big incentive for governments to ignore the best science and to fail to create plans and strategies to adapt to a changing climate.

However, our view is that responsible governments – governments that inform themselves about the best available climate science and the likely impacts on their communities – are less, rather than more likely, to be successfully sued.

What local governments are worried about

Climate change will have huge implications for infrastructure that BC’s communities are responsible to build and maintain, and for how planning is done.  And, if it’s done wrong, there is a real risk that they will be sued for the resulting damage.  As Zizzo Allan Climate Law LLP has written:

In addition to continuing to mitigate climate change through efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions both locally and globally, municipalities should adapt to this new normal. … Canada has already witnessed civil law suits filed against municipalities for failing to maintain appropriate infrastructure that can withstand extreme weather. For instance, in 2002, following a flood in Stratford, Ontario, residents brought a class action against the City of Stratford for failure to take preventative action and improve the water management system despite prior flooding and warnings. The court certified the class and the case was eventually settled for $7.7 million, after the City had already paid out over $1.2 million in emergency relief. …

Municipalities have, in effect, been put on notice that potentially significant civil liability could arise from system failures and flooding events.

But some local governments and the professionals advising them – looking for an out – wonder whether it’s only once they have detailed information about how climate change will impact their community that the possibility of lawsuits kicks in.  They worry that a study showing that their community will have more flooding would be a smoking gun in a court case, and that it’s safer not to know.

Why it’s better to be informed

In preparing her talk, Deborah was asked:

[w]hether, by virtue of obtaining information through a climate change risk assessment … a local government would now face greater liability than if it had, say, just kept its head in the sand.

For a number of reasons she concludes that local governments are better off being informed by the best available science.  These reasons include:

  • There is already “a significant amount of information available about the impacts of climate change in BC”, and the available information is growing.  See, for example, the Plan2Adapt website.  This means that the data that governments might try to avoid creating is already available, and they could be considered negligent if they fail to consider it.
  • A local government that is well informed about climate impacts, but makes a policy choice not to immediately address some of the risks identified, is probably not liable for that policy decision.
  • Litigation concerning damage to private property from the failure of municipal infrastructure that was unable to accommodate climate change impacts may be framed as a nuisance claim.  In such a case, the question of whether the government had knowledge of the changing climate is less relevant.  Moreover, a local government that lacks information about climate change impacts may fail to adopt structural and non-structural measures that could help reduce its exposure to claims related to infrastructure failure, while protecting citizens and property.
  • Ignoring climate change may give rise to higher insurance costs, because insurers are already responding to climate-related risks, and Canadian insurers in particular are collecting data about weather-related events and climate change that will likely have an impact on insurance premiums;
  • Lack of information may prevent local governments from taking advantage of cost-effective opportunities to upgrade infrastructure, including options for green infrastructure that can support greater resilience to climate change impacts.

For more on these and other points, check out Deborah’s full presentation.

By Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer

 

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2014 Rising Seas Summit – Sept. 2014 in NYC!

NYC

Register today — early bird registration now available!

The inaugural Rising Seas Summit brought together more than 170 professionals from national and local government, industry, academic institutions and environmental NGOs together to highlight the interrelationships between sea level rise, climate change and extreme events. Understanding, anticipating and adapting to water related threats is critical to national security and a stable economy. Sea level rise will continue to damage coastal ecosystems and inland water systems, and the recent catastrophic impacts of Hurricane Sandy have demonstrated the risks faced by all coastal communities on the U.S. eastern seaboard. These new environmental challenges require that stakeholders share knowledge and work together to reduce and mitigate environmental and social degradation induced by climate change.

Program Highlights

  • 2 CCOTM training bootcamps on the basics of sea level rise and conducting vulnerability assessments
  • Meetings, workshops and roundtable discussions with Federal and local government officials leading adaptation planning efforts on behalf of their respective organizations
  • 4 plenary sessions featuring elected officials, Federal agency leaders, recognized thought leaders and scientific experts
  • 6 breakout panel discussions examining best practices on modeling and planning for sea level rise, providing case studies from existing efforts, quantifying the term economic implications of sea level rise, making sound investments, planning for more frequent and significant extreme events
  • CCO Roundtable networking lunch in which senior officials and experts from across sectors share their experience and wisdom with attendees

Rising Seas Summit Steering Committee

  • Pinar Balci – Director, Bureau of Environmental Planning and Analysis, New York City Department of Environmental Protection
  • Margaret Davidson – Acting Director, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • John Englander – Author, High Tide on Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis
  • Jennifer Jurado – Director, Natural Resources Planning and Management Division, Broward County (FL)
  • Daniel Kreeger – Executive Director, Association of Climate Change Officers
  • Sara Law – Manager, Special Projects, CDP
  • Michael Mondshine – Vice President, Sustainability & Energy, WSP Group
  • Susanne Torriente – Assistant City Manager, City of Fort Lauderdale

Check out the website for more details.

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“Global Warming” or “Climate Change”: Does it make a difference?

CC

In January 2014, George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication conducted a nationally representative experimental study and found that the terms global warming and climate change often mean different things to Americans. The two terms activate different sets of beliefs, feelings, and behaviors, as well as different degrees of urgency about the need to respond. We found that the term global warming is associated with greater public understanding, emotional engagement, and support for personal and national action than the term climate change.

For example, the term global warming is associated with greater certainty that the phenomenon is happening, and greater understanding that human activities are the primary cause among Independents. The term is also associated with greater understanding that there is a scientific consensus about the reality of the phenomenon among Independents and liberals. You can download the report here: What’s In A Name? Global Warming vs. Climate Change.

