(November 21) Livable Cities Forum Highlights and Presentations Posted

Highlights from this years Livable Cities Forum hosted co-hosted by ACT, ICLEI, SHIFT Collaborative, and the City of Victoria on October 28-30 have now been posted.

Some of the highlights of this year’s event include:

  • Over 350 North American delegates gathered to be a part of the conversation on building community resilience. More than 83 local and regional governments were represented! View our highlight reel to learn about key Forum takeaways, which included the need to apply an equity, health & well-being lens when responding to the climate emergency in our communities.
  • Over 100 speakers, practitioners, and community resilience leaders shared their experience and knowledge with delegates through an array of interactive workshops, plenaries, and local study tours. Our speakers broke down silos through innovative, captivating sessions that wove together three Forum themes: the climate change and health nexus, the role of infrastructure in building better neighbourhoods, and low carbon resilience.
  • The development of the Victoria Call to Action: Hosted by ICLEI Canada and the City of Victoria, the Leadership & Legacy session brought together 50+ Mayors and Councillors from across North America for a day-long dialogue on building social resilience, community belonging and inclusion. The elected officials took part in workshops and dialogue on topics such as building neighbourhood resilience, and applying a well-being lens for local budgeting and decision-making. The day culminated with elected officials finalizing a collective Call to Action for local leaders to advance work on the health, well-being and social cohesion aspects of climate resilience.

To read the full forum highlights and view this years presentations, click here.



(November 22) Seminar on Sea Level Rise: Dr. Jeremy Fyke

Join SFU’s Geography Department for a seminar on Sea Level Rise Projections with Coupled Global Ice-Sheet/Earth Systems Models. The seminar will be on Friday November 22, from 11-12 in RCB 6136.

Sea level rise from ice sheets depends closely on interactions between ice sheets and the surrounding Earth system. These interaction determine how forcings to the climate system (such as from anthropogenic climate influences) translate to ice sheet change, which in turn impacts the surrounding environment and forms the basis for important, yet poorly understood feedback loops.

In his talk, Dr. Fyke with describe the current state of knowledge of ice sheet/earth system interactions and feedbacks and describe emerging coupled ice sheet/earth system models, which will ultimately be used for sea level rise projections in support of global climate risk and adaptation actions.

Dr. Fyke is a Climate Specialist and Group Manager at Associated Engineering. He has 15 years of experience in climate science and applied climate services. He has a background in global Earth system model development, evaluation, and use, with an interest in coupling ice sheet models in Earth system models for sea level rise projections.



(November 20) Salmon Matter Episode 1: the State of Salmon

Pacific salmon face tremendous challenges, and with climate change and habitat loss impacts, it can seem overwhelming. The real question most of us have is simple: how are Pacific salmon doing? The answer…. well, it’s complicated.

2019 had the lowest ever return rates for Lower Fraser Sockeye, says Jason Hwang, VP of Salmon with the Pacific Salmon Foundation. At the same time, it was the best year many can recall for the Chinook fishery, say many fishing recreationally along the southern coast. Salmon have one of the great migration stories in the world, starting in freshwater as far as the interior of B.C., then migrating the Pacific and North Pacific, and after years they’re making the journey back. At every moment along the way, Pacific salmon are fighting for survival. Jason tells the story of salmon now and what PSF is doing to help Pacific salmon on their journey and how you can help.

Watch the full video below.

By donating to https://www.psf.ca/ by December 31st, 2019, you can support PSF salmon initiatives in your community that help tackle the many challenges facing salmon today. Furthermore, thanks to a generous matching contribution by the Sitka Foundation, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar (up to $50,000) and for every $100 you donate you will receive one entry to win a signed print by local artist, Alana Hansen. Become a part of the solution, donate today: https://www.psf.ca/support/donate-online


(November 18) Fraser Basin Council Hiring Program Manager: Flood Strategies

Are you looking to advance flood resilience and sustainability in BC’s Lower Mainland and across the Province of BC? Join FBC’s dynamic environment on the leading edge of collaborative flood planning and governance. Reporting to the Senior Program Manager, this position provides program management services to support the development of a Lower Mainland Flood Management Strategy and provincial flood strategies.

