Earth Week

Since 2008, Ecology North has established a tradition of organizing a week-long celebration around International Earth Day, which is held yearly on April 22nd. Ecology North hosts a wide variety of Earth-friendly programming, workshops and events each year in Yellowknife, as well as various communities over the years including Inuvik, Enterprise, Hay River, Kakisa, Fort Simpson, and Lutsel K’e in the NWT.

As per tradition, Ecology North also coordinates the Coffee House Live & Silent Auction as our annual fundraising event.

For more details on the next Earth Week event, please check out the calendar of events page on our website.

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 were live-streamed throughout January and February, 2020 and included presentations from some of the North’s best climate leaders. This carbon free format also allows for participants to watch and re-watch the recorded live-streams. Recordings can be found below, or by clicking here.

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


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 brings a hopeful message of how the north can, and must, take an active leadership role in climate action. 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) lead us on a journey to discover how the NWT can, and should, take a place in the international climate sphere.

Watch Climate Action Training Session 6 – Northern Leadership

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:

Networking

  • 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:

Industry

  • 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.

Research

  • 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: http://www.climateleaders.ca/


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.

Summer of Smoke

Background

Ecology North worked 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 Yellowknife air quality records of the season.

Ecology North was also interested in how Yellowknife’s air quality during the Summer of Smoke compared to the notoriously bad air quality in Beijing, China. Check out the results below.

Summer of Smoke – Interdisciplinary Mixed-Methods Research Project

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; Fred Sangris, former Chief of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation; Jessie MacKenzie, Climate Change and our Lands in Film research coordinator; Dr. Courtney Howard of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment; and Dr. James Orbinski of the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

This project is made possible with funding from Health Canada.

Carbon Pricing in the NWT

Ecology North developed this discussion paper on territorial carbon pricing in February 2016, prior to the implementation of the territorial Carbon Tax in 2019.

Th people and businesses in NWT.

Click below to read the report:

Carbon Pricing for the NWT


In July of 2017, the Government of the Northwest Territories released a carbon pricing discussion paper titled Implementing Pan-Canadian Carbon Pricing in the Northwest Territories. Ecology North provided comments on this discussion paper in September of 2017

Click below to read the comments:

On the implementation of a carbon tax in the Northwest Territories: recommendations

The Permafrost of Peel Plateau

The Peel River Plateau region of the NWT is experiencing some of the most dramatic climate change impacts in the world. Warming winter temperatures and increasing summer rainfall are causing large tracts of land to melt and slump, releasing massive quantities of sediment into rivers and lakes. Scientists working with the NWT’s Cumulative Impacts Monitoring Program are seeking to understand the extent of the changes and their implications for the region and its people.

Christine Wenman spent a week in Ft McPherson NWT filming these scientists at work. The short documentary that was produced features interviews with the scientists as well as local residents who contributed to the research. The film will be available online when it has completed a run of independent festivals.  Watch this space.

Integrating Climate Change into Municipal Planning

Ecology North, the Pembina Institute, and the NWT Association of Communities have created and updated a Climate Change Guide for Community Decision Makers, which is now in it’s third edition. 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.

If you are interested in how you can bring climate change into your community’s planning processes you can download the guide, below.

Click below to read the Guide for Northern Communities:

Integrating Climate Change Measures into Municipal Planning and Decision-Making

Biodiesel Project

In 2009, Yellowknife resident Daniel Gillis began experiments to create biodiesel and use it in his diesel truck and oil stove. Dan surveyed Yellowknife restaurants in early 2010 to determine that about 84,000 litres of used vegetable oil was being produced and landfilled each year. In September of 2010, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) and Government of the Northwest Territories – Environment and Natural Resources (GNWT-ENR) agreed to fund an expanded biodiesel project that would include renting an appropriate facility and producing biodiesel as a pilot project with the intent of the project eventually becoming a self-sustaining business. This funded project officially began in October 2010. The goals of the project were to create an alternative home heating fuel, divert used vegetable oil (UVO) from the landfill, create a feasible business model, and pass the knowledge of the project on to others.

Restaurants in Yellowknife produced approximately 84,000 litres of waste vegetable oil in 2010.  Funded by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency in 2011, Ecology North worked with Dwayne Wohlgemuth to conduct research to find out how feasible it would be to transform this waste oil into biodiesel for use in diesel powered vehicles.  The study found that burning used vegetable oil in boilers to heat buildings was a more economically feasible solution to the problem. If you’d like  to know more about this project you can read and download the final report here.

Click below to view the report:

Feasibility of Biodiesel Production and Direct Use of Used Vegetable Oil for Heating in the City of Yellowknife

Fort McPherson Adaptation Planning Project

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.

Tetl’it Zheh Climate Change Adaptation Plan – This report is based on a series of community climate change workshops hosted in Tetl’it Zheh in 2010 and 2011. It includes climate change concerns and next steps for the community.

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

Fort McPherson Community Profile – This document provides basic historical, geographic, and demographic information about Tetl’it Zheh.

Tetl’it 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.