On December 6, 2019 the Real Estate Foundation of BC announced a $68,000 grant to support a climate action education initiative for the Southern Gulf Islands. The Islands Trust (IT), the Capital Regional District (CRD) and the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council have all declared a climate emergency for these Islands.

The islands and the surrounding waters are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change including drought impacting food production, seasonal water shortage and wildfire risk along with shoreline erosion from sea level rise and coastal storm surges that cause disruptive power outages.

The Foundation grant provides substantial support for the EÁĆES Climate Action Project, a new education initiative that will identify and promote climate action strategies to respond to the climate emergency now facing the Southern Gulf Islands. Three five-day (30 hour) intensive climate action courses will be offered at Poets Cove Resort in February-March 2020.

  • Indigenous perspectives on eco-cultural revitalization (Feb. 10-14)
  • Youth Leadership for climate action in the Southern Gulf Islands (March 2-6)
  • Climate change in the Salish Sea archipelago  (Feb. 17-21)

The project is coordinated by the Southern Gulf Islands Community Resource Centre (SGICRC) in cooperation with the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council and the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board.  It brings a unique and innovative approach to climate action education combining current climate science with W̱SÁNEĆ Traditional Knowledge to provide a holistic perspective to climate action education.

The Southern Gulf Islands are an integral part of traditional homeland of the W̱SÁNEĆ people. EÁĆES, the W̱SÁNEĆ name for the Southern Gulf Islands, refers back to the creation story for the islands and the reciprocal stewardship role that W̱SÁNEĆ traditional law requires.  As Tsawout First Nations Chief Dr. Nick Claxton points out:

The SENĆOŦEN word for these Islands, ṮEṮÁĆES translates as “Relatives of the Deep” reflecting our creation story for the Islands. The Islands, our relatives, have provided a way of life for our people for thousands of years and W̱SÁNEĆ law creates a reciprocal relationship of care between W̱SÁNEĆ and ṮEṮÁĆES.

The Real Estate Foundation grant provides funding to support W̱SÁNEĆ participation in each of the three courses in recognition of their obligation to care for these islands.  The grant also provides sponsorship for Gulf Island youth and young adults to participate in the Youth Leadership for Climate Action course in early March.

 

For more information about the EÁĆES Climate Action Project visit the Community Resources website at https://www.sgicommunityresources.ca/climate-action-project/.

 

For any questions on this project contact:

  • Paul Petrie  SGI CRC project co-coordinator at: pmpetrie@shaw.ca  250-589-5436
  • Tye Swallow W̱SÁNEĆ project co-coordinator at: tye@saec.ca 250-652-2313

The Anglican Parish of Pender and Saturna Islands has set up a bursary fund to support youth participation in the 5-day climate action course — “Youth Leadership For Climate Action in the Southern Gulf Islands.”  The youth leadership course is one of the three courses offered as part of the EÁĆES Climate Action Project.

The Project is being administered by the Southern Gulf Islands Community Resource Centre (SGICRC) to respond to the climate emergency for the Gulf Islands declared by the Islands Trust, the Capital Regional District and the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council.   Initial funding for the project has been provided by the Capital Regional District, the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board, and the SGICRC.  Additional grant funding is being sought to cover curriculum development and delivery in February and March 2010.

Donations to the Bursary Fund will cover course expenses for Southern Gulf Islands and W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations youth and young adults (ages 15-30) to participate in this course.  Donations over $20 will receive a charitable tax receipt.”

Donations for “Youth leadership for climate action” can be mailed to:

Anglican Parish of Pender and Saturna Islands
EÁĆES Climate Action Project
4703 Canal Road, Pender Island, BC V0N 2M1

Or made online at:

https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/the-parish-of-pender-and-saturna-islands/
(On the dropdown menu select: “EÁĆES Climate Action Project”)

For more information please contact: Paul Petrie, course coordinator at pmpetrie@shaw.ca

The Islands Trust (IT), the Capital Regional District (CRD) and the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council have all declared a climate emergency for the Southern Gulf Islands. These islands and the surrounding waters are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change including drought, seasonal water shortage and wildfire risk along with shoreline erosion from sea level rise and coastal storm surges.

