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Faculty of Education project collaborates with Haida Gwaii Nation to develop climate change initiatives

May 21, 2014

Four Simon Fraser University research initiatives are among 11 new projects to receive 2014 fellowships collectively worth almost half-a-million dollars from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS). Among them was education associate professor David Zandvliet and his Educating/mobilizing communities in a changing climate: Initiating action on Haida Gwaii project. Involved in the project is Barbara Wilson, an education Masters student, who currently lives in Haida Gwaii and is working on the project in Skidegate, as well as, the Council of the Haida Nation and other researchers.

This project will draw on the traditions and culture of the Haida Nation to develop climate-change mitigation and adaptation strategies for those living on Haida Gwaii, off B.C.’s north coast. It will also contribute to solutions for other First Nations communities. This work will also develop specific steps toward achieving resolutions set by the Haida’s governing body, the Council of the Haida Nation (CHN), in areas such as financial support. It will identify available technologies or alternative energy sources to the mainstay, diesel. First Nations communities face unique challenges to their culture and way of life from climate change, and this study will help better represent their interests. The research will be carried out by a respected scholar and elder from Haida Gwaii, and will engage a broad range of stakeholders including educators, business leaders, youth and the CHN.

About PICS

The University of Victoria hosts and leads PICS in collaboration with Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Northern British Columbia.

PICS was created in 2008 with a $90-million endowment fund from the B.C. Ministry of Environment.

PICS’ mission is to establish partnerships with governments, the private sector, researchers and civil society to research, monitor and assess climate change’s potential impacts. PICS also evaluates, develops and promotes viable mitigation and adaptation options to better inform climate change options and actions.

PICS executive director Tom Pedersen says the world requires technical innovation and societal change to cope with climate change and to reduce human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

“With an emphasis on practical solutions,” adds Pedersen, “these fellowships will help British Columbia at a policy, personal and organizational level to take the right steps toward mitigating and slowing climate change.”

Doctoral and master’s students under the guidance of established researchers will carry out the two-to-three year projects supported by these fellowships. The researchers will work with experts from a range of university disciplines, as well as governments, NGOs and industry.