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Site C dam: The wrong choice for BC’s energy future

Imagine you had to make a choice between two options and your decision would impact the entire province’s future for the next one hundred years.

BC could miss out on the solar energy revolution by pursuing Site C.

In the first scenario, major investments have been made in developing low-impact solar, geothermal and wind power technologies in communities across BC. Thousands of people are employed in every region with long term jobs in the renewable energy industry that are located close to where they live. The province is known as a leader worldwide for innovation in these technologies and the positive spinoffs of these booming industries are visible in many corners of the economy.

Efficiency of power use is maximized because electricity is generated in close proximity to the people using it. Investments have been made in building efficiency upgrades. It is the job of BC Hydro to engage the public with energy conservation programs and pursue the cheapest sources of renewable power.

Because of this, people are able to access the electricity they need at an affordable price.

In the second scenario, the government has placed all its eggs in the basket of one enormous energy project. To pay for the project, electricity users have been forced to face alarming rate hikes every year. Many people on low incomes have been evicted or had their electricity turned off because they could not pay their hydro bills. Demand for power in BC has remained flat and so BC Hydro has been forced to sell this expensive surplus power at a huge loss. Massive project cost overruns to the tune of billions are close to forcing the government to bail out the debt-stricken BC Hydro, passing an enormous financial burden onto taxpayers.

By locking the province into this one costly project, the government and BC Hydro have no money left to support innovation in solar, wind or geothermal energy. Private investment in these industries has therefore left the province. Rural communities across the province are reliant on outside sources for their energy and have few economic development opportunities in this regard. Energy jobs continue to require people to travel long distances for work and continue to follow a boom and bust cycle.

The burden of paying for this expensive project and its expensive power make life increasingly unaffordable for British Columbians.

These possibilities are what’s at stake in the BC government’s decision on the Site C dam.

British Columbians cannot afford the cost of choosing Scenario #2.

BC is at a crossroads. Right now, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) is finally reviewing the cost of Site C. In our submission to the BCUC, we said Site C should be cancelled because this cost is far too onerous.  Now is our opportunity to pursue a different path.

Not only will British Columbians be hurt by this huge financial burden and the opportunity cost of losing out on renewable energy opportunities, the social and environmental costs are devastating. The loss of prime farmland in a time of rising food insecurity, critical wildlife corridors and BC’s relationship with Indigenous peoples are also at stake.

The Site C mega-dam represents planning at its worst. Let’s take this opportunity to cut our losses and make a better plan to enter the 21st century post-carbon economy.

Please join us in calling on BC’s Cabinet ministers to make the right decision and cancel Site C.

Because we will all have to live with the impacts of this decision for generations to come.

Sierra Club BC applauds Province’s Kinder Morgan announcement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

August 10, 2017

Sierra Club BC released the following statement from communications director Tim Pearson in response to today’s Kinder Morgan announcement by the Province:

“Sierra Club BC welcomes and applauds today’s announcement.

“The provincial government was elected on a promise to use every tool available to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline and the threat of a seven-fold increase in bitumen tankers on our coast.

“Today’s announcement is a serious and considered first step to fulfilling that promise.

“Engaging external counsel with the stature of Thomas Berger sends a clear signal that the Province will leave no legal stone unturned. There are complicated legal issues involved and no one is better qualified to provide advice to the Province.

“Berger’s legal career—including the 1973 Calder decision, the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry in the mid-1970s and his influence in enshrining Indigenous rights in Canada’s constitution—is central to the evolution of Indigenous title and rights in Canada.

“Sierra Club BC is optimistic that the Province will be successful in gaining intervenor status in the various active court cases, based upon Berger’s advice.

“Sierra Club BC will continue its work through the Pull Together campaign to raise funds for First Nations court cases. So far, more than $1 million has been raised for both the successful Enbridge cases and those against Kinder Morgan.

“The combination of well-funded First Nations and an intervening provincial government will be a potent one in the courts.

“Today’s announcement also puts Kinder Morgan on notice that it has failed to meet the requirements for consultation with First Nations set out in the conditions of its environmental certificate, issued by the previous government.

“Kinder Morgan cannot commence construction in September without breaking the law, unless all conditions are met.

