COMBATTING CLIMATE CHANGE
An end to coal
Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel. It contributes to climate change, poor air quality, many illnesses — including asthma — and rising health-care costs.
Your support launched a campaign to eliminate all Canadian coal power plants. Tens of thousands of people sent letters to government through our “say no to coal” online action. On November 21, 2016 we hand-delivered an anti-coal letter – on behalf of more than 34,000 people! – to Parliament Hill.
Two hours later, the federal government announced a plan to free Canada from conventional coal-fired electricity by 2030. This action, combined with Alberta’s climate plan commitment, will eliminate about eight per cent of Canada’s carbon footprint nationwide and save nearly 1,000 lives.
This is a major win for public health, the environment and the economy. Between 2016 and 2035, it’s projected to save more than $5 billion in health-care costs!
A national price on carbon
Putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions is a powerful tool for combatting climate change. It makes clean technology more affordable and polluting technologies more expensive.
Thanks to donors like you, we helped British Columbia lead the way on carbon pricing — back in 2008. Now the federal government has seen the benefits. On October 3, 2016 Canada introduced a national carbon price.
A strong price on carbon will also reduce smog, save lives and reduce the risk of diseases such as asthma. And it will help create thousands of jobs in the clean energy economy!
Without funding, buses, subways and bike lanes can’t keep up with population growth and the quality of service declines. Frustrated, people go back to driving their cars and traffic congestions increases.
For Canada to meet its climate targets, we need more public transit.
Governments make promises to build transit infrastructure. Thanks to your support, we’re holding decision-makers’ feet to the fire.
In November, the federal government announced plans to spend $25.3 billion over the next 11 years to improve and expand public transit infrastructure.
This is well beyond the $2 billion in annual investments we’ve called for in the past! This is a major win that will cut traffic congestion, reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable development in major Canadian cities.
And your support also helped push the city of Toronto to develop a bike lane on Bloor Street, a major traffic artery, as a pilot project last summer. So far it’s working! Survey results found bicycles were 43 per cent of total traffic in a one-hour period and bike traffic was up 75 per cent from the same period last year, when the lanes didn’t exist.
SECURING ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS
As you may already know, more than 100 nations recognize the right to live in a healthy environment. But not Canada. Thanks to you, we are well on our way to changing that!
In the two short years since the Blue Dot movement launched:
- More than 105,000 people from across Canada have signed the Blue Dot pledge.
- Some 25,000 volunteers are on the ground gathering support.
- An astonishing 146 communities — representing some 15 million people (about 40 per cent of the country’s population!) — have passed environmental rights declarations.
With your help, we’ve made tremendous progress on the road to achieving our long-term goal: enshrining environmental rights and responsibilities into Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
When we’re done, you and every other person in Canada will have the legal right to clean air, safe water, healthy food, abundant ecosystems and a say in decisions that affect your health and well-being.
Here are a few examples of environmental wins achieved by Blue Dot teams in 2016:
The Camrose, Alberta Blue Dot team held environmental rights conversations with citizens and their elected representatives.
- Council passed the declaration and then they cited it as a reason for putting solar panels on the local arena roof!
- The Prince Edward Island Blue Dot team achieved their environmental rights declaration and are now involved in amending PEI’s Water Act!
- The Regina, Saskatchewan Blue Dot volunteers are working hard hosting events and canvassing citizens to have local council sign the declaration. Council has deferred the vote twice and will debate again in 2017.
Strenthening environmental rights in Ontario
The Ontario government asked for input to update its incomplete Environmental Bill of Rights. The Blue Dot team capitalized on this once-in-a-generation opportunity to:
- Meet with members of provincial parliament from across the political spectrum
- Organize local events using cutting-edge digital tools to increase their reach
- Co-host a reception on Parliament Hill with Ecojustice for more than 45 members of Ontario’s provincial parliament
- Raise awareness and interest in every region of the province through the work of 400 volunteers
- Engage more than 12,000 people to write to Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray via our website and campaign postcards
You already know monarch butterflies are in trouble. Planting milkweed throughout their migratory range is the single most important thing we can do to help them.
