Welcome to EcoWest News, a weekly round-up of news and resources that you can put to use in addressing environmental issues and protecting the wild in your community.

Across the West

Manitoba’s new budget includes rebates for EVs but no new charging infrastructure or support for public transit. No specific funds have been dedicated to heat pumps or geothermal energy. [The Narwhal] Parks funding remains at the same level, and funding for wildlife staff will be decreased this year. [Wilderness Committee]

The Saskatchewan budget sets money aside for fire fighting and crop insurance, but farmers and First Nations are calling for more proactive steps to prepare for drought and reduce the risk of forest fires. [CBC]

University of Victoria’s newly built Cheko’nien kitchen is 5 to 6 times more energy-efficient than standard commercial kitchens and meets passive house standards. Equipment is all electric, and the kitchen employs waste heat to pre-heat water. [UVic]

Long-term climate trends indicate a hotter, dryer future in the Okanagan that “will challenge current water resources management, municipal and agricultural practices, and require substantial adaptation.” [The Tyee]

Ocean Wise is now using underwater microphones to help them alert commercial mariners of the presence of whales. “Alerts will help mariners determine when to slow down, re-route, or stop to avoid whale disturbance and injury.” [Ocean Wise]

A group of climate activists is suing the Saskatchewan government, arguing the government’s continued development of fossil fuel electric plants violates people’s Charter rights by exacerbating climate change. [CTV News]

A CPAWS survey of over 1,000 Saskatchewan residents indicates widespread support for grassland protection and improvement. [CPAWS-SK]

Across Canada

GreenPAC is hosting an online panel discussion on the environmental implications of the 2024 federal budget on April 18 at 1 pm ET. [Eventbrite]

Restoring buried waterways — and their riverbanks — could be one answer to many problems: cooling heat islands, absorbing carbon dioxide, cleaning the air, reducing flooding, and providing a habitat for wildlife and native plants. [CBC]

“Financial penalties to those who damage our environments remain pitifully low. Only by holding polluters truly to account can we effectively work to end environmental pollution.” [The Conversation]

Around the World

Storing energy as heat can be cheaper, safer, and more convenient than storing it in traditional batteries. [CBC]

Making a Difference

The Last Repair Shop won an Academy award for best documentary short film. A handful of craftspeople are keeping 80,000 musical instruments in good repair for public school students in Los Angeles. [The Energy Mix]

Los Angeles County’s Rural Outdoor Lighting District promotes dark skies at night, including requirements such as shielding and angling lighting to prevent light pollution. [LA County Planning]

Nature’s Wonders

Almost 25% of all animal species are beetles. They’re 350 million years old, have survived two major extinction events, and have thrived on the diversification of flowering plants as a food source. [Knowable]

100 years before Darwin, Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, understood that species change and evolve. He’s been described as the world’s first ecologist for observing animals in their own environment. [The Guardian]

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/apmckinlay/8931151477

EcoFriendly West informs and encourages initiatives that support Western Canada’s natural environment through its online publication and the Nature Companion website/app. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Mastodon, or subscribe by email.