“We have a new government in part because voters on the pipeline route said no to Kinder Morgan and no to any government that would approve the pipeline.

“A clear majority of British Columbians voted for parties opposed to the pipeline and a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic.

“Sierra Club BC is encouraged that today’s announcement outlined first steps for the provincial government. We look forward to the Province expanding on those steps and signalling its continued commitment to stopping the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tankers project.”

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Contact:

Tim Pearson

Communications Director

Sierra Club BC

250-896-1556

tim@sierraclub.bc.ca

It doesn’t have to be a carbon offset

Take climate action by supporting Sierra Club BC’s campaign to protect Vancouver Island’s carbon-rich old-growth rainforest! 

Travel—especially by air—burns a lot of carbon dioxide. Have you considered buying carbon credits to offset some of your emissions?

Carbon offsets run the gamut from good to bad. Credible offsets can contribute to climate solutions – if they are combined with concrete steps to reduce emissions. Unfortunately there are many examples of dubious projects, making it important to verify whether standards are met.

As an alternative to buying carbon offsets, consider supporting Sierra Club BC’s work toward lasting protection of Vancouver Island’s carbon-rich endangered old-growth rainforest.

Wood waste from a clear cut. Photo by TJ Watt.

BC’s old-growth rainforests store up to 1,000 tonnes of carbon per hectare, one of the highest rates on earth. They’re like a carbon bank, accumulating carbon in soil, trees and organic matter over millennia. Reducing emissions by avoiding logging of this old-growth has immediate benefits for the climate.

Sadly, about half of the carbon stored in these ecosystems gets released in clearcut logging. This is often combined with slash burning, an egregious practice that releases millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases annually and must be phased out.

It can take centuries until the biomass reaches previous levels—time we don’t have.

 

While improving forest management will help in the fight against climate change, the most urgent step is to simply leave carbon-rich and resilient forests alive and standing.

This is why Sierra Club BC is working so hard to protect ancient forests.

By becoming a member of Sierra Club BC, you can help protect British Columbia’s forests and our climate.

Vancouver Island: The last stand for carbon-rich old-growth

In BC, Vancouver Island is Ground Zero for logging of endangered old-growth rainforest. A recent Sierra Club BC analysis showed that destruction of the Island’s original old-growth rainforest is occurring three times faster than primary forest loss in tropical rainforests.

Clear cut logging in East Creek, Vancouver Island. Photo by TJ Watt.

Globally, the loss of primary forests – characterized by ecological processes largely undisturbed by human activity – is threatening species, carbon storage and environmental services. In some countries this is primarily in the form of deforestation; in other countries such as Canada, this is primarily through the replacement of rich ancient forests with even-aged young forest.

Sierra Club BC’s data shows that between 1990 and 2015, Vancouver Island’s primary old-growth forest has declined by thirty per cent.[1] (Three times higher than the ten percent decline for primary forests of tropical countries over the same time period.[2]) Only about ten percent of the biggest trees remain standing. In the last few years the annual old-growth logging rate was 9,000 hectares per year or twenty-five hectares a day.

We have estimated the impact of one year’s worth of old-growth logging on Vancouver Island on our climate. We found old-growth logging on the Island alone essentially eliminated BC’s progress in reducing carbon emissions in the same year, releasing approximately 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and nullifying the province’s progress in reducing annual emissions by the same amount.

Solutions are possible when we work together

The 2016 Great Bear Rainforest Agreements show that solutions are possible. The agreements met science-based conservation levels, strengthened First Nations rights, enabled conservation financing and forest carbon credit projects, and gave forestry companies certainty for logging under stringent standards. The Great Bear Rainforest carbon project documentation showed that the reduced rate of logging is resulting in 600,000 tonnes of carbon emissions reductions annually, benefiting the region’s First Nations with revenue from carbon.

The Great Bear Rainforest lies within a particularly rich region of the province – and North America – for carbon retention. Map source: BC Ministry of Environment.

New protected areas and conservation measures for Vancouver Island must respect First Nations rights and interests, enable a transition to sustainable second-growth forestry and support diverse economic activities such as tourism and reduce carbon emissions. The Ahousaht Nation in Clayoquot Sound is leading the way in demonstrating alternatives to old-growth logging, with their land use vision that includes an end to industrial logging in their territory.