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CBC national radio debate on Green Growth Tonight – May 27 @ 9 PM on “Ideas”

Join 500,000 Canadians tonight (May 27) for a national radio debate on Green Growth, on CBC’s “Ideas” program at 9 PM.  See below for more details.

The show features a live debate that took place at a major conference in Ottawa last month on Big Ideas for Sustainable Prosperity – Policy Innovation for Greening Growth, which brought together some of the world’s biggest thinkers on this issue.

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CBC IDEAS WITH PAUL KENNEDY  -  PREMIERS TONIGHT  -  May 27  9PM
GREEN GROWTH: CAN PROFITS HELP THE PLANET?

It’s widely acknowledged that unfettered economic growth is impossible. Yet our reliance on fossil fuels and a growth-based economy seem intractable. So is the notion of “green growth” the answer? Is there a way to capitalize on capitalist motives and practices and live sustainably? IDEAS host Paul Kennedy hosts a panel at the University of Ottawa which wrestles with these very questions.

LISTEN
Tuesday, May 27  -  9PM

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ACCELERATING CANADA’S PARTICIPATION IN THE NEW CLIMATE ECONOMY
JEREMY OPPENHEIM KEYNOTE

Don’t miss the powerful speech by Jeremy Oppenheim, Director of the major new Global Commission on the Economy and the Climate.  He makes a compelling case for the economic opportunities offered by the new climate economy, and issues a stern warning to Canada on the risks of ignoring those opportunities. This inspiring speech was covered in the Globe and Mail.

WATCH
CPAC    |   YouTube

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BIG IDEAS TO SHARE
CONFERENCE VIDEOS

Videos from the conference are now online. Check out our website for inspiring teaching materials from leading scholars on green economy.

LEARN
SP Website

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ON THE BLOG
10 BIG HIGHLIGHTS

We asked some of the most prominent environment-economy thinkers in the world for their “Big Ideas for Sustainable Prosperity” — and wow, did they ever think big.

READ
Michelle’s Blog Recap

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Feedback Invited on New Land Use Guidelines to Address Sea Level Rise

New guidelines for land use development in areas affected by sea level rise are under consideration by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Local Governments are invited to provide comments by early August.  Read More

 

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North Coast Draft Plan for Input

WhaleNorth Coast Draft Marine Plan Released

The North Coast – Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society and the Province of British Columbia would appreciate your feedback on the North Coast draft Marine Plan during the public review period, which runs April 29 – June 3, 2014.

For more background on the Marine Planning Partnership initiative and how First Nations and the Province of British Columbia are working together, here are “Things to know about MaPP” in a question and answer format. You can also learn more about the MaPP initiative from our video.

How to Provide Feedback on the Draft Plan

You are welcome to comment in one or all of the following ways:
• Attend a community public meeting
• Fill out a response form – online or download a hard copy
• Send us an email

Comments will be received until June 3, 2014.

Community Public Meetings

There will be two public meetings on the North Coast, one in Prince Rupert and one in Kitimat. Participants will have an opportunity to review maps and displays and to speak one-on-one with representatives of the North Coast – Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society and the provincial government. Each meeting will begin with an open house followed by a presentation on the draft plan (see below). The planning team will be available to answer questions and respond to comments following the presentation.

Times and Agendas

Open House: 5:30 – 6:30? pm
Presentation and questions: 6:30 – 8 pm

Dates and Locations

Prince Rupert – May 12, 2014
North Coast Meeting and Convention Centre
240 1st Avenue West

Kitimat – May 13, 2014
Kitimat Valley Institute
1352 Alexander Avenue

Online Response Form

If you are unable to attend a public meeting or you have additional information to contribute, please provide your input by June 3, 2014 using this online response form. Or print this downloadable response form and drop it off at the North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society office in Prince Rupert, or mail your comments to us (mailing addresses are included in the downloadable form).

Email us

You can provide comments to us by email at nc-feedback@mappocean.org.

How feedback will be used

The North Coast planning team, composed of co-leads from the North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society and the Province of British Columbia, will review all the input received as part of the consultation process and make changes to the plan where appropriate. The comments received from public and stakeholders will be documented, and a summary of the main themes prepared.

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#BoldAction: The Moral Call for Climate Justice Tuesday, June 10th. 7-9pm

Tuesday, June 10th. 7-9pm.
Christ Church Cathedral,  690 Burrard Street
Coast Salish Territories, Vancouver

On Facebook at: www.facebook.com/events/1397855707163546

Tickets (free and by donation) at: boldaction.eventbrite.ca

Featuring:

Reverend Lennox Yearwood gets that climate change and poverty, race and culture, democracy and corporate power, are all connected. He knows that it is a moral challenge, and he preaches the need for bold action. The Rev is a minister and community activist, and President of the Hip Hop Caucus, a national non-profit that empowers young people to participate in elections, policymaking, and systemic change. He has been an influential voice for the moral call to climate action in the United States, speaking against the Keystone XL pipeline, and in favour of green economy alternatives that create good jobs and a clean environment for future generations.

Sean Devlin is a comedian, filmmaker, activist and Executive Director of SHD. He has been performing standup comedy since he was a teenager and has been active in the climate justice movement for 4 years. He is a direct action trainer and a thought stylist at the Yes Men’s Yes Lab for creative activism.

Heather Milton-Lightening has over sixteen years of organizing experience from local issues to international campaigns. Heather was a founding member of Native Youth Movement that empowered youth politically and socially to make change in their communities, and then went on to found and build a national Native youth network that supported Native youth organizing across the US and Canada with the Indigenous Environmental Network. Heather currently is working on a contractual basis with many different organizations doing trainings, facilitating and support work for Native communities.

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