For details, read the full job posting here.


(November 15) City of Victoria Call to Action

“We stand together as local government leaders, acknowledging that wherever we are in Canada we are on Indigenous land, and expressing our highest concern at the climate crisis that the world is now facing.”

The Victoria Call to Action was co-developed by elected officials at the Livable Cities Forum that ACT co-hosted in Victoria on October 28-30. The call to action calls for advancing resilience in cities across Canada in ways that feature decolonization, health, equity, and social inclusion. It calls for forward urgent action opportunistic action moving forward. The steps to achieving these actions call for a re-making of societal fabric, from energy generation to transportation.

Read the full call to action here.


(November 20) Talk on Climate Change and Building Science

Humans spend over 90% of their time indoors, so understanding how climate change is affecting the operations and adaptation of buildings is critical. Join the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium in Victoria, along with building scientist Rob Lepage in Victoria on Nov 20 at 3pm to discuss this interesting topic in more detail. 

Register for the event here.


(November 29) Can’t Face it Alone: Public Dialogue

We cannot face climate change alone. It impacts our communities, our decisions, and emotions, but leveraging our personal connections and relationships can drive solutions and innovation. Join SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue on November 29 at 4:30 to discuss this topic, and learn about how climate change moves beyond the individual. 

To learn more about this event and to register, click here.


(November 21) Webinar: Living with the Rain: Adapting to Increased Future Rainfall in the Greater Vancouver Area

Climate change is expected to bring an increase in total annual precipitation as well as more intense rainfall events to the Greater Vancouver area. How can this region and others work with climate projections of future precipitation and prepare for these changes?

This webinar will give examples of how two government bodies are leading the way in this work. Andrew Ling, Senior Project Engineer, will present on the cutting-edge work that Metro Vancouver has done on Intensity-Duration-Frequency (IDF) curves that are based on future rainfall rather than historical rainfall and that will help engineers, planners and policy makers plan with more confidence in a changing climate. Melina Scholefield, Manager of Green Infrastructure Implementation, will speak to the City of Vancouver’s Rain City Strategy. This strategy aims to use rainwater as a resource rather than a waste product and has set a goal of capturing and treating 90% of the rainwater that falls in Vancouver.

The webinar is on November 21, 2019 from 9:30 – 10:45 PST. Register for the webinar here.


(Now – January 10) Have Your Say. Climate Ready BC: Preparing Together

Have your say on B.C.’s Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy

Climate change is already impacting communities across British Columbia. We’ve seen record wildfires, extreme weather, increased drought and more frequent flooding. That’s why the government’s CleanBC plan commits the Province to develop a Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy to help ensure that communities across B.C. can prepare for a changing climate.

CleanBC is helping to reduce climate pollution and put us on the path to a low-carbon economy that creates opportunities for everyone. While this is a critical part of addressing the climate change challenge, we also need to take steps to prepare and respond to the impacts of climate change that are already underway.

CleanBC wants to hear from you. You or your organization can provide your thoughts on how climate change is affecting you, as well as your visions for how to build a resilient, climate-ready future. This input will help the Province better understand how to develop policies and programs that support communities across B.C.

People can share their thoughts until January 10, 2020, through an online questionnaire, discussion forum and written submissions. Additional opportunities for public input will follow in early 2020, with the release of the final climate preparedness and adaptation strategy later in the year.

Have your say: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/climatereadybc/

Join the conversation on social media by tagging #ClimateReadyBC and #MyClimateStoryBC

To learn about what B.C. is already doing to prepare for climate impacts, visit:www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/climate-change/adaptation.


