Climate Change and Water Newsletter August 2021

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COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP

In the August edition of the Climate Change & Water Newsletter, we celebrate two inspiring First Nations-led stories of climate action by the Simpcw First Nations and Fort Nelson First Nations.

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In 2017, Simpcw councilor and fire chief, Ron Lampreau, and Chu Chua Deputy Chief, Melanie Stutt witnessed the severity of the burning wildfires in the province, and recognized the important role of local Indigenous knowledge in emergency response as“[members of the Nation] know where those logging roads are, they know where those water sources are, they know which way the winds blow during the day”, says Melanie Stutt. From this came an idea of an Indigenous initial attack wildfire crew with leaders from the Simpcw First Nation, who can approach the threats of wildfires using local expertise.

In August, the idea came into life. In partnership with the BC Wildfire Service, the Thompson River Valley-based Simpcw First Nation has established an Indigenous Initial Attack wildfire crew. The initial attack crew have up to five rotating members who are all fully equipped and trained firefighters from the Simpcw First Nation, and they will be dispatched by the Kamloops Fire Centre to any new fires within 120 km of Simpcw lands.

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The Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN) is developing BC’s very first geothermal electricity facility, one that will be fully owned by FNFN. The project has received $40.5 million in support from the federal government. It will be deepening the existing wells of the depleted Clarke Lake gas field to access the hot water below, which will in-turn provide geothermal energy for community activities and supply power for up to 14,000 homes. Later this year, the Nation will be holding ceremonies to bless their new geothermal wells. This is an exciting project which alongside the Kitselas Geothermal project, led by Kitselas First Nation, will become the first First Nation’ projects to take advantage of the BC geothermal potential. Community-led clean energy projects could provide current generations and generations to come with equitable and sustainable economic opportunities.

THE FEDERAL ELECTION.

The federal election is soon approaching, taking place this September 20th. This is a pivotal moment to make smart choices in electing a government that is capable of responding to the climate urgency. The recent climate report by the IPCC, Climate Change 2021: a Physical Science Basis, asserts that human-caused climate change is irreversible and that today’s choices will have long-lasting consequences. There is an urgent need to reduce GHG emissions to change the influence of climate change, address climate injustices, systemic gaps and inequalities, and determining the course of what the future will hold for current and future generations. Casting a ballot holds power in determining who will represent, recognize, and pursue action in the urgency of reaching an equitable, net-zero, and green society. Here are resources to help inform you in the upcoming federal election:

→ Join The climate change election: Five issues we should be talking about before voting day on September 7th 2021 at 3:00 P.M. PDT, to share a conversation with Globe and Mail through Zoom about fundamental climate change issues to consider in the federal election.

→ Learn more about the main federal parties' proposed actions and initiatives for climate change action through these two articles: Climate crisis remains wedge issue on campaign trail and Election 2021: How the four main federal parties plan to fight climate change.

→ Learn more about climate policies through What Makes a Strong Climate Plan? by Environmental Defence Canada.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Indigenous Information Sessions on the "Indigenous Knowledge Policy Framework for Project Reviews and Regulatory Decisions" Draft

Hosted by the federal government, all Indigenous members are invited to join one of the upcoming information sessions to discuss the Indigenous Knowledge Policy Framework for Project Reviews and Regulatory Decisions draft. This draft Framework will guide the implementation of Indigenous knowledge provisions in the Impact Assessment Act, Canadian Navigable Waters Act, Canadian Energy Regulator Act, and the Fisheries Act. More information can be found here.

→ Register for Session 3 on September 8th, 2021 here

Climate Reality Leadership Corps Global Training 2021

The Climate Reality Leadership Corps are inviting all individuals wanting to make a difference as climate change and climate injustices grow across the globe. This free online training is led by the former US Vice President, Al Gore, in collaboration with scientists, activists, and innovators. Participants will learn more about the science of climate change, how rising temperatures fuel rising injustices, and how communities around the world are implementing solutions that work. The training includes on-demand video sessions, interactive zoom meetings, and four required two-hour broadcast sessions which will all take place in October 2021.

