Climate Action Training

Climate Action Training is a web-based education opportunity for NWT youth who are looking to gain knowledge, skills, and resources to help face the climate crisis.

Sessions are being live-streamed throughout January and February and include presentations from some of the North’s best climate change leaders. This carbon free format also allows for participants to watch and re-watch the recorded live-streams. Recordings can be found here.

Following the training, we will be supporting youth to take climate action in their communities.

There is still an opportunity to join! Email for more info or fill out this online form to sign-up.

Session 1 – Climate Change Science

This session provides a good overview of the science of climate change: why is it happening, how do we know, what are the main contributing sources, and how are climate predictions made. Thank you to presenters Jennifer Hickman, Casey Beel, and Neils Weiss for sharing their knowledge with participants.

Watch Climate Action Training Session 1 – Climate Change Science

Session 2 – Northern Impacts

Special thanks to Climate Change Adaptation Expert Brian Sieben, and Permafrost Scientist Ashley Rudy. This session was full of great visuals and lots of information about how climate change is impacting the north. Learn about coastal erosion, forest fires, flooding, emergency planning, with a special focus on permafrost.

Watch Climate Action Training Session 2 – Northern Impacts

Session 3 – Community Action

Aklavik’s Senior Administrative Officer, Fred Berens, gave an excellent presentation about what Aklavik has done to help reduce the community energy use and tackle climate change mitigation. Noeline Villebrun talked about how important it is for northern youth to take climate action. To conclude the session, Craig Scott’s presented on the huge variety of ways northern communities can, and must, adapt to the changing climate.

Watch Climate Action Training Session 3 – Community Action

Session 4 – Climate Activism – February 5th, 2020

We will have three young climate activists sharing their stories on the front-line. Join Ella Kokelj, Daniel T’Seleie and Ellen Gillies as they document their experiences making change and highlight opportunities to get involved in climate action.

Watch Climate Action Training Session 4 – Climate Activism

Session 5 – Effective Communication – February 12th, 2020 at 6pm MST

Join APTN photojournalist, Charlotte Morrit- Jacobs, and Our Time’s Thomas Gagnon Van Leeuwin who will share with you media training and knowledge about how to amplify your message. As well as how to effectively communicate climate messaging.

Watch Climate Action Training Session 5 – Effective Communication

Session 6 – Northern Leadership – Feb 19th, 2020 at 6pm MST

This session will have a hopeful message of how the north can and must take an active leadership role in climate action. Join Dr. Courtney Howard (an internationally renowned climate and health advocate) and Jordan Peterson (the Deputy Grand Chief of the Gwich’in Tribal Council and an outspoken advocate for climate solutions led by youth). This inspiring duo will lead us on a journey to discover how and where the NWT can and should be front and centre in the national and international climate sphere.


On the implementation of a carbon tax in the Northwest Territories : recommendations – Ecology North’s response to the Government of the Northwest Territories’ discussion paper « Implementing Pan-Canadian Carbon Pricing in the Northwest Territories », September 2017.

Climate Change and Energy – Comments to the GNWT Energy and Climate Change ConsultationsThe GNWT recently undertook extensive consultations throughout the NWT’s five regions on Energy and Climate Change. These consultations will feed into the Strategic frameworks being developed by Public Works and Services (Energy) and Environment and Natural Resources (Climate Change). Ecology North’s Chloe Dragon Smith was at these consultation sessions. We developed this submission to the GNWT to help promote a rapid change to a low carbon economy in the NWT. Ecology North envisions a carbon tax being the key driver of this change, as it will transfer funds from polluters to projects that help northerners take advantage of innovative new technologies to reduce our cost of living. To learn more check out our submission here.

Intro to adaptation brochure – Adaptation is a process to keep things in balance, as other things change. The natural and human environment always adapt – to ongoing natural and man-made changes. This short brochure from 2008 describes the key steps and considerations for developing a community adaptation plan

Intro to Mitigation Brochure – This brochure is one of the earliest documents Ecology North published on the subject of Climate Change mitigation.

Integrating Climate Change Measures Into Municipal Planning and Decision Making; A guide for Northern Communities – This document was prepared by Ecology North and the Pembina institute for the NWT Association of Communities. It describes how climate change is affecting northern communities and describes a process for integrating these considerations into existing municipal planning processes.