Sierra Club BC mapping shows approximately 1.5 million hectares of remaining old-growth forest on Vancouver IsIand and the South Coast area that are currently unprotected. Within this area, there are 600,000 hectares of relatively productive stands, with significant carbon storagecapacity and a higher likelihood of getting targeted for logging. These forests alone store the equivalent of thirteen times BC’s annual emissions.

Sierra Club BC will work with the new BC government, First Nations and the forestry sector to increase protection of ecosystems with high carbon and species habitat value, in particular temperate rainforests, as a key element in its response to global warming. Old-growth rainforest is more resilient than younger forest, and BC’s ecosystems and species habitat are shifting rapidly in a changing climate. That’s why ecologists consider the remaining old-growth a “non-renewable” resource.

Join us today

We will only get there with your support. We cannot tell you exactly how many tonnes of carbon will remain stored in ancient trees as a result of our work, instead of getting chopped and partly burned in slash piles. But we can assure you that our role has been and will continue to be critical to ensure progress for new protected areas and our climate.

Please consider supporting Sierra Club BC’s work toward lasting protection of Vancouver Island’s carbon-rich endangered old-growth rainforest.

You can do this by becoming a member of Sierra Club BC. The best way to support our work is with a monthly contribution of $8, $15 or $25.

So, are you in?

 

Feature image by Andrew S. Wright.

Footnotes:

[1]  The original extent of old-growth rainforest on Vancouver Island was 2,600,000 hectares, of which anestimated 1,082,000 hectares were remaining by 1990. By 2015 the remaining old-growth was reduced to 748,000 hectares, adecline of 30 percent over the course of just 25 years.

[2]  According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, tropical countries showed an overall decline of 10 percent of their primary forest in the last 25 years (from 1990 to 2015).

The Future is Here for the New Government of British Columbia

Record-breaking wildfires and heat waves are a reminder that we have little time to save nature, phase out fossil fuels and leap to a low-carbon economy, all at the same time.

Abnormally high temperatures in BC, August 3 2017. Image courtesy of TropicalTidbits.com

British Columbia’s unprecedented wildfires are still not under control. August is beginning with a new heat wave and no reprieve from the climate crisis for the new BC government. This ongoing state of emergency is a reminder that our planet is changing rapidly – and that our governments have to act like they mean it, to save our world as we know it.

BC has a unique opportunity and must play a crucial role in the fight against global warming. The province is outstanding due to its large size, spectacular beauty, and vast natural resources which together confer wealth on a relatively small human population. Our use of this abundance, however, has been in many cases short-sighted and unfair.

A new vision is needed. It is justified by the recognition that critical change is now coming at an increasingly visible rate.  We have significantly overstepped the planet’s capacity to provide what we demand, absorb the pollution we produce and heal the wounds we have inflicted on its natural systems. In many parts of the world, lives and business-as-usual are already being disrupted by an increasingly unpredictable climate.

Fortunately, solutions exist that enable us to save our natural systems while offering a sustainable lifestyle. Wind and solar are now beating the price of fossil fuel energy in a growing number of countries. Grid and battery solutions are being developed at a mind-boggling pace.

Renewable energy systems, improved resource and energy efficiency, mass transit, materials recycling and new service models like the sharing economy are contributing more and cleaner jobs than resource extraction sectors. Our province, like so many other parts of the world, needs the leadership necessary to quickly phase in solutions and phase out destructive activities. History shows that ecosystem breakdown makes societal collapse more likely. Now is the time to make the changes we need to make while relatively stable conditions prevail.

A coherent response to the climate crisis requires far reaching steps to reduce climate pollution, moving to low carbon economy and saving nature at the same time without pretending we can take one step at a time. Stopping the pollution from our old economic system is crucial to maintain a healthy environment as a basis for the new economy. Increasing protection of ecosystems on land and in the sea to safeguard environmental services is also tied to maintaining the foundations for long-term prosperity.

BC’s new provincial government made far reaching policy commitments for people and the planet. Sierra Club BC has developed a vision called The Future is Here to support the needed policy changes.  To defend our communities and environment now and into the future, BC needs to show leadership in three key areas – climate action, nature conservation and a low carbon economy.

