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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
While younger children tend to gravitate naturally to STEM as they explore the world, most students in Canada disengage from STEM courses in high school. Building scientific literacy and the competencies that come with STEM education will help us arrive at a prosperous, sustainable future. And it all starts with asking great questions.
It’s more than just an acronym: Why does STEM matter?
Let’s Talk Science and the Royal Society of Canada have partnered to provide Globe and Mail readers with relevant coverage about issues that affect us all – from education to the impact of leading-edge scientific discoveries. Check out more stories on the importance of STEM and other kids’ activities here.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Save the date
The climate change election: Five issues we should be talking about before voting day
Join The Globe and Mail’s climate change columnist Adam Radwanski and The Narwhal’s editor-in-chief Emma Gilchrist for a conversation on what environmental issues we’re not talking about enough in the federal election.
Join us on September 7th at 3 p.m. PST / 6 p.m. EST to tune in. Sign up and send in your questions
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Regions that were most affected by wildfires in British Columbia are currently reporting more COVID-19 cases per capita than most areas in the country, and some researchers suggest the fires could be driving case numbers.
- Blueberries in Northern Ontario are experiencing drought stress, taking a toll on the local wildlife and the Indigenous communities who rely on the berry as a source of food and income.
- From the Narwhal: B.C.’s extreme heat is here to stay. Critics say government’s plan to deal with it is dangerously weak.
- Imperial Oil Ltd. wants to build Canada’s largest renewable diesel facility just outside Edmonton, converting vegetable oil into about one billion litres of fuel each year.
- How Project Watershed’s dream of turning an abandoned sawmill into a thriving wetland became reality
- Scapegoat or scoundrel? This is why scientists want to clear the air about the role of seals and focus on ecosystems.
A deeper dive
As climate disasters come to museums’ doorsteps, curators decide what to save or leave
Marsha Lederman is The Globe’s western arts correspondent and is based in Vancouver. For this week’s deeper dive, she talks about saving art in the climate crisis
It’s one of the best perks of the job: every now and then I get to visit the storage vault of a museum or art gallery, where I find myself surrounded by treasures: paintings, carvings, natural specimens, irreplaceable artifacts.
I found myself thinking about those pinch-me-moments this summer as I’ve been speaking with museum officials about the awful task of prioritizing what to save from their vaults and exhibits in the event of a catastrophe.
It’s been a catastrophic summer in B.C., with wildfires around the province. Here in Vancouver – where most of us do not have air conditioning – we have suffered through a heat dome, very little rain and, on some days, the stench of smoke. But that’s nothing. Many people in the province have been displaced, on evacuation alert or much worse. An entire town, Lytton, was destroyed. Among the devastation: two museums. And when a museum is lost, so much is lost with it: artifacts, archives. Actual history.
Which is what got me thinking about how institutions can protect their collections. Sean Tudor with the Canadian Museum of Nature walked me through (over the phone) how its storage facility in Gatineau, Que., was built to withstand disaster.
Beyond infrastructure, strategies for protection and rescue are also crucial. I spoke with one of the founding members of the BC Heritage Emergency Response Network, or BC HERN, who has made emergency preparedness her mission.
Because what’s been happening in B.C. this summer isn’t a one-off. Climate change is exacerbating some of the natural threats these institutions and their valuable contents already face. And once the smoke clears – as it is starting to in some areas, thank goodness – the dedicated staff at these museums will need to take a breath and make some plans.
What else you missed
- Expert says wasting disease brings sea stars close to extinction
- BC Wildfire Service reports progress on blazes as military, Mexican crews arrive
- Mix of toxic pollutants left behind in ash after wildfires scorch communities: expert
- Impact of fires on wildlife needs study as blazes get bigger, expert says
- Newfoundland and Labrador drivers urged to call a moose hotline to reduce collisions
Opinion and analysis
Jennifer Cole: My garden is telling me about the warming planet – and it’s not happy
Editorial board: The Conservative climate plan isn’t half bad. But the Liberal plan is better
As it stands, ESG as a screen for investing keeps gaining momentum among institutions. According to research by Coalition Greenwich, commissioned by global asset manager AGF Management Ltd., 47 per cent of North American and European asset owners – such as pension funds, endowments and foundations – factor ESG criteria into investments. That’s up from 20 per cent five years ago. That number is expected to hit 65 per cent in five years.
Jeffrey Jones writes about sustainable finance and the ESG sector for The Globe and Mail. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Priscilla Lam and Angelica Tso helping reduce disposable cup waste on campus.
Hi! We’re Priscilla Lam, a 23-year-old recent graduate from Simon Fraser University majoring in business administration -- and Angelica Tso, a student in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC.
Just one year ago, we had the lucky chance to meet and start a project named BYO with a dedicated team of students. BYO is a mobile app-based program that reduces disposable cup waste by encouraging café customers to bring their own cups. While the project’s focus is waste reduction, we ultimately hope to normalize reuse culture by highlighting different ways of thinking about our relationship with consumerism, convenience and waste. We are excited to see what the future holds for BYO and our collective shift towards a circular economy!
Our passion for social-environmental sustainability and advocacy has brought us awesome opportunities. Waste reduction interests us because of how embedded “waste” is in our modern-day script of disposability. Individually, it has been extremely inspiring taking part in local initiatives from the community-centered buy nothing groups to helping local businesses incorporate waste reduction into their operations.
- Priscilla and Angelica
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
Catch up on Globe Climate
- Canada’s clean energy advantage is in peril
- Five climate change myths to shut down
- How do we know humans are causing climate change?
- Climate refugees are coming. We aren’t ready