Protocol to assess the vulnerability of northern water and wastewater systems to climate change impacts 2010 – The provision of clean drinking water and the effective management of wastewater (including solid waste leachate) are fundamentally important to maintaining environmental, social, and economic health. NWT communities should thus become involved in planning for and adapting to the impacts of climate change on water and wastewater systems. The first step in adapting to climate change impacts is an examination of the vulnerability of water and wastewater systems to climate change and the identification of adaptation priorities.

Ft McPherson Tetlit Gwich’in Adaptation Plan Environmental Scan – This scan is based on the research and process of writing the Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the community of Fort McPherson, NWT. The scan outlines research completed into background issues related to climate change impacts that may be affecting the community and more broadly the Gwich’in region.

Tetl’it Zheh Climate Change Adaptation Planning Project 2011 – The Fort McPherson Adaptation Project was initiated by Ecology North with the support of CS Environmental. It was loosely based on a process developed by the Northern Climate Exchange for the Dawson City Adaptation Plan (NCE, 2009). The resulting collaborative process drew knowledge and expertise from both the community and technical experts from the Northwest Territories

Ft Mcpherson profile – This document provides basic historical, geographic, and demographic information about Ft McPherson

Tetlit Gwich’in Climate Change Adaptation Plan Summary – This brochure summarizes the key aspects of the community’s Climate Change Adaptation plan

Gwichya Gwich’in Climate Change Adaptation Plan Brochure 2010– This brochure summarizes the key aspects of the community’s Climate Change Adaptation plan 

Gwichya Gwich’in Climate Change Adaptation Planning Project 2010 – The Tsiigehtchic Adaptation Project was loosely based on a process developed by the Northern Climate Exchange for the Dawson City Adaptation Plan (NCE. 2009). The resulting collaborative process drew knowledge and expertise from both the community and technical experts from the Northwest Territories.

Gwichya Gwich’in Climate Change Adaptation Implementation plan – This implementation plan outlines the recommended adaptations and attempts to provide a schedule and timeline for implementation of adaptation activities.

Tsiigehtchic community profile – This document provides basic historical, geographic, and demographic information about Tsiigehtchic.

Summary poster describing climate change impacts on Tsiigehtchic – This poster summarizes expected climate change impacts on the community of Tsiigehtchic in bullet form with graphics and images

Assessment of the vulnerability of Tsiigehtchic’s water and wastewater systems to climate change impacts – Ecology North worked with Tsiigehtchic to create a community climate change adaptation plan. This report assessing the vulnerability of its water and wastewater systems to the impacts of climate change is in addition to the community climate change adaptation plan.

Slope stability review and evaluation of stabilization  options for Church Hill Tsiigehtchic – EBA, A Tetra Tech Company (EBA) was contacted on April 14, 2010, by Doug Ritchie, Program Director of Ecology North, to provide a proposal to assist in developing climate change adaptations for the Charter Community of Tsiigehtchic, NT. In general accordance with EBA’s proposal of June 18, 2010, this report has been prepared as one of the deliverables of the project: to evaluate stabilization options for Church Hill

Behchoko Climate Change action plan The purpose of the Behchoko Climate Change Action Plan is to outline climate change
risks to the community, along with strategies and options for dealing with these risks. The plan also considers any opportunities that may be presented by climate change.

Bibliography of climate change research in Tlicho Region – As part of Ecology North’s work to support the Tlicho government and communities in regional community-based climate change planning, the following summary of existing and on-going scientific research on topics related to climate change in the Tlicho region was compiled.

Assessment of the vulnerability of Deline’s water and waste water systems to climate change impacts – Déline is a community of about 600 residents located on Great Bear Lake in the Sahtu Settlement Area of the Northwest Territories (NWT). Ecology North worked with Déline to assess the vulnerability of its water and wastewater systems to the impacts of climate change.

Assessment of the vulnerability of Wekweeti’s water and waste water systems to climate change impacts – Wekweètì is a community of about 150 residents located on Snare Lake in the Tlicho region of the Northwest Territories (NWT). Ecology North worked with Wekweètì to assess the vulnerability of its water and waste water systems to the impacts of climate change.