Climate action

BC must follow climate science, meet existing emissions reduction targets and set new ambitious targets to exceed the Paris Agreement. We must expand and increase the provincial carbon tax and declare the majority of our vast fossil fuel reserves off-limits to extraction, based on the newest carbon budget research. We have sufficient renewable energy sources and low carbon solutions to become carbon neutral before 2050.

Nature conservation

Our environment is healthy enough that we can set aside fifty percent of it in support of nature. We need an expanded network of protected areas with new and existing land use designations that address Aboriginal title and respect cultural values, and give priority to species and carbon sinks while allowing appropriate uses.  We can allow species the means to adapt to the changing climate while protecting clean water, air and soils for our children. BC’s globally rare temperate old-growth rainforests are a particularly spectacular example of resilient ecosystems with outstanding values for species, communities and climate that we can save if we act today.

Low carbon economy

By redirecting resources and political priorities, we can create new, better and safer jobs and build a low carbon economy that maintains our high quality of life with a greatly reduced resource footprint.  We can and must phase out oil and gas activities such as fracking and the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker proposal that destroy our environment and are increasingly uneconomic as international climate agreements are implemented.

Sierra Club BC’s The Future is Here vision includes ten recommendations outlining more detailed steps to address these three areas of action.

No government will be able to implement the scope of change required once the costs of environmental crisis and climate impacts become unmanageable.  As a wealthy industrialized country with a high carbon footprint we have the ability – and the responsibility – to pursue an alternative path. The new BC government has promised to start the change we need, so that we can avoid turmoil such as this year’s terrible wildfires in the future.

Check out The Future is Here and let the new BC government know you expect strong climate leadership.

Outdoor learning: Professional development for teachers

By James Davis, Education Program Manager

June 2017

Our wonderful Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore and I had the privilege of facilitating six environmental education professional development workshops for teachers during the month of May.  The workshops took place in Fort St. John, Victoria and Surrey and covered topics such as building a routine to take your class outside regularly, connections to the new BC curriculum and conducting a risk/benefit assessment for an outdoor learning space.

Enjoying the woods. Photo by Nikko Snow.

The highlight of the workshops for many teachers was the time they got to spend outside. We put teachers in the role of students and led them through nature scavenger hunts, games of food chain tag, and other nature connection activities including “Sit Spot,” which allowed participants to sit quietly and observe (something many teachers commented that they rarely have time to do).

I really enjoyed these opportunities to get out from behind my computer and meet teachers face-to-face.  I was able to hear about the challenges that they face in trying to take their students outside during class time. Many of them also shared inspiring stories about the ways that they are helping young learners get outdoors and develop relationships with their natural surroundings.

We got great feedback from the teachers, with a vast majority saying they felt better equipped and more confident to take their students outside than they did before the workshop.

Looking forward to the 2017/18 school year, we are hoping to offer more of these Pro-D workshops and to collaborate with local teachers’ unions to make these opportunities available. Our goal is the work with these unions to institutionalize environmental education training for teachers, with the vision of having they types of Pro-D workshops offered to every teacher in the province by 2020.

If you are interested in having us visit your school district to facilitate Pro-D workshops this coming school year, please get in touch with me at james@sierraclub.bc.ca.

In the meantime, enjoy your summer and don’t forget to get outside!

Want to help us do more? We rely on donations to keep our programs free, accessible, and inclusive year after year. Please donate today to ensure they can stay this way.

Feature image by Navarana Smith.

Connections in the Peace

As I stood on the shores of the Peace River in Northern BC this past spring, I was reminded of the incredible diversity of land and water we hold here in beautiful BC.

Our children and future generations deserve to experience all of this amazing biodiversity. They deserve to know where they live and develop a connection to the place they call home. If we plan to nourish that connection then we must plan to protect it for the future. Children need opportunities to learn how they are part of this place so they don’t feel like they are separate from the rest of life that surrounds them.

As Sierra Club BC’s Environmental Educator for the past 3 years, my job has been to facilitate an opportunity for children to connect with nature in their home place.

Kirsten with Peace Valley farmer Arlene Boon.

