Leading climate action in northern BC

A growing network of people active in implementing local climate solutions across northern British Columbia is using its first anniversary to expand its reach and provide opportunities for collaboration.

The Northern BC Climate Action Network (NorthCAN) is hosting a full-day public workshop at UNBC and online Tuesday, April 4, co-sponsored by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, the Community Energy Association and the University of Northern British Columbia.

A hub for connecting individuals from local and Indigenous governments, the health and education sectors, business and industry as well as non-governmental organizations, NorthCAN aims to identify and celebrate opportunities for climate action that work for northern BC, encourage regional innovation and identify funding opportunities.  

“For about 25 years now, CEA has been working to accelerate actions by local governments regarding climate and energy and we’ve been facilitating a number of networks around B.C. that connect people working to implement local solutions. But nothing like NorthCAN has existed here before,” says Rob van Adrichem, CEA’s director of external relations and its first employee in northern BC.

“It’s our responsibility as a public institution to engage in this significant challenge of addressing climate change in as timely a manner as we can,” says UNBC School of Planning and Sustainability Assistant Professor Dr. Sinead Earley.

“We have the people and we have the resources. We need to put them in service to communities that are trying to transform and shape the adaptation and mitigation strategies key to the low-carbon transition.”

The workshop includes hands-on sessions to identify northern climate action priorities, and how NorthCAN might help to realize these. Guest speakers include Albert Edman from the Viable Cities and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and University of Saskatchewan School of Environment and Sustainability Professor Dr. Greg Poelzer.

Following the workshop, NorthCAN will produce a report highlighting key climate action priorities for BC’s northern region. Both the workshop and report are, in part, supported by PICS.

“Northern climate perspectives and priorities are essential if we’re going to create effective and equitable climate solutions in BC,” says PICS Executive Director Ian Mauro. “PICS is delighted to contribute to NorthCAN’s collaborative work and finding meaningful ways to learn from and implement findings from workshop.”

“I see the opportunities for research avenues really flourishing from here,” Earley says. “If NorthCAN can help to identify these local climate action priorities, then I and other UNBC faculty members can develop research programs that will match that and be in service to that.”

Earley says the workshop is a great opportunity for current UNBC graduate students to share their knowledge and build connections with civil society organizations across the region. Many NorthCAN members are UNBC alumni.

“We are retaining these really creative minds in northern BC and they are coming up with climate change solutions,” Earley says.

If you plan to attend in-person, please register via Eventbrite.  Deadline for in-person registration is March 20.

If you plan to attend virtually, please register via Zoom.

Travel funding is available; please contact PICS UNBC Program Manager Carly Madge to apply.