Mi’kmaq-designed software helps communities see how climate change could impact them

Software uses 3D modelling and environmental data to simulate effects of floods, wildfires

‘When you actually see the water at a particular height around the base of a house, that can sort of commit them to action,’ said 3D Wave Design co-founder Noah Stevens. (Nic Meloney/CBC)

Mi’kmaq-designed software that blends 3D modelling, laser scanning and environmental data is being developed to help communities in the Atlantic region prepare for the potential catastrophic results of climate change.

The online application, developed by 3D Wave Design, a Nova Scotia-based 3D animation and communications company, allows users to simulate conditions like storm surge, inland flooding and wildfires, using real environmental, meteorological and laser scanning data.

The simulations play out over 3D representations of real communities and use accurate geographic measurements, which could help communities plan for the worst.

“We can give them the ability to raise and lower water levels … allow them to set fires and control the wind speed and  direction, to see what’s at risk,” said 3D Wave co-founder Barry Stevens, a member of Acadia First Nation in Nova Scotia.

WATCH | Mi’kmaq designers create software that blends 3D modelling, laser scanning and environmental data 
Mi’kmaq-designed software that blends 3D modelling, laser scanning and environmental data is being developed to help communities in the Atlantic region prepare for the potential catastrophic results of climate change. 3:01

Stevens said being able to visualize what could happen to a community as a result of climate change can shape a person’s commitment to prepare for it, or stop it. It’s a perspective he’s had since he was young, he said.

“When I grew up I had a trap line, I hunted and fished … I was very much an outdoors person,” he said.

“I knew something was happening even before this climate change became a formal thing. Now I’m asking, why aren’t people taking this seriously? Why is there no action?”

Seeing the effects spurs action

“Typically most people are visual learners,” said co-founder and programmer Noah Stevens, Barry Stevens’s son.

“When you actually see the water at a particular height around the base of a house, that can sort of commit them to action. And also, if they’re looking at areas of interest that are being impacted, [they] can think about plans for mitigation,” he said.

Noah Stevens said the unique part of the software is the interpretation and simplified visual translation of all of the complex data.

‘I knew something was happening even before this climate change became a formal thing. Now I’m asking, why aren’t people taking this serious? Why is there no action,’ said 3D Wave Design Co-founder Barry Stevens. (Nic Meloney/CBC)


He uses reference points gathered by aircraft-mounted laser (or lidar) technology, layers it in a 3D space with satellite imagery, and then programs the conditions of water, wind and fire.

“We take all of the engineering studies and reports that have been done, we read it, we digest it, we put it back in the application,” Noah Stevens said.

The application, which he said can operate on most average mobile and desktop devices, also incudes links to emergency preparedness resources and educational material.

“Knowing that our technology and our application could help people mitigate the effects of climate change and understand the risk that’s involved makes me really happy, because it helps people actually do something about it instead of just talk about it.”

Barry Stevens said the company is working with Acadia First Nation and Nova Scotia coastal municipalities to enhance emergency measures and preparation for storm surge. SOURCE


David Suzuki: Conservation and climate action go together


We live on a changing planet. Unnaturally rapid global warming is altering everything, including lands and waters. Evidence shows we’ve already emitted enough greenhouse gases to alter the structure of ecosystems and interactions within them. Because many gases, such as carbon dioxide, remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, impacts to the planet will continue even if we stop all atmospheric emissions tomorrow.

Approaches to conservation are also changing in response to climate disruption. Protected areas were initially established primarily for the benefit of people: to preserve breeding grounds for game that hunters prefer or to optimize areas for human recreation. Over several decades, efforts have shifted toward prioritizing ecological integrity for Canada’s parks and recognizing the role of Indigenous leadership in conservation and stewardship.

Protected areas can be excellent climate-mitigation tools. Mature forests, peatlands, oceans, and marshes house significant carbon stores, while disturbing these ecosystems releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Evidence shows Earth is heating at an accelerating rate, outpacing the capacity of numerous plant and animal species to adapt. To safeguard biodiversity, protected-area planning has had to evolve to address the habitat changes brought by climate disruption.

This planning isn’t new. Twenty years ago, the World Wildlife Fund produced Buying Time: A User’s Manual for Building Resistance and Resilience to Climate Change in Natural Systems, based on the premise that strategic conservation measures could give nature breathing room until the transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy was complete.