This year I have had the pleasure of traveling to Fort St John and visiting the Peace River Valley during the fall and springtime.  My favourite experience was standing beside the Peace River and taking in all the scenery, then speaking with students about how they connect with the Peace and the surrounding area in the community of Hudson’s Hope.

Students shared with me their concerns about flooding and what will happen over the next few years to their home if the Site C dam goes ahead. Students and teachers spoke of the changes they have seen already within their community due to forest fires, the pine beetle infestation and the building of hydro dams. This has all caused changes to the river and the natural landscape.

Life along the river is getting tougher for these folks. Each day brings more challenges for holding onto the farms and forests, and of course their homes along the river. Learn how you can get involved in our campaign to stop the Site C dam and protect the Peace River Valley.

As I spent more time in Hudson’s Hope I soon realized that these students have a close connection to this place. They told me stories about their favourite experiences in nature: fishing, hunting, camping and snowmobiling in the area. Some kids travel quite a long distance to school each day and many spend their time helping out on their families’ farms along the river.

Kids in the Peace River Valley. Photo by Don Hoffmann.

One Grade 5/6 class took me to see a local forest they love to visit. This is a place they said, where “you can always see lots of deer.” Indeed, we saw lots of deer making an appearance in the forest and foraging for food after a long winter. I took walks with students to the toboggan hill near their school each day and we used that space to explore the variety of plants and animals by doing a fun and interactive nature scavenger hunt. I believe one of their favourite activities was rolling down the hill after our closing circle.

One thing I have become very aware of, no matter where you are in BC, is that finding as many earthworms as you can after a rain is truly a favourite activity!

The Peace River Valley holds a dear place in my heart. I send them lots of positive thoughts as the future of the river, the wildlife and the people are at stake with decisions to be made about the Site C dam. Help kids in the Peace protect the places they love – tell Trudeau to halt construction on the Site C dam.

Sierra Club BC’s K-8 environmental education programs delivered in classrooms across the province are all developed to meet BC curriculum requirements and connect kids with nature in their own community. I encourage you to check out our upcoming programs and keep connected to receive updates regarding fall registrations. This has been a very rewarding year for the education team with the hire of our new program manager and the success of our Climate and Place pilot program delivered in the CRD. I look forward to connecting with all of you in the fall. Enjoy a wonderful and relaxing summer in the great outdoors.

Donate today to help us reach more children next year!

UNESCO calls urgently on Canada to protect Wood Buffalo National Park

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 6 2016

New draft decision calls on Canada to conduct a proper assessment of Site C dam and make good on earlier promises.

June 5, 2017, FORT MCMURRAY – The UN’s World Heritage Committee is preparing to push Canada for immediate action to better protect Wood Buffalo National Park following Friday’s release of a strong decision proposed for the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee this summer.

The draft decision calls on Canada to, by February 1 2018, have made progress towards fully implementing all 17 of the recommendations from the fall 2016 UNESCO mission to Wood Buffalo National Park. This includes finally conducting a proper assessment of the downstream impacts of the Site C dam and developing concrete mechanisms to improve water governance for the Peace Athabasca Delta. The draft decision also urges Canada to make good on its promise to develop a major Action Plan for ensuring the Wood Buffalo’s protection and to move more quickly to develop and implement that Action Plan. The absence of a timely action by Canada will result in Wood Buffalo National Park being relegated to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

“Once again the international community is calling on Canada to safeguard Wood Buffalo National Park against encroaching industrial pressures. It’s time for Canada to immediately implement UNESCO’s recommendations and start protecting the Peace Athabasca Delta,” said Mikisew Chief Steve Courtoreille.

“The UNESCO report was a wake up call for Canada. We intend to continue working with the World Heritage Committee to hold Minister McKenna to her commitment to take real action to protect this amazing area,” added Melody Lepine, Mikisew’s lead on its UNESCO petition.

Mikisew’s supporters also welcomed the draft decision.

“This decision lays out what Canada’s governments need to do to live up to their responsibilities under the UN World Heritage Convention to safeguard Wood Buffalo on behalf of the world community,” said Alison Woodley, National Director of CPAWS Parks Program. “It’s a clear message from the UN that the threats facing the park from upstream hydro-electric projects and oil sands development are unacceptable, and that Canada needs to take concerted and immediate action to save this global treasure, working in partnership with Indigenous peoples.”