Climate change effects on buildings poster – A poster highlighting the risks to buildings in the north in a changing climate. 

Climate change and food poster – A poster highlighting the possible impacts of climate change on northern food security.

Climate Change and Transportation poster – A poster highlighting the risks posed by climate change to transportation in the north.

Climate change and water poster – a poster highlighting the risks posed by climate change to water in the north.

Climate Change Summary poster – A poster produced by Ecology North to summarize the main impacts of climate change on transportation, food, water and buildings in the north.

NWT Climate Change Leadership Summit: A Call to Action – Ecology North and the Dene Nation organized the NWT climate change leadership summit to inform leaders in the NWT about climate change impacts and to discuss adaptations.

Tlicho Climate Change book – Many Tlicho people agree that climate change is a front-burner issue that no one can ignore any longer. This handbook begins with an overview of northern climate change and introduces the two main ways we can respond to it: mitigation – fighting its causes – and adaptation –reducing its impacts.

Young Leaders’ Summit on Northern Climate Change

This summit provided an opportunity for participants to enhance their knowledge of climate change and its impacts through on-the-land learning. Topics discussed in previous summits include: forest fires, permafrost, culture, community, wildlife, politics, water, adapting to climate change, communicating climate change, and food security.

Declaration of the 2017 Young Leaders’ Summit on Northern Climate Change

From August 16th – 22nd, 2017, 11 youth participants from the three northern territories came together in Whitehorse, Yukon, for the 2017 Young Leaders’ Summit on Northern Climate Change. During this week, we learned from each other, community members, and local organizations about the land and the effect that climate change is having on it, as well as ways that the communities are adapting to these changes.

We have learned that the struggles the north is facing with the changing climate are complex and far reaching. In addition to the environmental impacts, these changes affect modern and traditional ways of life, mental and physical health, as well as socioeconomic wellbeing. We have learned that as young leaders we have power to incite change. This declaration has been developed to be accessible to all, to encourage individuals to take up positive lifestyle changes, and to motivate youth to become leaders in their community.
As northern climate leaders, we commit to:


  • Maintaining and growing the pan-territorial network created through these Summits,
  • Continuing to foster resource and knowledge sharing,
  • Sharing our experiences, observations, and research,

Actively Making Changes in Our Lifestyles

  • Working towards resource sustainability, conscious consumption, and reducing our carbon footprints,
  • Supporting initiatives and organizations that address climate change,
  • Expanding our knowledge of climate change,
  • Pursuing an understanding of government relations and policy, and ways to go about effecting meaningful change,

Fostering Communication and Action

  • Effecting and encouraging change in our peers,
  • Organizing and leading environmental initiatives within our communities and social circles,
  • Creating dialogue on the topic of climate change.

We call on all levels of government, community organizations and self-governing First Nations to:

  • Develop and implement strong climate change adaptation and action plans,
  • Support organizations and initiatives that advocate sustainable resource usage and climate education,
  • Embrace the implementation of policies which work to reduce negative human impact, through legislations such as the carbon tax.

The unique situation of the north calls for innovation within the areas of:


  • To be proactive leaders within the environmental field, developing strong climate protocols before policy requires it and
  • To reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by initiating energy reduction projects and converting to renewable energy sources.


  • To recognize that the scientific method is not the only way to collect data and understand the land,
  • To fill information gaps that address the needs and concerns of northern communities, and
  • To respect local culture and to disseminate results to communities involved.

We are making this declaration because future generations depend upon our collective action to preserve our way of life and the natural beauty of the North. We urge all individuals to respect the implications of climate change.

We achieve this by recognizing the inherent value of these Indigenous lands and through furthering our education on traditional knowledge and current research.

We commit to make change.

This summit was open to youth ages 18 to 30 from the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.
We looked for youth who show leadership potential, and a strong interest in climate change and the environment.

Applicants applied for the 2017 Summit by:

1) Submitting a one-page essay expressing why you are interested in attending, and;
2) Submitting a reference letter from a respected member of your community.

