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Wading into the science on sea level rise – BC lags behind

18 May, 2017

If you’ve been following BC’s sea-level woes extra closely, you’ll know that planning for a sea-level increase of “1 metre by 2100” has become a kind of mantra for local governments and others responsible for planning and readying our communities. While a one metre increase in sea-level rise may seem substantial, we’re worried that the figure is out of date and ignores more recent science and the benefits of a precautionary, risk management approach.

 

Coastal cities like Vancouver are particularly vulnerable when it comes to sea level rise. (Photo: Scott Kirk)

2017: A Look Ahead to Protect Nature, Climate and Communities

5 January, 2017

Check out our short video to meet some of our talented lawyers and see what we're most excited about for 2017!

From providing legal aid for communities to defend their environment, to revitalizing Indigenous laws, and holding fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in climate change – this year the West Coast team will continue working toward a better future for people and the environment in Canada.

Check out our short video to meet some of our talented lawyers and program staff, and see what we're most excited about in our work for 2017.

Caring for the Salish Sea

19 December, 2016

At West Coast we’re buckling down to protect the Salish Sea, the global atmosphere, and future generations – a journey that will take us through 2017 and likely well beyond.  My colleague Eugene Kung has described the new phase of efforts to stop the Kinder Morgan expansion. At the same time, we are also looking at opportunities to achieve better coastal management, generally. Even without Kinder Morgan there are gaps to fill.

Environmental oversight is needed to preserve the coastline of the Salish Sea from industrial, shipping and other human impacts. Photo: Deborah Carlson.

Lawn care company explains why poor environmental enforcement creates an uneven playing field

11 May, 2016

Poor enforcement of environmental laws doesn’t just hurt our environment, and communities that depend on that environment. It also hurts law-abiding businesses – businesses that find themselves having to compete against counterparts who flout the law. 

Poor enforcement of environmental laws doesn’t just hurt our environment, and communities that depend on that environment. It also hurts law-abiding businesses – businesses that find themselves having to compete against counterparts who flout the law.

This is Canada’s weather on climate change, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. Any questions?

3 March, 2016

It’s amazing how invisible climate change can be – how we feel immune from the consequences of what seems like a vague, global challenge.  We think that climate change only occurs in far off climate-vulnerable nations. Which is why some may be surprised that Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer predicts that extreme weather events will cost Canadians $4.9 billion each year between now and 2020, much of that due to climate change.

It’s amazing how invisible climate change can be – how we feel immune from the consequences of what seems like a vague, global challenge.  We think that climate change only occurs in far off climate-vulnerable nations. Which is why some may be surprised that Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer predicts that extreme weather events will cost Canadians $4.92 billion each year between now and 2020, much of that due to climate change.

West Coast demands reinstatement of illegally fired ALC Chair – and we encourage you to do so, as well

15 June, 2015

On May 14, 2015, nearly seven months before the designated end of his term, the BC Cabinet terminated Richard Bullock from his position as Chair of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) without warning.  Last week, West Coast wrote to the provincial government suggesting that Mr. Bullock’s termination was illegal and asking for his reinstatement. The letter raises crucial questions about the tribunal’s necessary independence from the BC government.  Use our handy web-form to send your own message to the BC Government asking for Mr. Bullock’s re-instatement.

Politics should not be permitted to trump the integrity of our food security.

All (green) hands needed on deck - getting ready for sea level rise

15 May, 2015

Some call sea-level rise a "slow-moving emergency", with a 1m rise predicted by 2100 and an estimated $9.5bn price tag to prepare BC for that rise. What kinds of diverse solutions should we be exploring to help us prepare, and why are there legal barriers to implementing some of the best options?

Three years ago the Province released a report estimating it would cost $9.5 billion to prepare the Lower Mainland for rising sea levels by 2100. The report focused on “hard” solutions: dikes, sea gates, flood walls.

Tsleil-Waututh Nation: “Yes” to solar; “No” to Kinder Morgan

21 January, 2015

I was honoured to attend the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s (TWN) launch and celebration of its new solar tracker. With the installation of TWN’s solar tracker, TWN signaled that the green energy future is now. Far more than just opposing a pipeline that threatens their culture and spirituality while facilitating the expansion of the tar sands leading to runaway climate change, TWN is demonstrating leadership by investing in alternatives and looking to the future.

Carleen Thomas with parents & grand daughters
Solar is Intergenerational: TWN Sacred Trust member Carleen Thomas with her parents Ernest and Dee George and granddaughters Lily, Miya and Jasmine.

“We have installed this solar tracker outside of our daycare centre to remind

West Coast and NWI Launch North Coast Community Dialogue Session Series on LNG and Cumulative Impacts Management

18 December, 2014

On December 11, West Coast Environmental Law, along with the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research (NWI), co-hosted the first of a series of community dialogue sessions on LNG and cumulative impacts management.  We held the opening session in Prince Rupert last week and were moved by the depth of knowledge, thoughtfulness and concern that participants brought to the session.  The objective of the event was to bring together First Nations, concerned citizens, business owners, health workers, local governments and non-profit organizations to begin to talk about the overall picture of LNG development in the region. 

On December 11, West Coast Environmental Law, along with the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research (NWI), co-hosted the first of a series of community dialogue sessions on LNG and cumulative impacts management.  We held the opening session in Prince Rupert last week and were moved by the depth of knowledge, thoughtfulness and concern that participants brought to the session.  The objective of the event was to br

RISING to the challenge and protecting our communities and our coastlines

19 November, 2014

RISE, a recent competition organized by Simon Fraser University, asked entrants to come up with a visionary solution to make the greater Vancouver area more resilient to sea level rise. West Coast Environmental Law teamed up with DG Blair from the BC Stewardship Centre and Cathy LeBlanc, a senior planner at the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development to propose that an “old” idea—relying on natural shorelines to create a buffer zone for seaside properties—was an effective means to protect our communities from the impacts of rising seas if it was applied in a new way on a larger scale. We were awarded the prize for Best Environmental Idea. Congratulations to all the other winners, and all the competitors.

We’ve all seen some of the graphic images of flooding along the East Coast of the United States in recent years: neighbourhoods where streets have become canals, an oddly picturesque parking lot full of yellow taxis floating in blue water up to their windshields, and not-so-picturesque images of people assessing the wreckage of their homes and belongings.

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