(November 14) You, Me & CleanBC: A Dialogue for Young Leaders on Climate Action.

Join the SFU Centre for Dialogue on Thursday November 14 for the event You, Me & CleanBC: A Dialogue for Young Leaders on Climate Action.

This event will be a dialogue about the collective climate action needed in BC and an opportunity to learn more about current youth-led and provincial government-led climate initiatives. Attendees can hear directly from young leaders in Metro Vancouver and the Government of British Columbia about what they are doing to take action on climate change. This evening will be an opportunity to connect with peers equally passionate about climate action to share your thoughts, feedback, and ideas about CleanBC, the Province’s climate strategy and to plan future collaborations.

Date: November 14, 2019
Time: 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Strategy Room 320-370, 580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Free event with limited space. To visit the Eventbrite and register, click here. 



(November 20) Vacancy Announcement: Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Pacific Water Research Centre, SFU

The Pacific Water Research Centre in the Faculty of Environment at Simon Fraser University is hiring a post-doctoral researcher (PDR). The PDR will play a leading role in a tri-national project on methodologies for costing of flood impacts in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

The main objective of this project, approved and funded by the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), is to develop a standardized methodology for assessing the cost of extreme floods in North America, to address the great variation that exists in the methods used in each country to estimate the costs of flood damages. The project is implemented through collaboration among government agencies, community representatives, private sector partners, and domain experts. A secondary objective is to extend this methodology to a multi-hazard assessment (e.g., hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, landslides). Such an approach, applied across the three countries, will enable systematic investments by governmental agencies to enhance resilience to extreme events, reduce future economic impacts, and support real- time monitoring and disaster response.

PWRC will engage the PDR for a duration of 1 year starting 15 December 2019 to support the CEC project activities in all three countries as an expert in data analysis, providing support for organization of project activities and co- authoring key outputs of the project. The PDR will be based at the School of Resources and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, BC, Canada) on a full-time basis. Occasional travel to Mexico and the United States, as well as within Canada, may be required.

For a more in depth overview of the responsibilities and qualifications, please click here. Applications close November 20, 2019.


(October 30) – We’re way past the point of preventing climate change, it’s time to adapt

A recent University Affairs magazine article has a title to make you pause: We’re way past the point of preventing climate change, it’s time to adapt. The article clearly marks the transition from a world in which we thought we could prevent warming above a degree, to a world where we are no longer in position to prevent climate change, and as such,  our new reality is going to be adapting to change.

For example, the article outline that this is the first year the World Bank has funded adaptation on an equal footing with prevention efforts. The article continues to note that a lot of what adaptation research will focus on is changes at the community and regional scale, learning the acute needs and impacts of communities. For example, solutions that are directed at flooding in Toronto can’t address wildfire risk in BC and Alberta.

ACT’s Executive Director Deborah Harford contributed to the conversation, outlining that is not enough to integrate piecemeal adaptation strategies, but that adaptation needs to be strategic. “It’s crucial that we begin to embrace more complex, integrated thinking on climate action if we are to achieve the biggest bang for our buck in both the short and long term,” Harford says. Adaptation strategies can sometime be emissions intensive – think of expanding pipe networks or concretizing coastlines, so finding green solutions, like naturalizing wetlands is key.

To read the full article, click here.


(October 29) New Report: Ahead of the Storm: Developing Flood-Resilience Guidance for Canada’s Commercial Real Estate

The Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation announces their latest report entitled: “Ahead of the Storm: Developing Flood-Resilience Guidance for Canada’s Commercial Real Estate.” 

As the commercial real estate industry strives to minimize its exposure to flood risk, this report provides a concise list of flood-resilience measures that can reduce the potential for property damage, business disruptions, as well as the potential for flood-related injury and loss of life stemming from extreme rain events.

The report profiles case studies from across Canada where flood-resilience measures were applied “on the ground” to limit flood risk, and shares examples of innovative technologies for water damage reduction.

