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

A 13-minute podcast discusses how Nexii, a sustainable construction company that got its start in Moose Jaw, SK, reutilizes over 99% of building materials through deconstruction and reuse. [Building Enclosure]

Quesnel, BC’s mayor wants to turn his forestry town into a sustainable, resilient community. [The Tyee]

BC’s mining regulations fall short on tailings dams, cleanup costs, and Indigenous consent compared to other countries such as Brazil, Ecuador, and China. [The Narwhal]

Drax, a UK power station owner, is cutting down primary forests in Canada. The company says it only uses sawdust and waste wood, but they own logging licenses for two areas of BC, including large areas of old-growth forest. [BBC]

Around the World

A British department store chain plans to protect nature by renting out furniture; taking back clothing; ensuring materials such as wood, cotton, and cocoa come from sustainable sources; eliminating fossil fuel use; and investing in conservation projects. [The Guardian]


First Nations peoples who farmed the land before we arrived have much to teach Prairie farmers, such as growing legumes, which produce their own nitrogen fertilizer, beside plants that need a lot of nitrogen. [The Narwhal]

Could biofertilizers containing live diazotrophic bacteria—microorganisms that can turn nitrogen in the existing environment into nutrients for crops – replace synthetic nitrogen fertilizer? A 60-year-old experiment in Brazil was successful. [Anthropocene]

Reporting Back

Decarbonizing Electricity and Decolonizing Power: Voices, Insights and Priorities from Indigenous Clean Energy Leaders, published by the David Suzuki Foundation, sets out six principles for upholding Indigenous rights and ensuring community benefits in the transition to clean renewable electricity. [David Suzuki Foundation]

Inconvenient Truths

Society shares many common beliefs about nature and the environment which, if we examined them honestly, are false. But that would make us very, very uncomfortable, and so we don’t. [Do the Math]

Lise Ragbir wonders if we have been trained to shut down rather than trying to understand what might be frightening and suggests paying attention when we are uncomfortable, recognizing that truth is slippery and anything is possible in order to deal with all the things we don’t understand. [Yes! Magazine]

Nature’s Wonders

"I use birds to find medicine," says Anishinaabe researcher Joe Pitawanakwat. "Whenever you hear a bird sing, you can get an idea of the plants that are growing in that area." [CBC]

The beauty of the ocean portrayed by award-winning photographers – sea snakes, weedy seadragons, polar bear cubs, and colourful anemone fish. [The Guardian]

Two free plant identification apps come highly recommended. PlantNet works well if you want to quickly and accurately identify plants. Choose iNaturalist if you want to share your findings with others. [Wirecutter]

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/apmckinlay/15315131574

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 subscribe by email.