“Climate change is happening now and nature is experiencing its impacts first,” the report says. “Whether one looks at coral reefs, mangroves, arctic areas, or montane regions, climate change poses a complex and bewildering array of problems for ecosystems. The key question is, what can be done—in addition to the rapid reduction of CO2 emissions now—to increase the resiliency of these ecosystems to climate change?”

The WWF team developed three broad approaches: protect adequate and appropriate space, limit all nonclimate stresses, and practise adaptive management and strategy-testing. Maintaining functional ecosystems and keystone species must be taken into consideration. Other stresses—like chemical pollutants, fragmentation by roads, and industrial activities—must be reduced. Conservation-method outcomes must be regularly assessed and recalibrated.

More recently, an article in the journal Environmental Research Letters explored “climate-wise connectivity”, natural-area connection “that specifically facilitates animal and plant movement in response to climate change”.

Climate-wise connectivity looks at a number of strategies for conservation planning amid the climate crisis as emergent ecosystems appear. These include increasing the amount of habitat conserved throughout the landscape, adding corridors between protected areas, creating small “stepping stones” of habitat, taking into account the pace of habitat change in different areas so that rapidly changing areas can be buffered by those changing at a slower velocity, and maintaining biologically rich hot spots.

Connectivity corridors that link conservation areas are, at heart, efforts to provide wildlife with pathways on their journeys to continued survival. The article notes that “geophysical features that create a diversity of microclimates are important to focus on as they can buffer the effects of climate change, giving species more opportunities and time to track the changing climate.”

As landscapes and our approaches to conserving them shift, so must our social systems. Climate justice and social justice are intricately linked. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has noted that climate change is disproportionately affecting the poor and most vulnerable, both internationally and within Canada, and will continue to do so.

Humans are part of nature. We form what some social scientists call a “social-ecological system“. We must also build resilience in our own lives and support others less fortunate than ourselves, as human resilience is shaped by many factors: where we live, our relationships with the land, at-hand government support systems, and our personal economic and social resources.

Activism is one way to foster resilience. It can help overcome despair. As people living in Canada, we must help shift social and economic structures to advance climate and ecological resilience. This includes advocating for the establishment of protected areas as tools to maintain carbon, supporting Indigenous-led conservation initiatives, and demanding justice for those displaced and impoverished by climate change, within our borders and without.

Singh says Prairie premiers ‘distracting’ from real issues, need to ‘do better’

Jagmeet Singh
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh speaks to reporters following a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says that clearly “people are feeling neglected” by Ottawa, but that the way the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan are going about raising those concerns are “distracting” from the “real” problems.

In an interview with Evan Solomon, host of CTV’s Question Period, Singh said that the issues and pressures Albertans and Saskatchewanians are facing are real, but are being felt in “many provinces.”

While discussing what his priorities will be for the new Parliament, including more action on climate change, Singh was asked about the ongoing conversation around western alienation and the requests being made by Premiers Jason Kenney and Scott Moe and what the NDP caucus’ response would be to the Liberals moving ahead with targeted measures for that region of the country.

“I want to see commitments at the federal level to help out those folks,” Singh said during a wide-ranging interview in which the NDP Leader also spoke about the intersection of his personal and spiritual beliefs, and why propping up the Liberal minority may be dependent on the promises in the throne speech.

“People are feeling neglected and ignored by Ottawa,” Singh said. “What Conservative premiers are doing is distracting from the real problem.”

He cited the health care and education systems, and the challenge in finding jobs as examples of the “real” issues.

Singh—who has just one elected MP in Alberta and none in Saskatchewan— opposes the Trans Mountain pipeline project that many in Alberta view as integral to their economic stability, and supports tougher environmental regulations.

As CTV Edmonton reported last week, Kenney announced that he would be creating a “Fair Deal Panel” to look into ending several arrangements with the federal government, including opting out of federal cost-share programs like a proposed pharmacare plan that Singh is a vocal proponent of; and enacting a system in which schools need provincial signoff before entering into federal government agreements.

In the interview Singh suggested that Alberta has to diversify its economy instead of doubling down on oil and gas. The Kenney government has previously said that becoming less dependent on oil and gas is a long-term initiative, though there have been steps taken.

“They need to do better,” Singh said.

“They need to be an economy that’s not subject to the whims of one commodity that might go up and down in price and that could completely upturn their economy,” Singh said. “What they need to do is this: They need to be committed to job creation, they need to be committed to making sure they have a diverse economy that creates real opportunities that aren’t subject to the global whims of a market that can go volatile up and down.”

