Climate Change and Water Newsletter October 2021



First Nations stories of community leadership

The Story of the Kanaka Bar Indian Band

Chief Patrick Michell. Retrieved from Bullfrog Power Facebook.

We celebrate Chief Patrick Michell of the Kanaka Bar Indian Band, who has recently been awarded the 2022 Clean 50 Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his life’s work in leading grass roots climate change action. His passion, leadership and advocacy have influenced provincial and federal scales, inspiring climate action beyond the community of Kanaka Bar.

Also known as “The Crossing Place” people (T’eqt’aqtn’mux), the Kanaka Bar Indian Band have been leading momentous climate change, sustainability, and self-sufficiency work since 2015. They have created a Community Resiliency Plan which was also selected as one of the 24 sustainability projects recognized with a 2022 Clean50 Top Project Award

Kanaka Bar Community Resiliency Centre. Retrieved from the Kanaka Bar Band Website.

As planned in the Community Resiliency Plan, Kanaka Bar Indian Band initiated innovative projects, such as the solar PV projects that produce 40 kW of grid tied power for the community. This October, they completed their new community resiliency centre: a space providing community members with clean air, fresh water, access to food, comfortable temperatures, Wi-Fi, and cell service. The centre also has battery storage that can run a minimum of 36 hours, in the event that the hydro grid goes down. Currently, the community is developing 24 new rental homes for Kanaka Bar Indian Band members and other people in the region, in partnership with the province and the Crossing Place Housing Society.

As a rural community based near the village of Lytton, BC, the community of Kanaka Bar were among the 1,200 people displaced within minutes, as the Lytton wildfire consumed the village. Less than a week after the events, Chief Patrick Michell gathered a team and together, they planned short and medium-term housing needs, temporary businesses, and essential services for the Kanaka community.

New Beginnings for the Upper Nicola Band

Chief Harvey McLeod. Retrieved from the Upper Nicola Band Website.

“Upper Nicola is excited to partner on this innovative development and we are honoured to play a role in implementing new technology to lower emissions and tackle climate change.” - Chief Harvey McLeod of the Upper Nicola band


The Upper Nicola Band together with Huron Clean Energy, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, and Carbon Engineering will also be leading momentous climate change work. They will design and develop a first-of-its kind, clean fuel plant using carbon-capture technology. The plant will capture atmospheric carbon dioxide and combine the captured carbon with hydrogen to create renewable fuels including gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. These fuels produce 90% less emissions compared to conventional hydrocarbons, and can fully sustain existing airplanes, ships, trucks, and cars that largely contribute to transportation emissions, but are challenging to electrify. Designed to generate up to 100 million litres of low-carbon fuel each year, the facility will begin construction in 2023, with operations to commence by 2026.

With $2 million in funding support from the B.C. Government’s Innovative Clean Energy Fund, this project stands as Canada’s largest green hydrogen project to date. Upper Nicola Band has an equity partnership and land-lease arrangement with B.C. Huron, and will receive a substantial part of the equity interest in the project.



Events for First Nations participation and engagement

I. Source Water Protection Webinar Series

Event Date(s): October 20th to December 15th, 2021 (11 AM to 12 PM PT)
Hosted by the Okanagan Basin Board, this nine-part webinar series is centered around the new Source Water Protection Toolkit designed to simplify source protection planning and inspire a more holistic and collaborative approach to drinking water management. 

Webinar 1: Source water protection steps & tools (October 20th)

Webinar 2: Partnering to transcend jurisdiction (October 27th)

Webinar 3: Learning from Indigenous-led projects (November 3rd)

Webinar 4: Increasing awareness & stewardship (November 10th) 

Webinar 5: Advancing policies, plans & regulations (November 17th)

Webinar 6: Securing long-term funding (November 24th)

Webinar 7: Protecting watersheds & aquifers (December 1st)

Webinar 8: Mapping risks to drinking water (December 8th)

Webinar 9: Monitoring & reporting (December 15th

II. AFN Water Summit

Event Date(s): October 27th, 2021 (8 AM to 12 PM PT)

Join the Assembly of First Nations for a national dialogue on urgent and emerging water issues facing First Nations in Canada. 

III. Investigating Crop Suitability for Changing Climate Conditions

Event Date(s): November 2, 2021 (10 AM to 11 AM PT)

Join this session, as a part of the Climate & Agriculture Initiative webinar series, discussing major ways climate change is impacting BC farmers and ranchers, and sharing resources and research enabling adaptation. The webinar will explore tools developed to support crop selection decisions, including phenological models for BC wine grape varieties and resources for on-farm research.