To read the full report, click here.


(October 29) Tapped Out: A Special Report on Water Scarcity and Water Solutions in British Columbia

British Columbia’s climate has changed. 2015 is Year 5 of a new climate reality that is defined by recurring extremes. Floods, drought, forest fires and windstorms – all are happening within the same year, and year after year. Summers are longer and drier; winters are warmer and wetter. As a consequence, the seasonal water balance is out of balance. Change is occurring at a rate much faster than anticipated. This has risk management implications for security of water supply.

As illustrated on the map, almost two-thirds of B.C.’s population (i.e. about 3 million people) live in areas that are deemed to be water-stressed. 

The recently released report Tapped Out: A Special Report on Water Scarcity and Water Solutions in BC highlights the pressing issue of seasonal water scarcity in BC. The takeaway message is that water is a finite resource, even in water-rich British Columbia. With droughts being our new reality, sustainability of water supply dictates that communities would adapt their water use to match the new seasonal pattern. On a practical basis, risk management would oblige communities to have a plan to regulate demand and maintain water supply through a 6-month drought, both for people and fish, from storage (engineered and/or natural).

“There is a myth that B.C. has limitless water supplies,” says lead author Tanis Gower, Project Biologist with the Watershed Watch Salmon Society. “However, 2.9 million British Columbians live in areas where water shortages are likely to be a serious problem in the coming years.

Quick Facts from the report:

  • Approximately 63% of B.C.’s population (2.9 million people) live in water-stressed areas, as defined by the Province’s designations used to support water licensing decisions.
  • The areas with the highest levels of water stress cover only 3.7% of the province, but 23% of B.C.’s population lives in these places.
  • B.C.’s population has doubled since the 1970s, and some water-stressed areas have higher-than-average growth rates.

To read the report, click here.


(December 2-3) The 4th Annual BC Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research Workshop

Registration is now open for the Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research provincial workshop taking place December 2-3, 2019 in Kelowna, BC. The 4th annual provincial workshop hosted by the BC Agricultural Climate Adaptation Research Network including:

  • An afternoon of applied research sessions with BC researchers and producers discussing practices they have been testing in the field to improve soil health, store carbon, reduce the impacts of pests and disease, and adapt to increasingly variable weather. Sessions are geared to tree fruit and wine grape production.
  • Featured keynote speakers bringing expertise from the Washington state tree fruit industry (Dr. Lee Kalcsits) and the California wine industry (Dr. Ann Thrupp) into BC conversations on agricultural adaptation research and strategies
  • A banquet dinner following the keynote presentations to provide more time for networking & getting to know all of the great people interested in agricultural adaptation
  • A full day focused on collaboration between researchers and research partners to provide time to advance collaborative research and discuss solutions to challenges like data sharing and extension strategies

To register for this workshop, or learn more click here.


(October 27) Low Carbon Resilience Interventions: Case Studies at the Building, Neighbourhood and Community Levels

ACT LCR InterventionsOctober 27 marks the release of ACT’s latest report: Low Carbon Resilience Interventions: Case Studies at the Building, Neighbourhood, and Community Levels. A compilation of comprehensive LCR interventions and associated case studies, this report gives readers a robust understanding of practical LCR application in communities. 

While mitigation and adaptation have often been planned separately, there are major benefits to integrating them, using a lens referred to as low carbon resilience, or LCR. ACT’s Integrated Climate Action for BC Communities Initiative (ICABCCI) is exploring LCR in BC communities, but in order for local governments and professional practitioners to advance and apply LCR, they require examples that illustrate its use in practice while considering barriers and opportunities that may influence uptake of these approaches. This set of case studies, provides examples of LCR interventions that have been applied in Canadian and international communities at the building, neighbour- hood and community levels, with details of the benefits for adaptation and mitigation, as well as co-benefits, funding and financing mechanisms, and key considerations on implementation.

To read the full report, click here.

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