Singh said he is open to looking at the equalization formula to make sure that it’s still working and fair.

“The future we know is a future where we’re fighting the climate crisis while creating jobs. There has to be a path that’s laid out where we show workers that there is a path to create jobs… that’s what people need to see and to hear and to feel, so that they’re not worried about their future,” Singh said.


In addition to action on climate change and job creation, Singh said that he wants to see “timelines” and “some real concrete commitments” for pharmacare and dental care in next month’s Liberal throne speech, otherwise he is prepared to vote against it.

“I want something concrete,” Singh said, downplaying questions of whether he is over exaggerating the bargaining position he will have in forth-party status, given the Bloc Quebecois’ indicated intention to work collaboratively with the Liberals so long as they stay out of provincial secularism matters.

Singh said it’s different to have the support of an NDP caucus that he says will be “fighting actively” for improvements to Liberal initiatives than the backing of a party that would just “not get in the way.”

“The Liberals can work with other people, there’s no question about it. The difference is that we’re actually fighting for things that Canadians want,” Singh said.


In light of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer being asked about his personal and religious views on social issues like same-sex marriage, Singh was asked whether as a Sikh he believes that being gay is a sin.


He was asked whether he supported same-sex marriage.

“Yes.. I support it all the way.”

And does he support the right of women to access abortion?

“Yes, absolutely, without any question.”

Singh said that his personal and religious beliefs are “completely aligned.”

“My beliefs spiritually are fully in line with supporting same-sex marriage, supporting a woman’s right to choose. I have no, any sort of ambiguity with my personal, spiritual beliefs,” Singh said.

Asked whether it was appropriate for these kinds of questions to be asked of federal leaders, Singh said that he thinks it gives people confidence in his stance.

“In my case, people can be very confident that both my spiritual, my personal, my beliefs as a leader are all in line with my values, which are to support a woman’s right to choose, which is to support same-sex marriage, which is to fight for equality and fairness for Canadians, so people can have that confidence with me.”


Action Alert: Take Action to Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change

Climate change is harming the mental and physical health of Canadians.
  • ast summer, millions in central Canada sweltered through a high number of days where the temperature exceeded 30C; these temperatures can be dangerous for populations such as seniors and those with chronic diseases, sending people to emergency rooms and sometimes to early deaths. To access our petition, click here.
  • Thousands in western and northern Canada have been evacuated from their homes in response to wildfires. Millions of others were exposed to high levels of air pollution as wildfire smoke blanketed communities hundreds of miles away.
  • For the last two summers, tens of thousands of people in New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario were exposed to floods. Many were cut off from safe water, food supplies, electricity and emergency services and suffered significant financial losses.
Globally, climate change is having a devastating impact on people around the world.

Extreme heat is making it hard for people to farm their land. Prolonged droughts are robbing regions of their drinking water and food supplies. Hurricanes, rising sea levels, and storm surges are threatening island states and coastal areas. In one year alone, the world was hit with 712 extreme weather events that produced US$326 billion in economic losses.

We need to act fast to stop catastrophic climate change.
The International Panel on Climate Change found that 2C of global warming would be devastating for ecological systems and human health, forcing hundreds of millions of people into poverty in the next few decades. To keep global warming from exceeding 1.5C we must cut global emissions by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030. We are not on track. Every fraction of a degree of warming matters. We must act now!


  1. Sign on to our Call to Action for Climate Change and Health. Developed by CAPE with other national health organizations, this is a call to action from health professionals across Canada to reduce our climate emissions by at least 45% by 2030. Click here to sign on.
  2. Send an email to your Member of Parliament. Let them know that you are worried about climate change; that we need urgent action to significantly reduce climate emissions across Canada. For email contact info, click here.
  3. Write a brief letter to the editor for your local paper. Express your fears about climate change; talk about how it is affecting the health and well-being of your family.
  4. Participate in one of the 100 Debates on the Environment being organized in communities across the country for the upcoming federal election. For info, click here.
  5. Participate in climate strikes being organized by Fridays for Future Canada. If you are a health professional, join the CAPE members who plan to support the student strikes on September 27th. For event info, click here.
  6. Sign on to the One Earth, One Vote Petition. To access the petition, click here.
  7. If you want to get more involved, check out CAPE’s Climate Change Toolkit for Health Professionals. It includes modules and factsheets with evidence-based information on climate change that you can use for submissions, workshops, action in your health care facilities, and action in your community. To access the toolkit, click here

CarbonWise: From caring to climate action

Climate Action Powell River

“Climate change isn’t an ‘issue’ to add to the list of things to worry about, next to health care and taxes. It is a civilizational wakeup call.” ~ Naomi Klein

If there is one thing that distinguishes us as human beings, it is our capacity to care. What makes human caring unique (and morally significant) is that we can develop into beings who care for non-human species, forests and oceans, indeed, for the planet itself.

