(Oct 25) Canada Joins Global Commission on Adaptation

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna and the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte met on October 25th, to formally announce Canada’s participation and support of the new Global Commission on Adaptation.  In attendance were a number of experts in the field of climate change adaptation, including the Executive Director of ACT, Deborah Harford.

The Global Commission is an initiative led by the Netherlands to bring attention to critical climate adaptation gaps. Canada’s contribution of CA$ 7.5 million will support the work of the Commission to encourage bold solutions to build resilience to climate-related threats.

ACT is honoured to have been invited to such an event and we look forward to continued collaboration with and support of the Global Centre on Adaptation and the Global Commission on Adaptation’s goals and objectives.

For more information on the Global Commission on Adaptation see here and for the news release see here.


BOMA Canada 2019 Resilience Brief

ACT is excited to share the latest  version of the BOMA Canada Resilience Brief – an important tool to help building owners and managers begin to consider resilience and the potential risks imposed by extreme weather events.

Following the disastrous events of 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires and the 2018 New Brunswick and Toronto floods, industry visionaries, led by BOMA Canada took a bold initiative and published the first Resilience Brief. This valuable publication was widely embraced by the commercial real estate industry across Canada. Today, more than ever, building owners and managers need to be prepared for extreme weather events.

The latest version of the Resilience Brief has been released with the most up to date knowledge of resilience, and we encourage you to review it.

To download a copy of the BOMA Resilience Brief see here.


(Nov 1) To Catch a Falling Sky

A conversation series exploring challenges and solutions for water, energy and food resources is kicking off November 1st with a discussion exploring practical climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies for British Columbia. The series is presented by SFU’s Faculty of Environment (which ACT is proudly part of), the Pacific Water Research Centre  and Telus World of Science.

Here’s the info for the first event:


  • Hon. George Heyman, BC Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Strategy
  • Mr. Tim Barton, Senior Transit Planning Engineer, City of Vancouver
  • Jens Wieting, Senior Forest and Climate Campaigner, Sierra Club BC

When: 1 November – Doors open at 7 pm; event starts at 7:30 pm

Where: Science World at TELUS World of Science

 Free tickets available at EventBrite.



(Nov 29) Getting Climate Ready- Adaptation Tools for Northwest Communities

Climate change is exposing communities in Northwest BC to changes in weather patterns and more frequent extreme events. These changes place local and regional critical infrastructure as well as health at risk, which the Northwest region has witnessed in recent flooding and wildfire events. Changing climate hazards have created the need to integrate climate change adaptation into policy, planning, landscape design, and public works maintenance.  The Fraser Basin Council is offering a full day, free introductory workshop with a focus on flood and wildfire risk management in Terrace, BC on November 29th.

Topics and presenters confirmed to date include:

  • In Too Deep: How we can Better Adapt to Floods | Charlene Menezes, Program Manager – Flood Management, Fraser Basin Council
  • True Cost of Wildfires and Why Building Wildfire Resilience is our Best Option | Bob W. Gray, Fire Ecologist, R.W. Gray Consulting Ltd.
  • Funding Opportunities for Adaptation | Andrew Giles, Program Manager – Disaster Mitigation, Emergency Management BC
  • Future Climate in Northwest BC | Trevor Murdock, Climate Scientist and Lead – Regional Climate Impacts, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium
  • Infrastructure and Climate Change | Harshan Radhakrishnan, Practice Advisor, Engineers and Geoscientists BC

Venue location: Best Western Terrace Inn, 4553 Greig Avenue, Terrace, BC

To register click here.


TWI2050 Report: Transformation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

The World in 2050 (TWI2050) was established by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) to provide scientific foundations for the 2030 Agenda. It is based on the voluntary and collaborative effort of more than 60 authors from about 20 institutions, and some 100 independent experts from academia, business, government, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations from all the regions of the world, who met three times at IIASA to develop pathways toward achieving the SDGs.

This report examines the current trends and dynamics that promote and jeopardize the achievement of the SDGs. It presents the TWI2050 framework, the integrated pathways which harness the synergies and multiple benefits across SDGs, and approaches to governing this sustainability transformation. TWI2050 identifies six exemplary transformations which will allow achieving the SDGs and long-term sustainability to 2050 and beyond; Digital revolution, Human capacity and demography, Smart cities, Consumption and production, Food, biosphere and water, and Decarbonization and energy.

To read the full report see here.


(Oct 8) 2018 IPCC Global Warming of 1.5°C Report

The IPCC has released the special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. This report is in response to a request by the 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. We would like to highlight that Dr. Kirsten Zickfeld of SFU’s Faculty Of Environment is a contributing author of the report.

This report has been identified across the globe as crucial in motivating action to reduce emissions and prepare for the undoubtable challenges and impacts we will face due to climate change. ACT continues to be motivated by reports such as these and we look forward to turning the findings into opportunities for sustainable adaptation. ACT’s recent funding approval by the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia will help move forward our low carbon resilience projects in communities across British Columbia that reflect recommendations in the IPCC report such as;

D3.3. A mix of adaptation and mitigation options to limit global warming to 1.5°C, implemented in a participatory and integrated manner, can enable rapid, systemic transitions in urban and rural areas (high confidence). These are most effective when aligned with economic and sustainable development, and when local and regional governments and decision makers are supported by national governments (medium confidence) {4.3.2, 4.3.3, 4.4.1, 4.4.2}

D3.4. Adaptation options that also mitigate emissions can provide synergies and cost savings in most sectors and system transition, such as when land management reduces emissions and disaster risk, or when low carbon buildings are also designed for efficient cooling.

To read the Summary for Policymakers see here.


(Oct 4) ACT Receives Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia Fall 2018 Grant

We are proud to announce that ACT has been awarded one of 14 Fall 2018 grants from the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia (REFBC). The REFBC has approved $1.75M in funding to support research, education and policy analysis related to sustainable land use and real estate. Over the next three years, ACT will be using the $750,000 grant to work with communities and local governments across the province to support integrated climate action and sustainability planning that addresses both mitigation (emissions reduction) and adaptation. The project will develop resources designed to integrate action on emissions reduction and adaptation to climate impacts with sustainability planning, policy and resources.

We would like to congratulate all other recipients and thank the REFBC for their support. To see the Fall 2018 list of recipients and learn more about the REFBC and what they have funded see here.


(Sept 27) World ‘nowhere near on track’ to avoid warming beyond 1.5C target

In anticipation of next months release of the IPCC Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C we would like to draw your attention to a recent article published in The Guardian, World ‘nowhere near on track’ to avoid warming beyond 1.5C target.

The article highlights the improbable, if not the impossibility of the world limiting global warming to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. We would also like to note the contribution of Simon Fraser University researcher Kirsten Zickfeld who is a contributing author to the IPCC report, along with fellow Canadians, Gregory Flato of Environment and Climate Change Canada and James Ford from the Geography Department at McGill University.

To read the article in The Guardian please see here.





(Sept 24) New #Stand4Forests Platform Launched

In the wake of Hurricane Florence and wildfires that have swept the United States, on September 24, 2018 over 200 organizations, scientists and elected officials released the #Stand4Forests platform demanding the protection of U.S. forests as a vital climate solution.

For the first half of 2018, over 25 environmental organizations and climate justice leaders in the United States worked together to collaboratively create the Stand4Forests platform. This inspiring group represented people from all over the US, who all offered their diverse perspectives, background, spirit, and wisdom to the conversation. Frontline communities and grassroots organizations, big and small non-profits, universities and institutes came together. Stand4Forests signers who were closely involved with the development of the platform included: Dogwood Alliance, 350.org, Center for a Sustainable Economy, Friends of the Earth, John Muir Project, Sol Nation, Justice Action Mobilization Network, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Mighty Earth, NRDC, Sierra Club, United Plant Savers, the Environmental Paper Network, Heartwood Forest Council, Wild Virginia, American Bird Conservancy, Dr. Bill Moomaw, Dr. Thomas RaShad Easley, Reverend Leo Woodberry, and Dr. Florence Anoruo.

While individual organizations, scientists, and leaders that have endorsed Stand4Forests may differ in regions, priorities, and tactics, Stand4Forests endorses are united by a common goal: We seek a world where we value forests more standing than logged. We stand in solidarity to call for forest protection, climate action, and justice for all.

For more information on the newly launched platform and events see here.


(Deadline Extended: Oct 31) Salmon Safe BC Design Competition for Urban Development

The application deadline for The Salmon-Safe BC Design Competition for Urban Development was been extended to October 31. Stormwater run-off is one of the largest non-point sources of pollution in urban areas affecting the health of salmon and our watersheds. Stormwater often contains contaminants such as hydrocarbons and heavy metals derived from vehicle exhaust, brakes and leaked fluids as well as nutrients, pesticides and bacteria from urban and agricultural uses. During rainy days, these contaminants are collected by rainwater, flow over large paved, impervious surfaces and drain into local fresh and marine waterbodies through storm drains and pipes.

The challenge: How can we reimagine our cities and design our urban buildings to adapt to climate change and address water quality, water quantity, and the restoration of aquatic and terrestrial habitat?

For more information on the competition and submissions see here.



(Oct 25) Antarctic Sea Ice in a Changing World






Living on the Pacific coast, should we be concerned that climate change is heavily impacting Antarctica and the Southern Ocean? A group of international scientists think so. They also think we need to look to our past to better understand what we might expect in the future. Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Environment is pleased to invite you to a talk and discussion to and out why. We hope to see you there!

Climate change is heavily impacting Antarctica and the Southern Ocean surrounding this icy continent. Parts of the Antarctic ice sheet are melting away raising sea-level by a few millimeters each year. The Southern Ocean is also warming which is a affecting the global ocean circulation and remote climate. This in turn is impacting the regional food web at southern high-latitudes. Surprisingly, Antarctic sea-ice cover has been slightly increasing over the past decades despite very large differences at the regional scale that we have yet to understand.

When: Thursday, October 25

Where: SFU Harbour Centre 515 West Hastings Room #1900

Presenter: Xavier Crosta, Senior Research Scientist Université de Bordeaux, France

Moderator: Amy Leventer, Professor of Geology Colgate University, New York

To RSVP (free) click here.



(Oct 10) Conservation Connections 2018

BC’s South Coast species at risk annual info sharing and networking event is a unique opportunity to network and connect with experts involved in species at risk recovery. This afternoon event will have presentations regarding the South Coast Conservation Program’s latest resources and initiatives, followed by two engaging panels to share and discuss specific updates and projects. One panel will focus on government and land management decision-making, and the other will focus on stewardship initiatives. ACT researcher Dan Straker will be presenting one of our current projects which considers incorporating biodiversity into planning urban green infrastructure networks as a climate change adaptation measure.

There will a special focus on the Sunshine Coast and Sea-to-Sky Corridor. Speakers include representatives from groups including Stewardship Pemberton, Squamish River Watershed Society and Coastal Partners in Conservation. Stay tuned for the full agenda coming soon!

Location: Corrigan Nature House at Maplewood Flats, North Vancouver

Date: Wednesday, October 10th (networking lunch noon to 1pm) presentations 1pm-4pm

Cost: $15, includes lunch (Cash only, collected at the door)

Registration deadline (required): October 5, 2016

See here for information regarding how to register.



Webinar (Oct 4): From Panama to Canada: Urban Water Sustainability & Natural Asset Planning





Around the globe, local governments and communities are beginning to shift towards “natural asset planning” to promote and ensure urban water sustainability. Historically, nature has been undervalued, underpriced, and overused and there has been no easy way to account for ecosystem services, such as flood control provided by wetlands. In this webinar, the speakers will describe communities that are doing the interdisciplinary work required to better understand and account for natural assets, such as creeks, aquifers, and forests, in their municipal planning.

Hosted since 2010 by the POLIS Water Sustainability Project at the Centre for Global Studies, University of Victoria, the Creating a Blue Dialogue webinar series brings together expert water practitioners and thinkers, as well as emerging water leaders, to engage with innovative ideas on water policy and governance in Canada. By creating an online community of interest, the series strengthens the national capacity to engage with and solve problems, and raises awareness about emerging Canadian water issues, best practices, and policies. The 2018/19 season is being co-hosted by POLIS and the Water Economics, Policy and Governance Network (WEPGN) with a focus on research developed by WEPGN researchers and partners.

For more information on the speakers and to register see here.


Real Estate Foundation Land Awards

ACT is excited to share the announcement of the 2018 Real Estate Foundation Land Awards finalists. The Executive Director of ACT, Deborah Harford was asked to be a judge of this year’s award.

The Land Awards celebrate initiatives that demonstrate leadership, innovation, and collaboration in sustainable land use in British Columbia. The awards program recognizes outstanding projects and standout leaders who work to build healthy, resilient communities and natural environments.

There are three Land Awards, which recognize projects that raise the bar for innovation, collaboration, and sustainability in land use and real estate. Awards are given in three subject-matter categories, the following are the 2018 finalists:

Land Use and Conservation

  • BC First Nations Land Use Planning Handbook (Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council)
  • Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (Brooke and Associates, Smart Prosperity Institute, David Suzuki Foundation, and the Town of Gibsons)
  • Embracing Our Potential (Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association)

Built Environment

  • Olivia Skye (Atira Development Society)
  • BC’s Affordable Housing Plan (BC Non-Profit Housing Association)
  • BC Energy Step Code (Energy Step Code Council)
  • Nuutsumuut Lelum (Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre)

Fresh Water and Food Systems

  • Young Agrarians Land Matching Program (FarmFolk CityFolk)
  • Southwest BC Food System Design Project (Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at Kwantlen Polytechnic University)
  • POLIS Water Sustainability Project (POLIS Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria)

There are also two awards for individuals: the Land Champion Award (Lana Lowe) and the Emerging Leader Award (Veronika Bylicki and Tesicca Truong).

For more information on the award finalists and gala event please see here.



(Sept 19) Film Screening: Women Bending The Curve On Climate Change

Executive Director of ACT, Deborah Harford will be the moderator for a public screening of the documentary Women Bending the Curve on Climate Change in Vancouver. Set in the context of the Paris climate change agreements, the new film tells the stories of climate change leaders from Canada’s West Coast working in renewable energy, city government, energy conservation, community engagement, sustainable food, finance and indigenous land stewardship. Their inspiring stories explore how climate science, meaningful action and women’s collaborative leadership intersect to bend the curve on climate change.

After the screening there will be a discussion with the filmmaker Dr. Joanna Ashworth and some of the featured women in the film including:

Tarah Stafford, screen writer, producer and sustainability advocate
Tesicca Truong, co-founder and co-director of Citiy Hive
Kirsten Zickfeld, geography professor, SFU

This is a free event, to register for tickets see here.










(Nov 28) Public Sector Accounting Board Opportunity to Comment

The Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) creates the Handbook that is the source of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) used to prepare public sector financial statements in Canada. The current Handbook limits what can be reported by excluding natural assets from recognition as Tangible Capital Assets in the standards. There is currently a very important opportunity to provide input into the process to update PSAB standards to address this and other issues. The outcome of this will impact stakeholders for decades.

PSAB is accepting comments on the following until November 28, 2018:

1) Statement of Concepts, “A Revised Conceptual Framework for the Canadian Public Sector”. This document proposes updated concepts underlying accounting and financial reporting standards. Once final it would be the new foundation on which standards are developed and professional judgment is applied;
2) A Statement of Principles, “A Revised Reporting Model for the Canadian Public Sector”. This proposal is the revised reporting model that PSAB is considering and consulting on.

We encourage you to provide input to PSAB by the deadline, with a focus on supporting and enabling the consideration of natural assets in public sector accounting.

If you are considering input and wish to discuss with the Municipal Natural Asset Initiative then please do not hesitate to let them know.


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