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

Boundary Bay near Vancouver is home to hundreds of raptors and a colony of blue herons, but plant life was failing, and the dyke was malfunctioning. A restoration project hopes to restore the tidal marsh and the bay’s potential as a natural breakwater. [Rewilding]

Environment Lethbridge has received funding for a new series of Climate Cafés. The cafés are designed to provide opportunities for residents to share their thoughts about the impacts of climate change and their vision for the future. [Environment Lethbridge]

A bird’s-eye view of Alberta’s oilsands. [photo essay, The Narwhal]

Across Canada

Affordable housing isn’t affordable if it’s not energy efficient. “New housing must not only be affordably built but also affordably heated, while protecting residents from climate extremes.” [Pembina Institute]

Around the World

Heat pumps are usually out of the reach of renters, but a prototype unit sits on a windowsill and plugs in like an AC unit. It would perform double duty, heating the apartment in winter and cooling it in summer. [The Verge]

Integrating heat pumps into underground parking ventilation systems would make use of an untapped resource. [Anthropocene]

The amounts of waste from solar and wind power are very small when compared to other forms of waste. Solar waste is 300 times less than for coal ash and 500 times less than for municipal waste. [Sustainability by the Numbers]

Making a Difference

A 27-year-old says sewage shouldn’t be entering UK’s largest lake and he’ll be continuing his campaign until there’s a commitment on infrastructure investment. [The Times]

Yukon Home Care has added two e-bikes to their fleet to be used for home visits and travel to meetings but also for lunch and coffee runs. [Green Health Care]

The Southeast Alaska Birding Trail connects nearly 200 birding sites across 18 small communities. Developers hope attracting more birders will diversify the region’s reliance on extraction-based industries. [Audubon]

Kicking Gas offers Whidbey Island residents grants and microloans towards transitioning off wood, propane, or oil to ductless heat pumps. [Herald Net]

A non-profit organization in the UK is using carbon credits to fund energy efficiency upgrades to public housing. [Ashden]

Math professors at UBC and UBCO have introduced real-world climate change problem sets in their classrooms. [UBC]


Fighting climate change is a marathon not a sprint. Surprisingly small changes can make a big difference in your climate footprint — and have a positive effect on your own well-being too. [MSNBC]

You don’t have to be a scientist to get involved in conservation. “If you have the passion and the drive, you’re going to find your niche, and it’s going to be something you love doing.” [Bat Conservation International]

Lake stewardship groups play a vital role in monitoring water quality, reporting illegal activity, offering educational sessions, lobbying for recognition as an Important Bird Area, and so much more. [North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance]

Playbook for the Pyrocene offers 20 community planning and design strategies to assist fire-prone communities in reducing their risk. They range from home design features to community-wide defensible spaces and parcel-scale buffers. [The Dirt]

“The emerging genre of climate cookbooks puts a big idea on the menu: that there won’t be one way to eat sustainably in a warming world, but many.” [Grist]

The City of Vancouver is inviting residents to adopt and name a catch basin and to keep it clear of leaves and debris to prevent flooding during heavy rainstorms. [City of Vancouver]

Nature’s Wonders

Dan Strickland has been studying Canada jays for over 50 years. He worries about the future of these smart, social birds when a warming climate pays havoc with their cold-storage system. [Hakai Magazine]

Explore the kelp forests of the Pacific Northwest and meet their inhabitants. [interactive infographic, Bull Kelp]

Crabs have evolved to migrate from sea to land and then back again multiple times over the last 100 million years. [Live Science]

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/apmckinlay/27846270245

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.