Essay topics can include, but are not limited to:

  • Why you are interested in learning about climate change
  • Why you are interested in Northern issues
  • Your desire to take action on climate change
  • Your prior experience (personal, educational, professional) with climate change
  • Why the topics discussed in this summit are relevant to your current work or education
  • How climate change has affected your life in the North
  • How you will benefit from attending the summit

Applications were due Thursday, July 20th, 2017.Find out more information about previous summits here:

Young Leader’s Summit on Northern Climate Change 2015

In the Summer of 2015, we invited 10 youths from across the three northern territories to Yellowknife, where we promptly took them down the highway to Hay River. Along the way they met elders, scientists, government leaders, were tasked with challenges. The youth camped along the way, cooked and cleaned and had a variety of visitors.

It proved an incredible journey, and the youth made great friends, learned a great deal about climate change and how it is impacting people, communities, and the the natural environment.

You can read the CBC story on the Young Leaders’ Summit here.

You can download the Final Report on the summit here.

Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

Ecology North works with communities throughout the NWT to assess and manage risks posed by climate change. Thawing permafrost, shorter, less predictable ice road seasons, drought, floods, and forest fires all threaten northerner’s environment and livelihood.

Among the most pressing concerns for residents and communities include:

  • Shifting houses, and buildings from permafrost thaw;
  • Increased costs as barge and ferry service is disrupted;
  • Fears of forest fires, and the health impacts of forest fire smoke;
  • Food security as caribou and fish are impacted by changes
  • Decrease in water quality;
  • Travel on the land is becoming less safe; and
  • Weather is becoming less predictable

Ecology North has helped communities in all regions of the NWT to conduct risk assessments and adaptation and mitigation plans. These plans are available on our Resources page.

If your community has concerns about climate change and you would like more information or help, contact us and we’ll assist you. 

Summer of Smoke


Ecology North is working with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, the hamlet of Kakisa, and representatives from the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) to study the physical and mental health impacts of 2014’s extreme forest fire season and the related costs to the healthcare system. Climate change is creating conditions in the North and across Canada that will make extreme forest fire seasons more common. Drier winters with less snowfall, low water levels, and warmer summers with more lightning storms all contribute to an elevated risk of forest fires during the summer months.

The health risks associated with climate change are many and varied, and the concurrent costs may be more than our system can handle. With the completion of this project we hope to show that climate change is impacting the health system and all of us. The summer of 2014 and the incredible smoke that blanketed the NWT, impacted people in many ways. Vulnerable populations had their physical health impacted by the smoke, but what was most captivating about the results of this project were the emotional and stress related affects throughout the population.

Ecology North and CAPE managed this mixed-method study researching the impacts on the health system, while at the same time asking ordinary NWT residents from four communities to make videos of their experiences in the Summer of 2014. The results show the wide impact that the forest fires had on the population.

The infographic below shows a narration of the Summer of Smoke against the air quality records of the season.20160120_timeline

Ecology North was also interested in how our air quality during the Summer of Smoke compared to the notoriously bad Air quality in Beijing, China. Check out the results:20160122_YK_vs_BJNG

Summer of Smoke – Interdisciplinary Mixed-Methods Research Project

Saturday, January 23, 2016 marked the first public showcase of preliminary results from the Summer of Smoke interdisciplinary mixed methods research project. We were incredibly lucky to have such a wealth of knowledge, experience, and initiative on the speaker’s panel. Much thanks goes out to Dr. Patrick Scott, former Yellowknives Dene chief Fred Sangris, Climate Change and our Lands in Film research coordinator Jessie MacKenzie, Dr. Courtney Howard of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, and Dr. James Orbinski of the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

We’d also like to thank everyone who made it out to the Chief Drygeese Centre to take part in this really amazing evening. For those of you who were unable to attend, rest assured that we will be hosting other Summer of Smoke events in the near future, and you can check out some videos from the evening below.

This project is made possible with funding from Health Canada.

Integrating Climate Change in Municipal Planning

Ecology North, Pembina and NWTAC have updated the Climate Change Guide for Community Decision Makers. This guide was developed to help communities mainstream climate change into all their decision-making processes. With ten chapters on everything from adaptation planning, hazard mapping, asset management to source water protection there is plenty of useful NWT specific information available.