Find more information about this training program and register here

OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION

BCAFN Climate Data Webinar and Training Sessions

The BCAFN's hosted its third Climate Action Webinar on August 4th, 2021 on Finding and Using Climate Data for Climate Action with speakers from the Prairie Climate Centre (PCC), the Canadian Centre for Climate Services (CCCS), and the Kanaka Bar Indian Band. You can find the presentations, webinar recording, Q&A summary, and additional resources here. Following this webinar and with the collaboration of the PCC and the CCCS, we will be hosting free training sessions in the Fall on how to use two climate platforms, the ClimateData.ca and the Climate Atlas of Canada. We invite you to please fill out this Expression of Interest Form to inform the course of our training sessions.

Indigenous Feedback for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan (Declaration Act) (Deadline: September 15th, 2021)

Under the Declaration Act,  the Province will implement an action plan to align with the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Indigenous people in BC are invited to share their feedback on the draft action plan developed by the Government of BC with Indigenous partners by September 15th, 2021. Learn more about the draft plan here.

→ Learn about the different ways to provide your feedback here

26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) Call for Inputs on Use of Indigenous Knowledge (Deadline: September 30th, 2021)

This November, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties will be taking place where global leaders will come together to address climate change. At COP26, the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP) will convene the first annual gathering of Indigenous knowledge holders. Indigenous contributors are invited to share examples of how local Indigenous knowledge systems have been used to address and respond to climate change. The deadline for inputs is September 30th, 2021.

Inputs should not exceed 200 words and can be submitted to the lcipp@unfcc.int.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

Real Estate Foundation of BC General Grants (Deadline: September 8th, 2021)

REFBC’s General Grant supports the advancement of sustainable practices in five interest areas: land use, built environments, fresh water, food lands, and real estate profession. Eligible applicants must be a registered non-profit organization or community contribution company, and successful applicants can receive support for applied research, public and professional education, and policy analysis and law reform. Learn more about the grant, eligibility criteria, and application process here.

For more information, contact grants@refbc.com

First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (Deadline: September 30th, 2021)

This fund provides Capacity and Equity Funding to support First Nations bands and governing bodies in BC seeking to increase community participation in the clean energy sector within their traditional territories. The fund will also provide agreements between the BC Government and successful applicants, including revenue sharing agreements.  Capacity Funding will assist clean energy project feasibility studies, community energy planning, and engagement with proponents, whereas Equity Funding will support a financially viable and resources clean energy project with an Energy Purchase Agreement.  Learn more about the fund, revenue sharing, eligibility and application steps using this guide.

 For more information, contact sarah.barnes@gov.bc.ca

Indigenous Climate Health Action Program (Deadline: October 12th, 2021)

The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) Indigenous Climate Health Action Program (ICHAP) supports First Nations leadership in reducing climate change impacts on health. The ICHAP provides funding for climate action projects centered on community health and wellness outcomes. Projects can focus on climate health in general, or on developing a strategy or action plan to reduce climate change impacts on community health. Learn more about the program, eligibility criteria, and application process here.

For more information, contact climate.health@fnha.ca

First Nations Health Authority: Our Community Our Water (Deadline: Open until filled)

The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) Drinking Water Safety Program is inviting First Nations in BC to submit a proposal to the Our Community, Our Water Grant to help support community water awareness day events or activities planned to be held before March 31st, 2022. The objective of the grant is to support awareness and preservation of First Nations’ community drinking water sources. The FNHA will provide grant recipients between $500 and $5,000 maximum. Learn more about the fund, eligibility criteria, and application process here

For more information, contact environmental.health@fnha.ca

BC Indigenous Agriculture Development Program (Deadline: Open until filled)

This program provides two streams of funding to support Indigenous success in the food and agriculture sector. Stream 1 is for Indigenous governments, communities and organizations. Stream 2 is for Indigenous entrepreneurs. Learn more about the program details, eligibility, and application step using this guide for Stream 1 or this guide for Stream 2.

