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 ṮEṮÁĆES 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. ṮEṮÁĆES, 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 ṮEṮÁĆES Climate Action Project visit the Community Resources website at https://www.sgicommunityresources.ca/climate-action-project/.
For any questions on this project contact: