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.



(Sept 6) High Resolution Regional Climate Modelling in Support of Adaptation in Ontario

The Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources (OCCIAR) is hosting a webinar tomorrow (September 6th 1pm-2pm EDT) and there is still time to register. The webinar: High Resolution Regional Climate Modelling in Support of Adaptation in Ontario will be presented by Dr. John Liu, Senior Science Advisor on Climate Change, Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.

This presentation will provide an opportunity for the audience to learn some fundamentals of climate change and climate modelling, and bring them up-to-date on what the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) has been doing on high resolution regional climate modelling in support of adaptation.

As many climate change adaptation practitioners know, due to the coarse resolution of global climate models (GCMs) they are unable to resolve local geophysical features at regional/local scales, such as the Great Lakes and the Niagara Escarpment which have significant impacts on Ontario’s local climate. However, most adaptation practices are implemented at the local/community scale and need climate information at higher resolution. To address this climate information gap, the Ontario government has refined the climate information from the global scale (i.e. 100’s of kilometers) down to local scales (i.e. 10’s of kilometers) using state-of-the-science downscaling techniques. Terabytes of Ontario-specific high resolution regional climate projections have been developed and disseminated via climate data portals which provide both intuitive visualization to all users (general public and policymakers) and extensive data downloading for scientists/engineers for their risk/vulnerability assessments. This webinar will conclude with a brief live demonstration of the most up-to-date Ontario Climate Data Portal.


To register click here.




(Oct 9-Nov 13) Think Resilience Guided Course

The Post Carbon Institute (PCI) has partnered with Think Resilience to offer a new online guided course called Think Resilience: Preparing Communities for the Rest of the 21st Century

Think Resilience have collaborated with PCI and PCI Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg to offer this six-week deep dive that includes six live online sessions. The course includes video lessons (about four hours of viewing material), plus weekly, hour-long group webinars featuring the host of the Think Resilience videos, Richard Heinberg, and moderated by Ed Saltzberg. You also get access to full lesson transcripts, suggested follow-up resources, and discussion forums where you can interact with other students on the topics covered. A Certificate of Course Completion is available for students who participate in at least five of the webinars and complete the quizzes given after every few lessons.

For more information on the course content see here, and to register see here.


(Nov 2) Job posting: PICS Program Manager for University of Victoria

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) is seeking applicants for a dynamic opportunity as Program Manager located at the University of Victoria.

Program Managers help implement the PICS Strategic Plan. They represent PICS on the ground at our collaborating universities and work closely with the organization’s broader community to raise awareness and initiate action toward creating and implementing climate solutions. This includes organizing events, maintaining a program of student and faculty engagement, and participating in local outreach.  Program Managers also develop and engage a network of local support related to particular areas of expertise.

The position adds a new Program Manager to focus on the University of Victoria, complementing the work of our Program Managers located at UBC, SFU and UNBC.

They are looking for a committed, energetic leader who has an advanced university degree in a field related to climate solutions. The candidate must possess a strong desire to work with the PICS team to increase the profile of climate solutions development throughout British Columbia.

A complete job description and application details are available here.




(Sept 17) Carbon Pricing 2.0: lessons from California and BC








Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions will be hosting a panel discussion (September 17th) with experts from California and British Columbia on policy issues and lesson learned from over a decade of experience with carbon emission reduction policies. Join the panel of experts from California and BC as they untangle some of these policy issues: what has worked well in these systems, what hasn’t, and what obstacles remain? How effective has each policy been in reducing carbon pollution? What about regulation, such as a low carbon fuel standards or legislated closure of coal plants, as an alternative or complement to carbon pricing? And how can carbon-pricing be constructed so as to minimize impacts on key industrial sectors, lower-income households and food security?


Danny Cullenward, Stanford University
Michael Mastrandrea, Stanford University
Mark Jaccard, Simon Fraser University
Nancy Olewiler, Simon Fraser University

Moderated by: Sybil Seitzinger, Executive Director, PICS

WHEN: 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on September 17, 2018
WHERE: Room A104, Bob Wright Building, University of Victoria

For more information or to find a link to the webcast see here.


(Aug 29) Perspectives from Climate Services in Europe

Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium has announce an upcoming talk titled Perspectives from Climate Services in Europe on August 29th as part of their joint Pacific Climate Seminar Series with the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. This talk will be given by Dr. Jana Sillmann, who will give an overview of the current arena of climate services from a global scale to a European scale, and outline current climate services approaches and European research projects on climate services.

Dr. Jana Sillmann is Research Director at the Centre for International Climate Research – Oslo (Norway) and leads the Climate Impacts group. Her expertise is in the analysis of climate extremes in a changing climate. Her work focuses on relating physical aspects of weather and climate extremes to socio-economic impacts and questions related to risk assessment and decision-making. She is co-leading activities of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Grand Challenge on Weather and Climate Extremes and is part of the scientific steering committee of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) programme. She is also a Lead Author of Chapter 12 “Climate change information for regional impact and for risk assessment” in the 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 1.

For more information to this free event see here.

When: August 29, 2018 3:30pm-4:30pm

Where: Room 002, University House 1, UVic 2489 Sinclair Rd. Victoria, BC.



(Nov 8) Climate Change in the Urban Environment: Essential Steps to Enabling Resiliency

SFU’s Faculty of Environment will be hosting a one-day workshop titled Climate Change in the Urban Environment: Essential Steps to Enabling Resilience on November 8th. The course will be provided by one of ACT’s expert advisors Christine Callihoo MSc, RPP. Christine has more than 20 years professional consulting experience in land use and community planning, facilitation and engagement, and in research and policy development with a focus upon the natural environment, human settlements and self-determination; building community resilience.

The course will focus upon a few priority risks brought to the fore by the workshop participants, working collaboratively through the steps to enable climate resilient urban centres/communities. An emphasis in the workshop, participants will work through the steps, highlighting the essential questions to be asked, the steps to be taken and by whom.

Step 1: Initiate the process / project
Step 2: Articulate and assess the baseline (incl. trends and projections)
Step 3: Identify and prioritize risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities
Step 4: Develop and prioritize resilience strategies
Step 5: Finalize and share the plan
Step 6: Implement the plan
Step 7: Monitor, evaluate and adjust (ongoing)

All participants will receive pre-reading materials to prepare to ‘set the stage’ for the workshop.

If you are interested in registering for the course see here.




Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s Climate Summit Proceedings

ACT would like to thank the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) once again for hosting and inviting us to participate in the TWN Climate Summit in July 2018. ACT researcher Jack Satzewich was offered an opportunity to present on green infrastructure planning for biodiversity as a climate change adaptation approach. The summit brought together First Nations and all levels of government, academics, NGOs, and industry to share information on climate change-related impacts and learn about current initiatives being undertaken by a variety of groups. At the TWN Climate Summit we discussed Indigenous governance, stewardship, adaptation and resiliency related to climate change.


The summit recordings and ACT’s presentation can be found here on the Tseil-Waututh Nations website.



(Sept 30) The Salmon-Safe BC Design Competition for Urban Development

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 Salmon-Safe BC Design Competition for Urban Development challenges you to answer:

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 see the poster below or click here.


(Aug 24) Stewardship Roundtable 2018






Last chance to register for Stewardship Roundtable 2018, hosted by the Stewardship Centre for BC and Bird Studies Canada. This is an incredible opportunity to hear from experts, and share ideas about how to improve environmental stewardship and conservation practices in our communities. 

From 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Roundtable will be devoted to learning and sharing ideas for action on pressing issues in ecological stewardship. Panel presentations, World Café style discussions, storytelling, and networking will all contribute to the development of next step action plans on six theme topics. During the networking and poster session from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm, connect with your community and get updates on research supporting bird and wildlife conservation. From 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the evening, we explore human-avian relationships during “Birds of a Feather” with Midori Nicholson and Purnima Barman.

Attend either the Roundtable or Birds of a Feather for $20 or attend both for $30! The daytime Stewardship Roundtable includes a buffet lunch and access to the poster and networking session.

See the agenda, speaker list and purchase your tickets here.


C40 Adaptation and Mitigation Interaction Assessment Tool

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and Children’s Investment Fund Foundation recently launched a new online tool that will help cities understand the relationship between mitigation measures, which reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and adaptation measures, which reduce climate risk. Based on cities’ experiences and designed for cities, this is the first tool available that will help policy-makers systemically analyze potential interactions between mitigation and adaptation as they develop climate action plans. 

Its user-friendly design enables cities to methodically identify potential interactions between existing or proposed climate adaptation and mitigation actions, highlight potential opportunities and conflicts, and provide users with case studies and relevant examples to guide decision-making.

The library of nearly 60 case studies not only provides illustrated examples of those interactions, but also brings insight on the actual implementation in different environments. Designed as a living tool, it will be regularly updated with new case studies both from C40 cities and external sources.

The tool is now available on the C40 Resource Centre, together with a tutorial video and online form to submit additional case studies. The tool and resource centre are part of the broader C40 Climate Action Planning Technical Assistance Programme, which aims to build capacity within cities to develop robust and ambitious climate action plans.

ACT is currently in the process of developing a Low Carbon Resilience framework for Canadian communities and policy makers to help develop mitigation and adaptation plans using an integrated approach.


(Aug 1st) AGU Climate Solutions Conferences Proposals





Call for Climate Educators submissions and collaborations for AGU fall meeting 2018 and Climate Solutions Conference 2019 fall meeting abstract deadline is August 1, 2018.

The world wants climate solutions. Beginning in spring 2019, the AGU Climate Solutions Conferences will build pathways and partnerships for communities to discover, define, investigate, and implement climate solutions. We must minimize global warming, maximize societal and environmental resilience and adaptive capacity for communities around the world. Climate solutions are human rights solutions, diversity is a central premise of the Climate Solutions Conference.

The conveners seek education partnerships to create open source education materials based on themes developed at the AGU Climate Solutions Conferences beginning spring 2019. The target audience includes high schools, colleges and universities. Hence, we are seeking long term partnerships to develop and update education resources in concert with the annual AGU Climate Solutions Conference. We envision this initiative creating a climate change education solutions group within the AGU.

The CSC Committee is hosting a parallel GeoHealth session at the 2018 AGU Fall Meeting. Presenting educators are strongly encouraged to attend the GeoHealth Session to gain an overview over the proposed themes and to potentially make first contact with individual theme leads.

Submit proposals here by August 1st.


The Expert Panel on Prioritizing Climate Change Risks

We are proud to announce the Executive Director of ACT, Deborah Harford will be a member of The Expert Panel on Prioritizing Climate Change Risks, directed by the Council of Canadian Academies. The Treasury Board Secretariat has asked the Council of Canadian Academies to examine the top climate change risks facing both Canada and the federal government.

Dr. John Leggat will chair the multidisciplinary, multisectoral panel composed of individuals with expertise, experience, and demonstrated leadership in the natural sciences, social sciences, health sciences, engineering, government and policy, and economics and industry. The Expert Panel will address the following assessment question: What are the top climate change risks facing both Canada and the federal government, and their relative significance, and which have the most potential to be minimized by adaptation measures?

The expert panel is comprised of 8 members;

L. John Leggat, FCAE (Chair), former Assistant Deputy Minister, Science and Technology, Department of National Defence
Elizabeth Beale, former President and CEO, Atlantic Provinces Economic Council; Commissioner, Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission; and Associate, Harris Centre for Regional Policy, Memorial University
Pierre Gosselin, Consulting Physician, Quebec National Public Health Institute; Clinical Professor, Université Laval and Institut national de la recherche scientifique; Coordinator Health, Ouranos
Bronwyn Hancock, Associate Vice-President Research Development, Yukon College
Deborah Harford, Executive Director, ACT (the Adaptation to Climate Change Team), Simon Fraser University
Paul Kovacs, Executive Director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
Barry Smit, O.Ont., FRSC, Professor Emeritus, Geography, University of Guelph
Roger B. Street, Research Fellow, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford.

For more information on The Expert Panel on Prioritizing Climate Change Risks see here.

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