“We are pleased that the World Heritage Committee is poised to strongly reaffirm its position that the Site C dam poses a threat to Wood Buffalo National Park and the Peace Athabasca Delta, and that impacts from Site C must be understood,” Says Galen Armstrong of Sierra Club BC.  “Sierra Club BC is calling on the Trudeau government to suspend its approval of Site C and order an immediate halt to construction, while Canada assesses the report’s recommendations and implements changes. In the long run Site C simply cannot be built.”

“Canada keeps saying that nothing can be done about Site C, but the World Heritage Commission isn’t buying that and neither are we,” says Candace Batycki of Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. “The incoming BC government has committed to send Site C for assessment by the BC Utilities Commission. Meanwhile Canada is being asked to make every effort to understand the possible impacts of the Site C project on Wood Buffalo. They don’t need a legal mechanism to do that, they just need the will.”

The World Heritage Committee will vote on the draft decision at its upcoming meeting in July 2017.

For more information, visit mikisewgir.com/projects/.

For interviews with Mikisew Cree First Nation representatives:

Melody Lepine, Mikisew Cree First Nation Industry and Government Relations, 780-792-8736, melody.lepine@mcfngir.ca

For interview with environmental group representatives:

Alison Woodley, BSc, MA, CPAWS, 613-203-1172, awoodley@cpaws.org

Caleb Behn, Keepers of the Water, caleb.behn@gmail.com

Galen Armstrong, Sierra Club BC, 778-679-3191, galen@sierraclub.bc.ca

Candace Batycki, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, 250-352-3830

Be bold: Stories from the women who inspire us

By Sue Elrington, Sierra Club BC

April 2017

(L-R) Songhees Elder Joan Morris, Rachel Vincent, Casey Camp-Horinek, Helen Knott, Caitlyn Vernon, and Sue Elrington.

We stand at a moment in time where we are witnessing clear threats to our environment and our social structures. It is a moment that demands action, whether that be action to defend our civil liberties, our rights to security, our rights as women, or simply the planet.

Women are at the forefront of resistance to these threats. Earlier this year, more than 4 million people took part in women’s marches around the world. Women are inspiring and being inspired.

Some of their stories have been captured in Rachel Vincent’s When We Are Bold: Women Who Turn Our Upsidedown World Right. To encourage new and longtime environmental activists, in March Sierra Club BC invited Rachel to anchor an evening of storytelling based on the book.

Helen Knott on protecting her ancestral lands from the Site C dam.

Joining Rachel Vincent were Casey Camp Horinek, a Ponca Elder in the midst of the Standing Rock battle, Helen Knott, a Treaty 8 poet and activist against the Site C megadam, and Sierra Club BC’s director of campaigns, Caitlyn Vernon.

Rachel opened the evening talking about why so many women become environmental activists. In her work around the world, she repeatedly she sees women forced into activism to protect their homes, their water, and their agricultural land from extractive industries. That was certainly the case with Berta Cercares, the Honduran activist whose resistance so threatened the powerful that they murdered her in 2016.  (Rachel read from a story by Berta’s daughter that is featured in When We Are Bold).

Helen Knott clearly feels she has no choice but to be an activist in the struggle to save her ancestral land and cultural home from the destruction of the Site C megadam. One of the hardest things about being an activist is persisting in the fight when you feel outgunned by the powerful who have no respect for the world you want so passionately to protect. Helen brought much of the audience to tears are she explored the emotions that can overwhelm us in “For The Mamas on Frontlines with their Fists Raised up High,” a poem written to speak to us as activists. (Read Helen’s poem here.)

Caitlyn Vernon, Rachel Vincent and Casey Camp-Horinek.

Caitlyn Vernon, Sierra Club BC’s director of campaigns, has never known a time when she wasn’t an activist. She felt Helen’s poem deeply, sharing her very personal experiences in her journey as a fierce advocate for the environment. In speaking of the condescension, ignorance, touching and groping from men who were supposed to be working with her, Caitlyn shone a light on the dual struggles of most female activists: the primary one—in her case, defending nature—and the second one, usually hidden from view, where women battle the very people we should be able to trust to have our backs in the big fight. But we persist. As an activist, you keep your eyes on the goal.