No doubt you are thinking: “Well, if that is really true, then why have we done so many things that cause such great damage to the earth, and inflicted unnecessary pain and suffering on other animals?”

It is important to grasp here that the capacity to care, like any other human capability, must be nurtured, developed and strengthened through education, mentoring and in practical contexts of action.

When we experience sorrow, pain or loss in our lives and someone gives up their time to be there for us, we begin to grasp what it means to care. At a broader level, when we see others gathering together and engaged in community projects and initiatives that demonstrate love, caring and respect for the biosphere, the land and the water, we are captivated and motivated to act.

In a very real sense we become caring beings when we act in caring ways toward each other and the planet. We communicate the meaning of caring to others by recounting stories of people who embody it in their daily lives.

That we don’t often seem to act in a caring way toward the environment has a lot to do with the fact that since the industrial revolution, we have acquiesced to an economic system, which views our planet as nothing more than a “commodity,” or a means to the end of individual wealth, rather than a precious and fragile Earth that provides the very conditions of possibility for life itself.

What environmental science and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have made abundantly clear to us in the last year is that we need to care much more about our planet in the present for the sake of the future.

A new 39-minute documentary from the UK called The Race is On: Secrets and Solutions of Climate gives us a clue about what it means to care. It is both a sobering account of why governments avoid taking serious actions to mitigate climate warming, and an inspiring story of how we can rise to the challenge of climate disruption, encourage each other to care more and build a better future. Filmmaker and director of Global Sustainability Solutions Dr. James Dyke talks to leading scientists, economists, activists and entrepreneurs who not only understand what we need to do, but remind us that the solutions are out there; they are only waiting for us to act on them.

This documentary is online, free and available to all.

What we learn from it is that caring for our environment is not merely a feeling but more a way of acting toward the earth that demonstrates respect and love for the precious gift of life itself. SOURCE

The Race is On: Secrets and Solutions of Climate (2019)

From cleaner air to lower costs, people are discovering the benefits of climate action

(Juan Medina/Reuters)

Last week, Madrid reinstated a low-emissions zone in its city centre after protests from residents who got a taste of the benefits — lower air pollution and increased retail sales — and didn’t want to go back to smog and heavy traffic.

It was another sign that fighting climate change can have lots of positive side-effects, from green jobs to cleaner air to more livable cities. (It’s highlighted in an iconic cartoon by Joel Pett.)

It turns out those side-effects, known as co-benefits, can make reducing emissions a really great deal for the economy. By investing in fighting climate change, countries can potentially get benefits worth more to the economy and society than what they spend on reducing emissions.

One example is reduced deaths from pollution. When fossil fuels are burned, pollutants such as particulates and ozone are produced along with carbon dioxide. Halving greenhouse gas emissions between 2005 and 2050 would reduce premature deaths caused by air pollution by 20 to 40 per cent, the United Nations estimates.

While the payoff for reducing emissions is long-term and spread over the entire world, you can start enjoying some of the benefits now, right in your own community. And often, action to reduce emissions can help communities adapt to the impacts of climate change and vice versa.

Here’s a look at some examples of climate action and their co-benefits:

  • Renewable energy and energy efficiency. Tapping greener power sources, and just using less energy overall, leads to reduced pollution as well as cost savings.
  • Green fleets and transit. Cities such as Vancouver and Guelph, Ont., are switching their municipal vehicles to renewable fuels, hybrid-electric and electric vehicles, while other municipalities are looking at zero-emissions buses. Co-benefits include improved air quality and less noise.
  • Planting trees. A recent study found planting a trillion trees might be the single-most effective way to fight climate change. According to the World Bank, the co-benefits of reforestation can include job creation, soil conservation, reduction of erosion and conserving biodiversity. Urban tree planting can also improve air quality and reduce local air temperatures.
  • Emissions regulations. Caps on emissions, carbon taxes and other climate-related regulations can encourage technological innovation, leading to increased efficiency and cost savings, as well as jobs and spinoff effects as the technology is adopted by other sectors.

