The most significant news story of 2018: the ongoing Trans Mountain saga remains top of mind and critical for many people.

If you didn’t know, now you’ll know.

Image result for Grand chief Stewart Phillip saluted Marilyn Slett, Heiltsuk elected chief councillor,
On Oct. 10, 2018, Grand chief Stewart Phillip saluted Marilyn Slett, Heiltsuk elected chief councillor, after the Heiltsuk Nation filed a claim against the government and Kirby Corporation for damages caused by a devastating oil spill. Photo by Michael Ruffolo

A lot of historic moments with lasting impacts took place in British Columbia over the past year. First Nations communities celebrated groundbreaking court victories with national implications, won awards for clean energy leadership, and took reconciliation efforts into their own hands.

This National Observer series, First Nations Forward, is dedicated to shedding a light in what can feel like a dark era of increasing climate change, fake news, and divisive politics, by emphasizing the many stories of success and sovereignty taking place across the province. Every story of a trailblazing individual, Nation or collaboration tells a larger tale of resiliency, leadership and foresight that may be remembered for generations to come. MORE

High time for a green jobs strategy in Ontario

Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks to reporters at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Nov. 19, 2018. Photo by Cole Burston

Prominent environmental and labour organizations in Ontario have been proposing the creation of an Ontario green jobs strategy for some time now, and a recent report by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario suggested investment in education and training is needed to capitalize on economic opportunities of clean tech innovation. For example, building retrofits and green construction is an area of growing demand that can provide good work opportunities in the Greater Toronto Area for skilled workers.

However, Ontario’s new climate change plan does not invest in enhancing labour capacity in green industries. This is a crucial omission: economic and consumer trends already indicate a need to adapt to growth in emerging green industries. MORE

Spread of invasive species in Canada costs billions

Northern leopard frogs in B.C. threatened by bullfrogs, while hogweed runs wild, choking out native plants

Endangered northern leopard frogs, native to British Columbia, are at risk of being pushed out by voracious bullfrogs, an invasive species that experts say is one of many that puts native Canadian plants and animals at risk. (Calgary Zoo/Canadian Press)

For two decades experts have been carefully nursing a community of endangered northern leopard frogs in B.C.’s Kootenay region but invasive bullfrogs and fish threaten to muscle in, potentially swallowing years of work.

So not only do invasive species take over our natural environment, they actually threaten species at risk
– Gail Wallin, Canadian Council on Invasive Species

…Invasive species like giant hogweed, zebra mussels and knot weed can overwhelm entire ecosystems, stripping lakes, valleys and cities of wildlife and vegetation. MORE

Canada’s Largest Net Zero Energy Building Opens in Ontario

Canada’s Largest Net Zero Energy Building Opens in Ontario, The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation. Image © Ema Peters via B+H Architects

Canada’s largest net-zero energy building has opened in Hamilton, Ontario. The Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation at Mohawk College was designed by B+H and McCallum Sather Architects to embody environmental technologies aimed at reducing the building’s carbon footprint. The Joyce Centre is one of 16 pilot projects selected by the Canada Green Building Council’s new Zero Carbon Building Standard. A net-zero footprint facility, the building was made to demonstrate Mohawk’s vision to be a center for environmental leadership.

Located at the college’s Fennell campus, the project builds on Mohawk’s applied research strengths in three focus areas: health, energy and technology.  Leveraging existing and new partnerships, the space focuses on technologically advanced learning and lab spaces, all under one roof. The Joyce Center includes state-of-the-art labs, workshops, lecture theaters, and industry training centers. The $54 million project is powered by solar energy. MORE