So, what do we do about it?

The ṮEṮÁĆES Climate Action Project is a new education initiative that will identify and promote climate action strategies to respond to the climate emergency now facing the Southern Gulf Islands. Three five-day (30 hour) intensive climate action courses will be offered in February-March 2020 to braid W̱SÁNEĆ Traditional Knowledge with current climate science to address the emerging climate emergency now facing the ṮEṮÁĆES (pronounced Tlu,tlay,chus), the Southern Gulf Islands.

This project was launched in May 2019 at gathering of W̱SÁNEĆ First Nation elders and leaders together with Southern Gulf Islands community leaders and climate activists. What is both unique and innovative about the ṮEṮÁĆES Project is that it weaves current climate science with W̱SÁNEĆ Traditional Knowledge to provide a holistic approach to climate action education.

The curriculum frameworks for these courses were reviewed at a 2-day symposium in October by 46 representatives from the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nation and Gulf Islands representatives. Details of the following courses are available on the CRC website: https://www.sgicommunityresources.ca

  • Indigenous perspectives on eco-cultural revitalization
  • Youth Leadership for climate action in the Southern Gulf Islands
  • Climate change in the Salish Sea archipelago

Ancient and current Indigenous Traditional Knowledge tells us that the nature of our relationship with the land, water and all that are part of nature will determine our ability to effectively meet the challenges of climate change on these islands. As Tsawout Chief Dr. Nick Claxton points out:

The SENĆOŦEN word for these Islands, ṮEṮÁĆES translates as “Relatives of the Deep” reflecting our creation story for the Islands. The Islands, our relatives, have provided a way of life for our people for thousands of years and W̱SÁNEĆ law creates a reciprocal relationship of care between W̱SÁNEĆ and ṮEṮÁĆES. — “This responsibility is absolute; we are obligated to care for these islands, not only through our own actions but by protecting the islands against harmful actions by others”.

The ṮEṮÁĆES Climate Action Project will adopt the W̱SÁNEĆ reciprocal stewardship world view to guide the climate action strategies to meet the challenges of climate change. Climate science informs the need to cut the rate of greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and build community resiliency to respond to climate change impacts. Achieving these goals is necessary if we are going to prevent further ecological destruction, safeguard human well being and save from extinction the many species whose ecosystem we share. The ṮEṮÁĆES Climate Action Project will identify and promote innovative and holistic climate action strategies to respond to the climate emergency now facing the Southern Gulf Islands.

This project is being administered through the Southern Gulf Islands Community Resource Centre (SGI CRC) in cooperation with the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council and the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board. W̱SÁNEĆ Elders and leaders along with Capital Regional District representatives, Gulf Islands Trustees and Gulf Island community conservation leaders are contributing to the project development. The three climate action courses will be delivered in February and March 2020 at Poets Cove Resort with in-kind support from the resort’s management.

Initial funding for this project has been provided by the CRD, the SGI CRC’s Edu-tourism project and the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board. Additional grant funding is being sought for course delivery and to support capacity for W̱SÁNEĆ participation. Dave Howe, CRD Director for the Southern Gulf Islands emphasized:

This community based project will make a solid and inspired contribution to address the challenges of climate change in the Southern Gulf Islands and has my full support.

Tye Swallow, project co-coordinator with the W̱SÁNEĆ School Board noted:

The W̱SÁNEĆ School Board fully supports this initiative because it is based on an equitable partnership with full recognition of W̱SÁNEĆ Traditional Knowledge and respect for the implicit cultural values and practices. This project offers an exemplary path to reconciliation on a community-to-community basis searching for meaning and solutions through true collaboration to meet the challenges of the climate crisis together.

For more information on the ṮEṮÁĆES Climate Action Project visit the SGI CRC Website or contact:

Paul Petrie, SGI CRC project co-coordinator
250-589-5436 pmpetrie@shaw.ca
or
Tye Swallow, W̱SÁNEĆ project co-coordinator
250-652-2313 tye@saec.ca