The Guide is in its 3rd edition now, and Ecology North’s Craig Scott taught the first MACA School of Community Governance Course in Inuvik in February 2016. Thirteen community decision makers from the Beaufort and Gwich’in regions took the course. If you are interested in how you can bring climate change into your community’s planning processes you can download the guide, and student manual right here.

Click here to read the Integrating Climate Change in Municipal Planning – A Guide for Northern Communities

SOS: Lived experience of a record wildfire season in the Northwest Territories

In May 2018, Warren Dodd successfully published his paper titled Lived experience of a record wildfire season in the NWT, Canada in the Canadian Journal of Public Health. This qualitative paper is based on EN’s Summer of Smoke (SOS) project. Warren was an important member of the team who worked on this project and this paper outlines the qualitative results of this mixed-method study on the impacts of prolonged forest fire smoke on human health.

To view the paper through the Canadian Journal of Public Health, click here.

Carbon Pricing 101

What is a Carbon Tax? A fee placed on greenhouse gas pollution mainly from burning fossil fuels. Making it revenue-neutral means that funds raised go back into the pockets of taxpayers and businesses.

Carbon Tax in other Jurisdictions:

  • Sweden instituted a carbon tax in 1990. It is now at $100/tonne and has helped transform the Swedish Economy into an innovative green leader.
  • BC instituted a carbon tax in 2008, starting at $10/tonne and rising to $30/tonne. This revenue neutral tax has proven effective and popular, meanwhile the economy has not collapsed, but actually performed better than neighbours.
  • Alberta has announced carbon tax starting in 2017 at $20/tonne rising to $30/tonne in 2018.
  • Nationally 85% of Canada’s population will have some form of carbon pricing by 2017(either cap & trade or carbon tax), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested at the Vancouver Declaration that pricing options will be adapted to the specific circumstances of each province and territory. There will be an Autumn meeting to identify the mechanism each jurisdiction will take.
  • NWT is developing an updated Climate Change Strategy and are investigating the options for Carbon Pricing. Now is the time to make our voices heard!

Ecology North developed a discussion paper on an NWT carbon tax in the winter of 2016 that outlines recommendations for implementation, including: carbon tax background, recommendation for rates, options for taxation and the estimated impacts on people and businesses in NWT.

Ecology North recommends following Alberta’s lead and initiating a $20/tonne price on carbon rising to $30/tonne in short order. This tax would equate to:

Fuel Type$20/tonne$30/tonne
Gasoline, aviation fuel and diesel (incl. heating fuel)5.5 cents/litre8.3 cents/litre
Propane3.1 cents/litre4.6 cents/litre
Natural gas3.8 cents/litre5.8 cents/litre

One acknowledged drawback of a carbon tax is the inelastic demand of consumption to the price of fuel. Previous studies indicate this tax might reduce fuel use by approximately 5%. Therefore, we are recommending using a portion of the revenue to expand green energy solutions to reduce and replace fossil fuels and make a much greater impact. Another important consideration is protecting low income, and remote communities who have fewer options available to reduce emissions and the impact on the cost of living

A carbon tax will generate $18 to $32 million in annual revenue that would be recycled back into the economy by allocating half to tax cuts and rebates and half to energy efficiency and green energy investments. Green solutions would focus on energy efficiency, green financing and clean energy solutions implementable at a community scale (i.e. focusing on communities, small businesses and residents).

It is important to recognize that carbon pricing is just one step in the NWT’s transition to 100% green energy. We have already begun this transition, as leaders in biomass energy. Introducing a robust carbon tax will herald our arrival on the national stage, and show leadership for other northern jurisdictions.

What can you do to encourage a carbon tax in the NWT?

Learn more about what a carbon tax means, talk to your neighbours and friends about it. We must reverse negative publicity about this simple yet elegant redistribution of our tax dollars.

Contact your MLA (or better yet all MLAs):

Kevin O’ReillyKevin_O’
Robert C

The GNWT is currently consulting NWT residents about the 2017/18 budget. Let them know that you think a carbon tax is a good idea. Email:

For an in-depth look at carbon pricing in the north, and further resources, see: Carbon Pricing for the NWT – Discussion Paper