Job Creation with a Green Touch

Across British Columbia, Environmental Organizations and Labour Unions are working together to promote the bold idea of a Green Jobs plan.

GreenJobs BC is hosting a forum on Retrofits February 10th, 2012 in Vancouver. Our research shows that they are one of the fastest way to reduce greenhouse gases. You can read our report, “This Green House: Building Fast Action for Climate Change and Green Jobs”, here.

Paid in Full (Update)

An updated study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows that university graduates more than pay off the cost of their undergraduate degrees: degrees mean higher incomes, which mean higher taxes paid into the public treasury. These two infographics from the study help explain their calculations. Read the full report here.

INFOGRAPHIC: Who pays for university education in BC? INFOGRAPHIC: How should we pay for university education in BC?

Report on Leaked CETA Documents shows threat to Water Services

A briefing note on recently leaked CETA documents shows that Canada and the provinces are failing to protect drinking water and wastewater services from trade rules that would encourage and lock in privatization. In contrast, the EU’s CETA offer specifically protects it’s own water and wastewater services.

To read the full report from the Council of Canadians and Canadian Union of Public Employees, click here.

Getting a Say in the City’s Budget

This past year, city councils in Toronto and Calgary initiated Participatory Budgeting processes, to allow citizens more of a voice about where their city’s money goes. In Calgary 23,000 people took part in the process.

Other communities, such as Victoria, are watching closely and talking about possibilities for engaging their citizens.

Participatory Budgeting is being used in over 1200 municipalities globally, most strongly in Brazil, where the city of Porto Alegre has been involving citizens in the whole budgeting process since 1989.

Read more about Participatory Budgeting in Victoria here.  

Canada is a hot spot of ecological change

A report by NASA has shows  Canada, in particular the prairies and northern boreal forests are areas of severe ecological stress. These regions and in particular the transition zone between them will likely see a dramatic change and loss in species in less than 100 years. The red hot spots are areas “where 100 per cent of the landscape is predicted to see major changes in plant species.” Read more at CBC. 

Deregulated electricity costs Albertans more

A decade ago, Alberta allowed consumers the option of buying electricity from private companies. Those that took the plunge, roughly 30% of Albertans, are now facing significantly higher energy costs than those who stuck with the provincial regulated option. In some cases, energy costs are double what the public sector is charging. Read more in the Edmonton Journal. 

Vancouver Health Authority wants to expand safe-injection sites

Vancouver Coastal Health is considering offering safe injection services at medical clinics throughout the region. The recent ruling by the Supreme Court that ruled the current injection site, Insite, saves lives and that medical staff and users could not be prosecuted should make it easier to start such a program. Read more in the Globe and Mail. 

Fresh roots bring healthy food and hands on learning to Vancouver Schools

A Vancouver organization, Fresh Roots is working with schools to develop “market gardens.” The gardens provide food to the cafeteria and to culinary programs, but are also used as a learning tool in curriculum. Known benefits of school-based food programs include, a decrease in bullying and vandalism, improved nutrition and academic scores, greater community connections and support for local farmers. Read more in the Courier. 

Prairie weather unseasonably warm

Temperatures across the Prairies have been in the double digits and the warm weather is expected to continue. While some are enjoying the weather, the change in climate is creating problems for many northern communities, where ice roads are not even close to being completed. Communities may have to rely on food and other stables being flown in at great expense. Read more in The Star. 

BC scraps plan to reduce GHG emissions by one third by 2020

The BC government’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one third will not be attainable if plans for three new liquid nitrogen plants go through. While the first two will be powered by electricity the third and the largest one, will be fueled by natural gas. The government has said it hopes to stores emissions underground, but carbon sequestering is still in the developmental stages. Read more at the CBC. 

Finland’s education system values equality over excellence

Finland’s education system was reformed in the 1980’s with a singular goal in mind, to provide all students regardless of economic or social background or geographic with the opportunity to learn. Schools provide meals, healthcare, guidance and counseling. Despite requiring far less homework than in other countries and despite having a large focus on play, students are performing exceptionally well on international education tests. In fact, Finish scores are typically at the top of the list. There are no private schools in Finland, nor is there competition between schools for ratings. In fact, the goal of Finnish schools is “not excellence. It is equity.” Read more in the Atlantic.