For Casey Camp-Horinek, this has meant taking on new roles. Casey is a Elder from the Ponca Nation who describes herself first as a matriarch of her clan. She followed her sons to join the encampment at Standing Rock where she was arrested for nine days. Casey spoke eloquently about moving beyond inertia by finding new ways to act for the planet. She wants municipal governments to give nature the same standing and and the same rights in law as humans have. She has become a Council member to push this dream into reality.

There was much talk throughout the evening regarding how, for so many women, their activist journeys started with conversations. Conversations around kitchen tables with neighbours that led to decisions to act. There is no act too small, no vision too big to take on. We just have to BE BOLD.

“If we all stand together, there’s a beautiful way forward.” Casey Camp-Horinek shares about her experiences at Standing Rock and the importance of alliances between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Special thanks to Kirk Schwartz, MediaNet and Pacific Peoples’ Partnership for producing these videos.

Casey Camp-Horinek on defending land and water

“If we all stand together, there’s a beautiful way forward.” Native rights activist, actor and Councillor of the Ponca Nation Casey Camp-Horinek on her experiences at Standing Rock and the importance of alliances between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to protect the land and water we all depend on.Special thanks to Kirk Schwartz, MediaNet and Pacific Peoples' Partnership for videography, production and technical support.

Posted by Sierra Club BC on Tuesday, May 2, 2017

“It’s crucial to start honouring those promises that were made.” Watch and share this powerful interview with Helen Knott to learn why stopping the Site C dam is critical for Canada’s relationship with First Nations:

Help Helen stop the destruction — tell Trudeau to honour his promises to First Nations and suspend approval of Site C:

 

Feature image by Kat Zimmer.

Farewell, and not goodbye: Bob Peart

By Executive Director Bob Peart

March 31, 2017

When I was hired by Sierra Club BC 3.5 years ago, I was excited to work with a key environmental group at such a critical time. Sierra Club BC was rightly seen as a leader in the movement – from our respectful approach to advocacy and our belief in science to our award winning environmental education programs and the vital role we play in the energy, forest and climate conversation. I was not disappointed. And we have delivered – from the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements and protecting big old trees to speaking out to keep tankers off the coast; and from putting the outrageous Site C dam proposal on the public radar to getting thousands of school-aged children back outside.

As many of you know, by the time you read this note I will no longer be Executive Director. My route to Sierra Club BC was through a 40-year role as an advocate for nature, combined with a deep passion for experiencing firsthand the smells and sounds of the wildlife and plants that surround us. Post-Sierra Club BC, my journey will continue.  I will remain involved in the conservation movement as long as I am able – putting my energy toward defending nature, moving off a carbon-based economy and reminding people that their health is directly linked to a healthy environment.

I am often asked: where do I get my optimism and why, given the degradation to the planet we see every day, do you keep working so hard to protect it? My answer is that I get my hope and optimism from people like you – our donors and supporters who believe in the good work we do. And like me, you refuse to give up and you continue to demand that the communities where we live are healthy, and provide a lifestyle that is truly sustainable and leaves no one behind.

I thank you for your confidence in Sierra Club BC, and please continue to support the good work we do through your donations.


Bob Peart

Volunteer spotlight: Derrick Leung

Hello, my name is Derrick. I am the volunteer of Sierra Club BC and an international student of University of Victoria.

I work as an office assistant in Sierra Club BC. My tasks include translating, researching, data entry and paper works. Peoples in Sierra Club BC are nice, and they have provided a comfortable working environment for volunteer to experience the job.

My English and interpersonal skills is improved during the volunteering. It is my first time to get into the English working environment, and it will be part of my foundation on future career for no doubt. As a non-profit organization, volunteering is very helpful to support our operation, and volunteer will also get benefits from it.

Therefore, please do not hesitate if you are interested to join us. Explore our website for more details and sign up for the new volunteer!!

 

Do you share our love of nature? Do you want to have fun and meet like-minded people? Why not volunteer?

 

Feature image by Andrew S. Wright