August: Connecting for climate justice

August: Connecting for climate justice r1 ...

August @ SOVI

Image shows an illustration meant to depict climate justice. The biggest part of the image is a regrowing tree, and within it are people maintaining the environment, fighting and protesting for climate justice, using renewble energy and public transit, and they are all connected by linking threads. Is richly green and bright. Underneath shows the corruption of the environment: oil sands, extraction, polluting and it is atop a turtles back. The sun is in the top right corner, beaming down and covered in butterflies. The moon is in the far left corner, with icons of wildlife inside it.

Climate Justice Initiative Mural Design © City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program Climate Justice Initiative / The Art Circle: Denise Bright Dove Ashton-Dunkley, Eurhi Jones, Gamar Markarian, and Dolores Stanford with the Climate Justice Initiative Collaborators. See Alt text for description.

FEATURE INTERVIEW

During the summer, the threat of climate change becomes more salient– both in Canada and worldwide. Extreme weather events, warming, and continuous news of scientific forecasting for the future may feel overwhelming and debilitating.

The Canadian Environmental Network seeks to connect environmental NGOS and nonprofits across the country to one another, global counterparts, and the federal government through sustainable public policy. It provides opportunities for international and national meetings, conferences, workshops and consultations for practitioners. Regional communications manager Gurneet Dhaliwal spoke with SOVI about the Network’s efforts to act through connection, and how folks can become involved in environmental justice.

There are countless organizations and groups within Canada, and internationally, focused on environmental activism and education. How does the network connect these people, and what is the benefit of that connection?

On an international level, we have seats at the UN environmental delegations, where our members are able to get connected to the international world. This is important because Canada makes a lot of commitments to the environment on the international stage; whether it’s biodiversity, the SDGs, or other issues. We bring those to the table at RCEN, and our members consult on achieving our international commitments. How? By involving grassroots environmental organizations to the table to gather their knowledge and discuss. We’d like folks working on a local level to see the benefit of looping their work into a bigger framework, and having both national and international peers.

How does the Canadian Environmental Network balance its commitment to local and global climate activism work? How does it move between the larger picture and smaller, localized issues?

The Network is well positioned to look at things from both a global and local perspective. We look at the connections we make at international delegations, and we bring the ideas we learn about to local spaces. There are different issues to consider at a local level compared to global– biodiversity and climate concerns change depending on the place you’re focused on. But it’s important to share those internationally-focused ideas to different regions, to see how they can use them. We also have provincial affiliate networks that are able to focus on the concerns of their communities. The bigger ideas from an international stage become zeroed in to be used by individuals locally.

Extreme heat and weather events are impacting people worldwide to varying degrees. How can people help themselves and their communities to adapt and recognize its severity?

The best way to help yourself and your community to get involved with your local environmental organizations. We work closely with a lot of these folks, and they possess the knowledge on how to protect yourself, how to prevent climate change widely, and they work on specific, tangible projects. These are the people we’re looking at to help us gather information we need to fight for sustainable policy everywhere.

Climate justice can feel overwhelming as it concerns all aspects of life– what advice would you give people on transforming anxiety into action

I think starting with going to events hosted by youth and various environmental organizations. This helps people engage, and meet people who are making a difference. They can also be fun– something as simple as a beach clean-up has a huge impact, and only requires some free time. Try to find a way to get out there to start, rather than focusing on the biggest problems.

We also host monthly networking sessions, where you can meet people and learn concrete ways to get involved with environmental action in Canada. We have caucus events that anyone is welcome to, and there are always volunteer opportunities through our provincial affiliate networks that are easy to become connected to.

What current trends is the Network seeing in environmental work in Canada and internationally? What is providing hope for the future, or inspiring innovation?

All across the world, youth involvement and leadership is growing. Youth are carving their space in this sector, and they are doing amazing work. We’re also seeing a lot of folks realize the impacts of environmental change. In BC, we saw how the 2021 wildfires affected people’s ideas and understanding of climate change. Folks are feeling the ramifications of weather events and seeing firsthand the loss of biodiversity and air pollution. We’re heading in the right direction as people are opening their eyes, but now we need to see further involvement and action to follow up.