You can read more about the co-benefits of fighting climate change here.


Amnesty International awards its highest honour to Greta Thunberg and #FridaysForFuture climate movement

Greta Thunberg, 16, inspired other teenagers to hold school strikes to protest adults' lack of action in addressing the climate crisis.
Greta Thunberg, 16, inspired other teenagers to hold school strikes to protest adults’ lack of action in addressing the climate crisis. ANDERS HELLBERG

One of the world’s most influential and admired human rights organization is shining a spotlight on youths trying to save humanity on Earth.

Amnesty International has given its Ambassadors of Conscience 2019 award to Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg and the #FridaysForFuture movement.

Thunberg, 16, started going on strike from school last year on Fridays and holding protests outside the Swedish parliament to push legislators to take far more dramatic action to address the climate crisis.

She has inspired other students around the world, including in Vancouver, to hold their own Friday climate strikes.

“This is not my award, this is everyone’s award,” Thunberg said. “It is amazing to see the recognition that we are getting and know that we are fighting for something that is having an impact.”

Embedded video


They’re challenging us to confront realities of the climate crisis. They’re reminding us we’re more powerful than we know. They’re telling us to protect human rights against climate catastrophe. @GretaThunberg & are our Ambassadors of Conscience 2019.

Greens surge as parties make strongest ever showing across Europe

“We have to decide: are we a Europe that will defend democratic values, or just a collection of strong national states?” 

Party could hold balance of power in EU parliament with projected 71 MEPs

 Ska Keller, one of the European Greens’ two lead candidates for the post of European commission president. Photograph: Hayoung Jeon/EPA

Green parties have swept to their strongest ever showing in European elections, boosting their tally of MEPs to a projected 71 compared with 52 last time. The result gives them every chance of becoming kingmakers in a newly fragmented parliament.

“Thank you so much for your trust in us Greens,” a delighted Ska Keller, one of the European Greens’ two lead candidates for the post of European commission president, told a press conference in Brussels.

“This is a mandate for real change: for climate protection, a social Europe, more democracy and stronger rule of law.” Above all, Keller said, the Greens “want to achieve climate action now – because if we wait any longer, it will be a disaster”.

Any parliamentary group that wanted Green support would have to “deliver on our three key principles: climate action, civil liberties and social justice”, she said. “For us it’s clear: this is all about content.” MORE

Canadian children school adults about climate crisis

Students walked out of school to gather on the south lawn of Queens Park in Toronto to rally for climate change on March 15, 2019. Photo by Carlos Osorio

Twelve-year-old Roy Bateman already knows what he’d say if he met Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

“I wouldn’t go up and scream in his face,” he says matter-of-factually. “I would ask him why he’s not taking climate action. Why he cancelled cap and trade and why he thinks this is good.”

Bateman pauses. “If he replies with ‘economy’ as the reason, I’d ask if he was thinking short-term or long-term. Because I think his answer would be short- term.”

“He just doesn’t get it. There are no jobs on a dead planet.”

Batemen was one of thousands of Canadian students striking Friday with a global call for action on climate change. They join thousands of their peers in more than 100 countries, led by the now Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Greta Thunberg.

Many of them had been preparing for weeks, doing their own research so that they could understand and speak to the rest of the population about specific topics such as carbon pricing and the UN’s recent dire warnings in a scientific assessment that said the world had less than 12 years to take action needed to avoid some of the worst impacts of climate change. MORE

Ontarians are voicing dissent by the thousands. Take Action!

windmill on grass field during golden hour
Photo: Karsten Würth (@inf1783)

While the provincial government continues to roll back progress made on environmental protection, Ontarians have made it clear that the vast majority want decisive climate action.

Before the government passed legislation to eliminate the cap-and-trade system, a consultation process received 11,000 comments with more than 99 per cent in support of putting a price on harmful emissions and maintaining the cap-and-trade system that supports investment and clean energy job creation.

It’s unacceptable for the government to scrap a program that has such overwhelming public support. Tell the government that its new weakened environment and climate plan fails to protect Ontarians from climate risk and sets us on a dangerous path of missed economic, energy and job-creation opportunities.

You can have the biggest impact by calling your MPP. We can help make that easy. CALL YOUR MPP HERE


Listening to Dissenting Voices
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