IV. Agricultural Water Management in a Changing Climate

Event Date(s): November 9, 2021 (10 AM to 11 AM PT)

Join this session, as part of the Climate & Agriculture Initiative webinar series, discussing ways climate change is impacting BC farmers and ranchers, and sharing resources and research enabling adaptation. This session will highlight projects that have been underway in very different parts of the provinces (Delta and the Kootenays) to implement proactive strategies for increasing agricultural water resilience.



Opportunities for First Nations in climate and environmental action

I. 2021 Indigenous Mapping Workshop: Turtle Island

Event Date(s): November 1 to November 5, 2021

Hosted by the Indigenous Climate Hub, the Indigenous Mapping Collective is free for all Indigenous peoples, Nations, organizations, and settlers working for Indigenous Nations and organizations. The program is dedicated to developing and advancing culturally appropriate and inclusive geospatial technologies, where participants in this 5-day workshop will learn more about how to utilize geospatial technologies to share Indigenous stories. Register here.

II. FNESS Wildfire Mitigation and Suppression Training 

Submission Date: November 5, 2021

The First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of British Columbia (FNESS) is seeking an expression of interest from all First Nation communities to engage with FNESS to determine your wildlife mitigation and suppression training needs. 

For more information or assistance, please email:



Climate change and water-related funding for First Nations

I. First Nations Federal Funding Placemat

Prepared by Environment and Climate Change Canada, this placemat presents new and open funding opportunities for First Nations in (i) food security, (ii) infrastructure & energy, (iii) climate change adaptation & conservation, (iv) economic development.

II. Indigenous Priorities Granting Program

Submission Date: Grant applications open between November 15 to November 29, 2021

The Vancouver Foundation is committing $750,000 to the Indigenous Priorities Granting Program to provide flexible, one-time grants to Indigenous communities and Indigenous-led organizations in the lands now known as BC. Grants are available up to $50,000.

For more information, please email:

III. First Nations Adapt Program

Submission Date: Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until all available funding is allocated.

This program supports community projects that build the capacity of First Nations south of the 60th parallel to address climate change impacts. First Nations, band or tribal councils, and Indigenous organizations are encouraged to apply.

For more information and/or to submit your proposal, please email:



Resources supporting and informing First Nations climate leadership

I. Joint Committee on Climate Action Annual Report

Since 2017, the Joint Committee on Climate Action seeks to advance the inclusion of First Nations in federal climate policy and programming. This annual report documents the JCCA’s third operating year and their stories, strategies, and challenges along the way.

II. Climate Atlas Canada: Mental Health and Climate Change

Climate Atlas Canada has a new Mental Health and Climate Change platform, providing new content that explores mental health impacts, lived experiences, and coping strategies in connection to climate change.

III. Climate Trace

Climate Trace is a global coalition that harnesses satellite imagery and other forms of remote sensing, artificial intelligence, and collective data science expertise to track human-caused GHG emissions as they happen.

IV. What are Indigenous knowledge systems — and how can they help fight climate change?

This article explores Indigenous ways of knowing and how Indigenous communities are merging them with Western science to address the climate crisis. 



Current climate change and water-related news

I. B.C. releases the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030

The Province of BC has released on October 25 the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, BC’s response to the challenge of reducing GHG emissions to meet the provincial climate targets (40% emissions reductions by 2030). BC expects that the actions under eight pathways outlined on the Roadmap will be the solution to the shortcomings of the CleanBC plan. 

II.  The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties

From October 31 to November 12, 2021, national leaders will gather in Glasgow, UK for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties. Together, parties will establish how they will accelerate towards the goals of the Paris Agreement,  especially in light of the recent IPCC Sixth Assessment Report that confirms projected increases in global temperature and calamities.

III. UN declares that a clean and healthy environment is a universal right

The United Nations body has passed a resolution acknowledging that access to a healthy and sustainable environment is a universal right.

IV. A call from First Nations to update the CleanBC Plan

The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) has addressed a letter to the Premier of British Columbia and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change acknowledging the need for the CleanBC plan to reflect the climate crisis and the input of First Nations.

V. Decades-long plan to protect caribou in Nunavut nearing completion

To address the declining caribou populations in Northern Canada since the 1990’s, the Nunavut Planning Commission has been developing the Nunavut Land Use Plan (NLUP) since 2007. The NLUP merges traditional Inuit knowledge and scientific knowledge. With the NLUP now in the consultation phase, its final draft is expected in 2022.


Are you interested in making a submission for our BCAFN Climate Change & Water Newsletter?

For climate change-related submissions:

Please contact Patricia Rojas, BCAFN Regional Climate Coordinator at

For water-related submissions:

Please contact Sophia Iliopulos, BCAFN Regional Water Coordinator at


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