This year we distributed thousands of milkweed plants and hundreds of thousands of seeds into the hands of people across the country. When they bloom, they’ll help welcome threatened monarch butterflies returning to Canada this spring.
Aiming to be Canada’s most monarch-friendly city — Markham, Ontario passed a unanimous declaration supporting the butterflies. Markham’s supporting our Monarch Manifesto (already more than 13,000 strong!) and #GotMilkweed campaigns. And it’s creating the world’s first municipal “Milkweed Nursery” in Milne Dam Conservation Park.
Meanwhile, bee populations in Canada are also in decline and tens of thousands of people agree it’s time to ban bee-killing pesticides in Canada. We’re tracking the evidence linking neonicotinoid pesticides to pollinator deaths and going to court to protect them. We’re working to ban these harmful pesticides nationwide.
We are also bringing pollinators flowers! Thanks to your support, this past summer our Homegrown National Park Project volunteers planted wildflowers in schools, parks and along residential streets. They created more native plant canoe gardens and made city lanes bloom.
Foundation senior research scientist Scott Wallace’s work on the trawl fishery was recognized when Canada’s Pacific Groundfish Trawl Habitat Agreement — a global precedent negotiated between fishers and environmental groups to address the impact of bottom trawling on sensitive seafloor habitats — won the Coastal Ocean Award for Significant Achievement in Aquatic Conservation.
People need to know if their seafood is what they think it is! Your support helped us release Taking Stock: Sustainable Seafood in Canadian Markets with our partners, noting weak government labelling and traceability requirements. The report identifies specific problems and areas where the seafood supply chain can improve sustainability.
Thanks to you, Camp Suzuki 2 was another resounding success! The camp, located on Gambier Island in the heart of B.C.’s spectacular Howe Sound, aims to inspire the next generation of environmental leaders. We hosted 42 young adults and 55 children over two weeks. Participants spent time outdoors learning about nature and how to protect it for future generations.
And when the federal Oceans Protection Plan was released and it turned out to be more about increasing marine shipping and development than protecting the ocean, more than 22,000 people wrote to the prime minister to tell him he had missed the boat!
Wolves and coyotes
In response to dwindling moose populations, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry wanted to weaken regulations, making it easier for anyone with a small game license to hunt wolves and coyotes. With our partners, we argued that science doesn’t support predator control as a long-term way to manage prey populations. You helped Foundation supporters send almost 10,000 messages opposing the Ministry’s proposal and in a rare move, it rescinded the regulations.
Supporting Indigenous-led conservation
Thanks to you, we also worked to support Indigenous communities to ensure that the biodiversity values they hold dear are identified and maintained through provincial planning processes. We’re supporting the Doig River and Saulteau First Nations identification of valued ecological components of their traditional territories, which will feed into the Regional Strategic Environmental Assessment (RSEA) process that pertains to fracking in the Peace Valley, B.C. The RSEA creates a space for Indigenous communities to identify places that they want to be off limits to industrial activity.
We worked with Blueberry First Nations to map the alarmingly high level of industrial activity in its traditional territory, in an Atlas of Cumulative Disturbance in the Traditional Territory of Blueberry First Nations, 2016. A startling 73 per cent of Blueberry River First Nations traditional territory is within 250 metres of an industrial disturbance. The report is being used by the Blueberry First Nations in negotiations with government.
Our report Madziih (caribou) Tsáá? ché ne dane Traditional Knowledge and Restoration Study profiles the traditional knowledge of Doig River First Nation elders. Interviews with elders identified places where boreal caribou used to roam and calve in their traditional territory, and made the case that these areas should be prioritized for restoration. The report advances Indigenous leadership in ecological restoration and puts traditional knowledge on par with the Western science that has, to date, informed caribou recovery.
These successes are your successes. We couldn’t achieve them without you and others who care.
We have our work cut out for us in 2017! We’ll keep working on advancing creative solutions towards Canada’s sustainable future.
Thank you for helping us build this future.