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 environment minister has spent countless hours outdoors in the province’s wilderness and believes her legal skills will be valuable in overseeing the host of interwoven legislation and regulations. [The Narwhal]

BC just signed a million-dollar deal for nature. Conservation groups welcome the new deal but say there are huge legal gaps and wait to see how it plays out. “Nothing else can put this new agreement to the test as the spotted owl can.” [The Narwhal]

The Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary has been in place for 100 years. It is home to 270 bird species and provides refuge for more than 75 federally at-risk species as well as being a hotspot for migratory birds. [The Walrus]

The total cost for retraining all Alberta’s oil sands workers for the solar industry ranges between $91.5 and $276.2 million … only 2-6% of federal, provincial and territorial oil and gas subsidies for a single year. [The Conversation]

CPAWS Northern Alberta chapter says it’s time to have an honest discussion about how forestry management practices influence wildfire risk. [CPAWS Northern Alberta]

Across Canada

The Walrus is hosting online discussions on the health and climate crisis on November 21 and on protecting biodiversity from the impacts of climate change on November 23.

The Canadian Mountain Project report encompasses academic knowledge, Indigenous stories, and what remains to be discovered about the mountains that cover one-quarter of Canada’s surface. [CBC]

Lac-Mégantic’s electricity microgrid makes the town a pioneer in energy transition with a “sustainable and replicable governance model” that other rural communities can adopt. [The Energy Mix]

Around the World

Prairie strips integrate sections of native grasses and flowering plants into row crop fields, increasing biodiversity, improving water quality, and reducing sediment loss. [Cool Green Science]

Climate advocates are calling for the phase-out of fossil fuels. But it’s not so simple. Leaving oil and gas in the ground would cause huge political, legal, and economic problems. [Undark]

We need more research into human-bear conflicts to understand how climate-driven environmental variability is affecting bears’ behaviour and consequently their interactions with people. [The Conversation]

Around the world, “23.5 million people live on floodplains contaminated by heavy metal toxins … A huge amount of work has gone into cleaning up mine sites … But in many cases, the principal issue is the floodplains and channels downstream.” [Eos]

Biomining, using chemicals to extract minerals or clean up mine waste, has the potential to become “a large-scale alternative to traditional, emissions-heavy, and often toxic metals extraction”. [The Walrus]

Researchers are exploring ways they can use bacteria in coatings and materials such as a paint that harnesses living bacteria to capture carbon dioxide and produce oxygen and a concrete-like building material that can absorb carbon dioxide and repair tiny cracks. [Anthropocene]

A new set of guidelines outlines ways in which to ensure marine protected areas are climate-resilient, including hedging one’s bets and allowing for the movement of species. [Anthropocene]


Water-conscious Swedish islanders are competing for the “ugliest lawn” title. They’re now challenging the world to share their “ugly lawns”. [The Guardian]

Help fungi flourish in your garden by mulching, letting dead wood rot where it falls, avoiding soil compaction, and promoting biodiversity. [Mayne Conservancy]

On the Bookshelf

Ocean Bestiary: Meeting Marine Life from Abalone to Orca to Zooplankton, written and illustrated by Richard J. King, provides a global tour of ocean wildlife through vignettes incorporating science, literature, and first-hand accounts. [University of Chicago Press]

In Paths of Pollen, Stephen Humphrey asks readers to imagine a tipping point where plants and pollinators can no longer adapt to stressors such as urbanization, modern agriculture, and global climate change and illustrates what an important role pollination plays in food supply, biodiversity, rising global temperatures, and the resilience of landscapes. [McGill-Queen’s University Press]

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/apmckinlay/52555042871

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.