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.

Introducing … Sustainable Building Manitoba

Sustainable Building Manitoba promotes progressive national codes across all building sectors; implements educational and training programs; and encourages prioritization of sustainable local materials and the transition of all buildings away from natural gas. They are strong advocates for healthy green schools in Manitoba. Their online conference is coming up on Thursday afternoons, March 10, 17, 24, and 31. Topics include financing sustainable buildings, national building codes and energy efficiency, and health and well-being in buildings.

Introducing … Northeast Swale Watchers

Saskatoon’s Northeast Swale Watchers is a group of concerned citizens who came together in 2011 to monitor plans for development in and around the Swale, one of the largest surviving remnants of natural prairie in this part of Saskatchewan. They have been a strong, consistent voice in trying to protect the Swale from further incursions by roads, housing, light pollution, and other human development. Of particular current concern is a proposed provincial freeway that would bisect the Swale, despite it being part of current discussions around an urban national park.

Across the West

“20% of all the land the B.C. government claims to protect is at risk from some combination of logging, oil and gas exploration or road building.” [Business in Vancouver]

Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland/Labrador provided $2.5 billion in fossil fuel subsidies in the 2020/21 fiscal year. [International Institute for Sustainable Development]

Clayton Community Centre is the largest non-residential building in North America to receive Passive House certification. The result: 75% energy savings and 98% carbon savings compared to other community centres in BC. [Canadian Architect]

Urban forests in Regina and Saskatoon are under threat. Options for maintaining the trees include making greater use of non-potable water, planting trees in groups, and soil testing to determine the best sites for them. [Planet S]

Environmentalists think the proposed Calgary-Banff rail link ignores multiple wildlife and environmental issues. [Global News]

Around the World

“We have to stop thinking that the building industry’s emissions will gradually decline and realize that they must descend down a number of steep steps … We’ve got to start behaving like this is the emergency we’ve been saying it is … We’re out of time.” [Corporate Knights]

A free downloadable kit lets you assess walkability in your community. [StreetsBlog CA]

“An alarming number of North American bald and golden eagles are suffering from lead poisoning as the result of scavenging on animals shot with lead bullets.” [Gizmodo]

“Wildfires can have dramatic, negative impacts on water quality.” Further research is needed to develop effective emergency rehabilitation techniques. [The Starfish]

Developed countries have been unwilling to set aside money to help vulnerable countries offset the damage caused by climate change. Two regional governments, however, are leading the way: Scotland in the United Kingdom [The Energy Mix] and Wallonia in Belgium [Brussels Times].

Research Matters

33% of Americans live in coastal cities, but we’re unprepared for rising seas and storms. Urban Ocean Lab is a think tank for the cultivation of “rigorous, creative, equitable, and practical climate and ocean policy, for the future of coastal cities.”

Research for the Front Lines is a new initiative to connect communities and grassroots organizations with researchers who have the skills and time to assist in addressing environmental issues.

EcoFriendly West informs and encourages initiatives that support Western Canada’s natural environment. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or subscribe by email.