 For more information, contact agribusiness@gov.bc.ca

Indigenous Climate Action Youth Wellness Honorarium (Deadline: Open until filled)

The Indigenous Climate Action is providing $250 financial awards through the Youth Wellness Honorarium, intended for Indigenous youth ages 18-29 that have been engaging in frontline climate activism and/or climate justice organizing. The honorarium is to help the recipient access needs on their wellness journeys such as counselling and traditional medicines. Applications are open until all 20 awards have been distributed and received. Find out more about the honorarium, eligibility criteria, and application process here.

For more information, please contact shaylynn@indigenousclimateaction.com

Youth-for-Youth Climate Action Fund (Yet to open)

The Foundation for Environmental Stewardship (FES) has raised $1.15 million so far to be re-granted to key sustainability and climate focused youth-led organizers taking action throughout Canada through the Youth-for-Youth Climate Action Fund. This new program was developed to act as a registered charity while also empowering the youth-led climate movement with core-capacity financial support, capacity-building opportunities and convene spaces for intergenerational collaboration. The program is intended to start accepting applications in September.

Learn more about the fund and when it will open here

RESOURCES

IPCC Working Group I Sixth Assessment Report

On August 9th, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, their sixth assessment report providing a high-level summary of updated understandings on climate change. The report emphasizes on the urgent need to reduce global GHG emissions, address cumulative emissions, and reach global net-zero.

University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre Report titled “Water for the Future: Why BC Needs an Immediate Moratorium on New Water Bottling Licenses”

As BC continues to face additional threats to water quality and quantity with over 5000 water sources have been identified of immediate risk of water shortage or restrictions and as First Nations communities still face unsafe drinking water conditions, the Environmental Law Centre calls on BC to place a moratorium on all pending and future water licenses until watershed-based governance is properly implemented and First Nations free, prior and informed consent is achieved.

Working for Watersheds: Opportunities for Growth in BC’s Water Sector- POLIS

The Delphi Group was commissioned by the BC Water Funders Collaborative, the BC Freshwater Legacy Initiative, and the POLIS Water Sustainability Project to develop an understanding and profile of the current economic and employment contribution of BC’s watershed sector and its potential for growth. The  report argues that the provincial government has a unique opportunity to leverage existing investments and accelerate momentum, put British Columbians to work in meaningful watershed careers, support Indigenous employment, and position itself as a global leader in securing healthy watersheds.

NEWS

The BC Oil and Gas Commission Suspends all Approved Oil and Gas-related Water Diversions in Several Vulnerable Water Sources in Nicola and Thompson Areas Due to Drought

On August 12, an order was carried by the BC Oil and Gas Commission instructing the oil and gas industry to immediately suspend all previously approved water diversions due to provincial drought conditions. This includes rivers, streams and lakes in the Nicola Basin and North and South Thompson Basins. The order was made due to the impacts of low streamflow conditions on fish, aquatic resources, and community supply, and as water levels are to continue dropping unless a significant rainfall event occurs.

Indigenous-led Conservation supported with $340 million from The Government of Canada

On August 12, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced support for Indigenous leadership in nature conservation with an investment of up to $340 million in funding, in part of Canada’s Budget 2021 investment of $2.3 billion over five years dedicated to nature conservation. Up to $173 million will be provided to new and existing Indigenous Guardian initiatives and the development of Guardian Networks for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. In addition, over $166 million will support Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs).

First Nations under Drinking Water Advisories and the Government of Canada reach a $8 billion settlement

First Nations living under water advisories that have endured the lack of clean and safe drinking water advisories in their very own communities have filed a national class-action lawsuit against the federal government. In July, the Nations reached a proposed settlement agreement of $8 billion with the government of Canada. The settlement includes $1.5 in compensation for First Nations lacking access to clean drinking water, the development of a $400 million First Nation economic and cultural restoration fund, and $6 billion to support communities’ sustained access to clean water. The settlement is still awaiting approval from the Court.

 

For climate change-related submissions:

Please contact Patricia Rojas, BCAFN Regional Climate Coordinator at  patricia.rojas@bcafn.ca

For water-related submissions:

Please contact Sophia Iliopulos, BCAFN Regional Water Coordinator at sophia.iliopulos@bcafn.ca

 

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