Building back better together, a year after BC floods

r1 Looking to the future of flood management in BC ... r19 November 2022 | Legal e-Brief FacebookTwitter LinkedIn InstagramYouTube WCEL logo Donate today!

Dear Paov,

This time last year, an atmospheric river caused catastrophic flooding and damage throughout the province – dikes and highways were destroyed, lives were lost or displaced, and impacted communities are still picking up the pieces today. It exposed a longstanding problem in BC: our existing disaster response systems, and the way we manage our relationships with water, are broken.

Since then, West Coast has been collaborating across jurisdictions – Indigenous, federal, provincial and local – and with other organizations in the Lower Fraser region to Build Back Better, Together. The colonial legacy that led us to this point cannot be ignored. Reconciliation and justice must be at the centre of these efforts.

While there aren’t any easy answers, we are united in the understanding that we need to move forward in a good way, one that is coordinated, principled and inclusive – and this common ground gives us hope.

Finding the right recipe for life in the floodplain One year after the devastating flood events of November 2021, there has been a lot of talk about recovery, and “getting back to normal.” But what does “normal” mean in the Lower Fraser floodplain? How can we move beyond the status quo toward a more resilient future?

Staff Lawyer Deborah Carlson reflects upon these questions, and illuminates our work as part of the Build Back Better, Together Collaborative in this new blog.
82,622 people in Canada call on the federal government to rein in Big Oil’s climate pollution We have teamed up with environmental organizations all across Canada to deliver petitions to the Prime Minister’s Office, calling on the federal government to follow through on its COP26 promise to implement a strong, ambitious cap on oil and gas emissions.

The message from over 80,000 Canadians is clear: the oil and gas industry must be held accountable for their pollution. If you haven’t already, you can show your support for a strong emissions cap by sending a letter through our online tool.
Canada must scale up funding to meet climate and nature goals The Green Budget Coalition (including West Coast) just released our recommendations for the federal Budget 2023. The Coalition’s five key recommendations for federal spending are dedicated to simultaneously making progress on the related crises of climate change and nature loss in Canada, while strengthening Canada’s economy and improving equity, affordability and quality of life for Canadians.Putting ecosystem health on the front burner Our work toward a new BC law for biodiversity and ecosystem health continues. Co-developing such a law with Indigenous nations could finally turn the tide on decades of harmful cumulative impacts affecting nature and communities. But despite related commitments by the BC government, we’re still waiting for action on this issue. Read more and find out how you can help West Coast in this effort. West Virginia v Environmental Protection Agency: What are the implications for Canada? A U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer significantly limited how the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Law Student Jade DeFehr and Staff Lawyer Andrew Gage looked into the implications of this case for global climate action, and what this means for Canadian climate accountability.
Watch now: West Coast’s legal victories of 2021-22 Along with our recently-released annual Impact Report, you can now watch West Coast’s key milestones of 2021-22 in our new highlight reel!

In this short video, you can learn more about West Coast’s initiatives and campaigns, and what our programs have accomplished this past year to advance systemic legal solutions to our environmental problems.
We are hiring!

We have two exciting opportunities to join us at West Coast:

Climate Communications Specialist: We’re seeking a part-time digital communications star to help us build and strengthen the network of support in BC for the Sue Big Oil campaign. Apply by November 20.

2023 Summer Law Student Placements: In law school and looking to dip your toes into the world of environmental law? Join us as a Summer Law Student next summer! You will gain hands-on experience working alongside our experts to confront some of the most pressing environmental issues facing BC and Canada. Apply by January 8.

We’re only 12 days away from #GivingTuesday! This holiday season, you can help protect and defend the environment by supporting West Coast Environmental Law. Now is the time to harness our hope for the future. Please make a donation today.

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