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

“Wetland remnants and florally diverse field margins, as well as areas of semi-natural re-seeded pasture, play an important role in supporting native pollinator communities in [Saskatchewan’s] highly cultivated landscapes. [University of Saskatchewan]

Even highly diluted, the oil industry’s wastewater can harm soil, plants, and aquatic life. In addition, oil drilling boosts groundwater concentrations of toxic and radioactive elements. [Inside Climate News]

Cruise ships are the biggest polluters of the entire shipping sector – producing more than 60% of all sewage and other types of pollution dumped in Canadian waters – and regulations are weak to non-existent. [West Coast Environmental Law]

Lakes of Victoria, BC by Adam Ungstad lists flora and fauna, recreational opportunities, and history for 31 lakes near Victoria.

From Coast to Coast

Canada’s infrastructure needs to be adapted for a changing climate: more information, upgraded building standards, disclosure of climate risk, and more funding for municipalities. [Canadian Climate Institute]

Around the World

Avoiding vehicle/wildlife collisions requires defensive driving to be on the lookout for wildlife, as well as overpasses and corridors that allow natural movement of wildlife and can be adapted over time. [The Star]

Our conservation goals need to include fungi: “Without fungi breaking down dead matter and recycling its nutrients, life on Earth would be unrecognizable.” [The Conversation]

Open for Debate: Online Resources vs. Energy Conservation

It can be difficult at times to reconcile climate action and biodiversity. Wind power, for example, is a valuable renewable energy source - but it kills birds and bats. Similarly, QR codes and nature apps are valuable ways to stimulate interest in nature, but the environmental impacts of data storage and the web are enormous. “A single data center can consume the equivalent electricity of 50,000 homes.” Not to mention water requirements, noise pollution, and waste. [The MIT Press Reader]

Separating computing from continuous growth and increasing environmental demands will require building systems that still function in times of scarcity and applying permaculture concepts to the digital domain – reuse, repair, maintenance, and non-waste. [Critical Studies of Education and Technology]


Farmers and ranchers are giving conveyor belting, street sweeper brushes, and other discarded materials a second life. [Modern Farmer]

Volunteer scuba divers are removing underwater garbage piles from BC’s lakes and waterfronts. [Cleaner Lakes]

Artful Change

The Creative Instigator’s Handbook: A DIY Guide to Making Social Change through Art by Leanne Prain provides “case studies and interviews with artists, activists, teachers, community organizers and ordinary folks — people who had an idea or saw a need and decided to do something about it.” [The Tyee]

Canada’s environmental art-based initiatives are imagining, researching, and developing ways of meeting critical climate targets. [The Conversation]

This Singing Land, and Collective Arts for Climate Justice are just two of many Western Canadian projects and artists on Climate Art Web’s map of art projects addressing climate change, environmental justice, Indigenous knowledge, sustainability, and place-based care and relationship. [Climate Art Web]

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/apmckinlay/27568586330

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