I’m really looking forward to the COP Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal this year. We are going to be looking at the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework and how to adopt it on a national scale. In recent years, there hasn't been a lot of involvement in the biodiversity field so it’s exciting to see it moving again. We want as many provinces and territories involved as possible, since it’s important to understand the differences in regions and combine that experience to inform how to act nationwide.

We’re looking for student members for the Biodiversity Caucus, and we’re totally open to people with no experience in the field to come learn. Join on August 11th for RCEN’s all caucus meeting to debrief and brainstorm!

CHAPTER NEWS

ARCoP meetings have continued throughout the summer, and we were thrilled to welcome several faces to our July meeting. The focus of discussion was on settler Canadian allyship, land back, and reflections on (not) celebrating Canada Day this year. We thank our community for continuing to create this wonderful space with us, and look forward to future meetings. As always, reach out to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details on joining!

RECENTLY

June and July brought extreme heat to seemingly every corner of the Earth– a blunt reminder of the force of climate change. Internationally, the heat broke records in Europe, Africa and Asia. Fires in the U.K burned homes, crops were decimated in North Africa, and heatwaves heavily damaged public infrastructure in China. Climate scientists report 2022 is marking the highest land temperatures in history, and CO2 emissions and greenhouse gases are unquestionably the culprit. In B.C, the high temperatures remind residents of last year’s heat dome, an event marine life and local biodiversity are still recovering from. Victoria opened cooling stations across the region to help folks deal with the heat, which disproportionately impacts unhoused people in a city already facing a housing crisis. What can we do? To start, seek information on how to respond to heatwaves– like this guide provided by the province. Folks can urge their communities to create comprehensive and funded plans to respond to weather events, like Logan Lake did in 2021. Beyond this, we must fight to end our dependence on fossil fuels and curb CO2 emissions; Vancouver is the first city in Canada to sue Big Oil for its contribution to the climate crisis, an initiative that can be replicated across the country and worldwide. Beyond this, we must continue to support Indigenous People’s rights and continued efforts to stop extractive industries to slow global warming.

WHAT'S NEXT...

  • Capital Bike Sticker Challenge I August 1-14 I Capital Bike

    • Explore your community, try out exciting new bike infrastructure, support local businesses, and win fantastic prizes worth thousands of dollars! The Sticker Challenge is a free scavenger hunt across Greater Victoria for all folks who bike, scooter, or skate!
    • Learn more about the Sticker Challenge here.
  • Invasive Species Removal I August 13th I Greater Victoria Green Time
    • Join the team at the Lund Road Protection Area to remove Himalayan Blackberry, Daphne, and other invasive plants at this beautiful park in View Royal. Everyone is welcome and no previous experience is necessary!

    • Register to join, here.
  • Climate Finance Academy I August 15th I YOUNGGO
    • Applicants can now apply to join the first ever Climate Finance Academy for youth! Learn about the carbon markets, the Paris Agreement, climate finance activism, and available funding for climate projects over four weeks of online sessions.

    • Learn more, and apply for the Academy here.
  • Canadian Sustainable Finance Network Conference I August 29th - 31st I Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions
    • The conference will bring together academics and financial industry experts to discuss the latest sustainable finance research and share innovations in sustainable finance education. Sessions will explore such topics as incorporating climate risk and opportunities into investment portfolios, and impact investing and Indigenous reconciliation.

    • Register for the conference, here.
  • World Water Week 2022 I August 23rd- September 1st I Stockholm International Water Institute
    • Join the hybrid World Water Week conference to explore Seeing the Unseen: The Value of Water. Topics will include the pricing of water, Indigenous knowledge, human rights, and much more. With over 300 sessions to choose from, folks can learn and network while exploring water-related topics, from food security and health to agriculture, technology, biodiversity, and the climate crisis.

All details and registration for World Water Week, here.

  • The University Impact Forum: Sustainable Cities I September 14th I Simon Fraser University
    • The world is facing a reckoning when it comes to climate action and historical responsibilities, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach to advancing Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities. Discuss leadership in climate action, Indigenous knowledge systems and explore critical questions around advancing SDG 11. Don’t miss an opportunity to connect with others who are working to build just, resilient cities and communities!
    • Register for the forum, here.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

“Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”

- -Chief Seattle

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SOVI is based on the stolen lands of the Lək̓ʷəŋən Peoples (known by the colonial name of Victoria, BC). To contact us directly, please write us at r34.

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