On January 18-19, 2018, the UNBC Cumulative Impacts Research Consortium (CIRC), with support from the ECHO (Environment, Community, Health Observatory) Network and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS), convened a policy-oriented symposium addressing the future of resource communities in a shifting political landscape. Designed with an integrative approach in mind, this event provided an opportunity for learning and exchange around issues related to the myriad impacts of resource development and climate change throughout northern BC.
For more information about this event, feel free to download the event agenda and view the bios of all event presenters using the links below. You will also find video archives of the keynote presentation and all workshop sessions using the links below.
Day 1 - Thursday January 18, 2018
Megan Leslie, President & CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada, gave a public keynote address titled "Cumulative Impacts to Wildlife and Habitat Conservation in an Era of Environmental Change". Her presentation can be viewed using the link below:
Day 2 - Friday January 19, 2018
Session 1: Cumulative effects frameworks for assessment, monitoring and management
Cumulative effects assessment attempts to reconcile possible environmental, community and health impacts of a proposed or existing project with an array of past, present and future land use activities. In light of a newly developed provincial policy framework, numerous groups are attempting to take stock of cumulative changes to environmental, social, economic, and cultural values resulting from the confluence of a variety of development projects. This panel explored perspectives from practitioners and policymakers designing and deploying assessment frameworks to inform a deeper understanding of the long-term positive and negative impacts of resource development activities on northern BC landscapes.
- Matthew LeRoy, BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
- Hannah Askew, West Coast Environmental Law
- Don Morgan, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
- Alistair MacDonald, The Firelight Group, on behalf of Fort Nelson First Nation
Moderator: Mike Gillingham, UNBC
Session 2: Indigenous land use planning and cumulative impacts management
Across Turtle Island and around the world, Indigenous communities are actively planning to promote land and resource management. This panel presented some of the ways Indigenous communities and organizations are approaching land use planning and cumulative impacts management in a manner that accounts for impacts to treaty rights and Indigenous rights and title, and the inherent responsibilities of settlers and Canadian governments to support and respect these processes and their outcomes.
- Agnes Pawlowska-Mainville, UNBC
- Clayton Davis, Treaty 8 Cumulative Effects Framework Working Group
- Sandra Martin Harris, Gitksan Government Commission
- Chief Terry Teegee, Regional Chief, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations
Moderator: Rheanna Robinson, UNBC
Session 3: Watershed governance and cumulative impacts
The health of watersheds in northern BC and beyond is critical to the communities and the natural environment, including the plant and wildlife to which they supply freshwater. Critical challenges to the health of these watersheds range from local resource extraction impacts to global influences such as climate change. As such, watersheds are exemplar levels of analysis to understand the cumulative impacts of resource development. Momentum has been building among a growing number of collaborative initiatives and grassroots organizations which seek to engage in formal roles in watershed decision-making. This panel discussion explored BC trends in freshwater governance, including British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act, which came into force in 2016. The Act outlines a process for designating responsibility for developing area-based water sustainability plans to local planning organizations.
- Jennifer Vigano, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
- Reg Whiten, InterraPlan Inc.
- Rosie Simms, The POLIS Project on Ecological Governance
- Deborah Harford, Adaptation to Climate Change Team
Moderator: Terry Robert, Fraser Basin Council
Session 4: Session with youth delegation
Youth are the inheritors of the future. Recognizing the importance of including decision-makers of tomorrow in the decisions that are made today, a youth-tailored workshop occurred alongside the larger forum during the morning sessions. While hearing about research that is occurring across northern BC, this workshop focused on drawing connections between the environment, communities, and wellbeing. Youth delegates joined the larger symposium during Session 4. During this interactive session, the youth delegation posed several discussion questions to the broader group, prompting forum attendees to think through ways to make meaningful space for youth participation in ongoing work around the cumulative impacts of resource extraction, both now and in the future.
Session 5: Assessment of cumulative impacts on health and wellbeing
Health is a recognized pillar of environmental assessment regulations in British Columbia. However, health impacts of various development projects still focus largely on direct biophysical exposures. This session will explore the ways in which proponents, government agencies, communities and researchers are attempting to broaden the purview of the health impacts of resource development to include impacts on the social determinants of health and health service delivery.
- Barb Oke, Northern Health
- Chris Buse, UNBC
- Sandra Martin Harris, Gitksan Government Commission
- Henry Harder, UNBC
Moderators: Sandra Allison (Northern Health) and Margot Parkes (UNBC)
Session 6: Wildfire preparedness and cumulative impacts
The summer of 2017 was the worst wildfire season on record in the province of British Columbia. Wildfires have widespread impacts on the environment, communities, and health. This session explored climate change, conservation, planning, and provincial and regional responses to wildfires. Speakers discussed what they understand to be important steps in planning and protecting our landscapes and health, from the local to the global level.
- Dominick DellaSala, GEOS Institute
- Madeline Maley, BC Wildfire Service
- Raina Fumerton, Northern Health
- Sonja Leverkus, Shifting Mosaics Consulting/Northern Fire WoRx
Moderator: Al Wiensczyk, UNBC
For more information, please contact:
Madeline Wilson, CIRC Research Associate