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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
In 2021, Nature Canada conducted a study on race and nature and found that lower rates of participation by racialized groups in nature across Canada and the United States stemmed from a number of reasons, including the psychological discomfort of being in spaces seen as unfriendly or unwelcoming. Enter Colour the Trails, a collective of BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ adventure seekers based in B.C. with a chapter now operating in Ontario, which aims to make nature more welcoming to marginalized communities.
“People say hiking is just hiking and canoeing is just canoeing. But when everyone in that space is white, the dominant culture is white,” Priya Moraes, the leader of Colour the Trails’ Brampton, Ont., chapter, told The Globe this week. “For me, I would rather just create spaces for ourselves to begin with. … This is by the BIPOC community, for the BIPOC community. And we no longer have to mould ourselves into what whiteness expects of us. We can see ourselves in that space.”
Colour the Trails just led its first rafting expedition in Brant, Ont., with many participants taking to the water for the first time. And the group’s community is growing. “A lot of people just need that first step,” Moraes said, “for someone to say ‘you’re welcome and there’s more people like you.’ ”
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- B.C. wildfires: Fires south of Penticton prompted evacuation alerts for hundreds of interior residents over the weekend.
- Natural gas: The cost estimate for the Coastal GasLink pipeline has soared, hitting $11.2-billion, up 70 per cent. Also: Enbridge is investing US$1.5-billion for a 30-per-cent stake in the Woodfibre LNG terminal in British Columbia.
- Flooding: As more Canadians purchase flood insurance, those in higher risk areas, particularly those in B.C., are facing hurdles.
- Books: Four new releases look at the complex, complicated, integral ecological relationship between trees and fungi.
- Transportation: In Vancouver’s Stanley Park, a proposal to replace a lane of traffic with a permanent bike lane has been met with resistance from some locals.
- From The Narwhal: The Ontario government wants the Ring of Fire, a region in Ontario’s far north, to be a mining hub. Here’s everything you need to know about the push.
A deeper dive
The future of coal mining in Crowsnest Pass
Kyler Zeleny is a documentary photographer based in Alberta. For this week’s deeper dive, he talks about his reporting on the future of Crowsnest Pass’ coal mine.
My story on metallurgical coal in Crowsnest Pass, Alta., started with a series of premises. Firstly, coal, although on outdated energy source, is still required in great quantities by the global economy. Secondly, the positions of folks in resource towns are rarely considered as we continue our onward march into energy progressivism. These premises lead to a series of questions and a local-first approach to understanding the production side of non-renewables like coal.
As a documentary photographer based in Alberta, I’ve been drawn to The Pass: its mixture of leisure and industry, its natural beauty, and its equally bountiful potential. I had seen The Pass enter the news cycle but rarely was any attention paid to the conditions facing its citizenry.
This piece was then written to remedy this: to provide voice to those who may not necessarily be voiceless but nonetheless who have been overlooked. It was an attempt to detail what coal means for this community at the community level. The aim was to give balance and to humanize the conversation about coal production. This is an approach I advocate for with any story about a resource that sustains a community.
Of course, this requires a greater detail of investigation. This means meeting with locals in bars, having coffees with them at the local Legion, standing in sub-zero water with them while they flyfish, and even more radical an approach: corresponding with them after a story is released to ensure that they do not at any point feel left behind.
What else you missed
- Pope Francis’ recent visit to Nunavut drew attention to the effects of climate change in the region
- A fossil of a 560-million-year-old creature, believed to be the first animal predator, has been named after David Attenborough
- Western wildfires may be exacerbated by new weather patterns, including powerful winds and high heat
- Extreme weather as a result of climate change has many Canadian weather broadcasters changing their on-air tone
- According to a recently published paper, the first humans may have arrived in B.C.’s oil sands region at least 11,000 years ago.
Opinion and analysis
Linda Nazareth: Climate change will have an indelible impact on the future of work
Peter McKenna: The U.S.’s freshwater crisis could lead Washington to look northward. Is Canada ready to quench its thirst?
Grant Bishop: Ottawa’s proposed oil and gas emissions cap is economically and constitutionally questionable
Peter Laufer: Could genetically modified milkweed save the monarch butterfly?
Candace MacGibbon: Our allies need more access to Canada’s natural resources
In 2022, financial policing resulting in real consequences battered the ESG world, following a massive flood of capital into investments promising righteousness with returns. Tesla’s Elon Musk was among the corporate leaders who pushed back against sustainable investing, resulting in doubts cast over the future viability of ESG investing.
But, as Jeffrey Jones writes this week, Canada’s institutional investors aren’t giving up on weighing ESG factors when building their portfolios. In fact, they’re doubling down: With increased regulatory scrutiny of ESG claims, and fines now being levelled for greenwashing, investors are demanding more and better environmental and social data from companies. And while the type of enforcement seen towards ESG claims in the U.S. and Europe has yet to pan out in Canada, the fact that it’s happening abroad highlights the need for companies and their investors at home to build up in-house technical expertise on non-financial risks, such as those related to companies’ environmental initiatives.
There is no better example of this type of investor attitude than the recent formation of Climate Engagement Canada, a coalition of Canadian investor groups that has targeted 40 high-emitting companies. “It’s isn’t just, ‘I’m in because it’s hot and exciting,” says Milla Craig, founder of Montreal-based ESG consultancy Millani. “There are expectations. In order to get our capital, you need to demonstrate what the plan is, and you need to execute on that plan – the same way you would on your financials.”
- Also: Extreme heat is a wake-up call for investors on infrastructure
We will be taking a break from publishing profiles this summer! But we’re still looking for great people to feature. Get in touch with us to have someone included in our “making waves” section for after Labour Day.
Do you know an engaged individual? Someone who represents the real engines pursuing change in the country? Email us at GlobeClimate@globeandmail.com to tell us about them.
Photo of the week
Guides and Explainers
- Want to learn to invest sustainably? We have a class for that: Green Investing 101 newsletter course for the climate-conscious investor. Not sure you need help? Take our quiz to challenge your knowledge.
- We've rounded up our reporters' content to help you learn about what a carbon tax is, what happened at COP 26, and just generally how Canada will change because of climate change.
- We have ways to make your travelling more sustainable and if you like to read, here are books to help the environmentalist in you grow, as well as a downloadable e-book of Micro Skills - Little Steps to Big Change.
Catch up on Globe Climate
- Climate-related migration in Peru’s Amazonas region leads to community upheaval
- What does the future hold for ESG?
- How last year’s B.C. wildfires hit home for artist Brian Jungen
- 30,000 years of climate history on Mount Logan
- Bringing the climate fight to your kitchen