Addressing British Columbia’s Biggest Water Challenges in a Changing Climate

Photo Credits: Miroslav Volek The report discusses “climate change and shifting hydrological conditions” placing British Columbia (BC) “into an increasingly uncertain water future.” (1) Rosie Simms and Oliver M. Brandes have identified five water challenges in the province: “building resilience to drought and floods; sustaining water for nature; understanding the state of British Columbia’s watersheds; protecting water quality for drinking, swimming, and fishing; and reconciling the water energy nexus.” (1) Their report identifies ways of…

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Colonialism is a Social Determinant of Health and Should Inform Our Thinking About “Aboriginal” Mental Health

Photo Credit Elīna Baltiņa Sarah Nelson argues that ‘mental health service research and discourse reflect… colonial ideas and, as such, constitute a social determinant of mental health for Aboriginal peoples in Canada” (1).Colonialism has resulted in the “displacement and marginalization of Aboriginal communities and individuals, and the perpetuation of discriminatory or stereotyped ideas about what it means to be Aboriginal” (1). Colonialism, “limits available resources and opportunities,” and more directly, “has impacted Aboriginal peoples’ mental…

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Developing a Risk Assessment Tool to Assess Effects of Permafrost Thaw on Cultural Resources in the Northwest Territories

Courtesy of Steve Jurvetson Terrain alterations caused by permafrost thaw due to a warming climate are damaging the “rich archaeological record of the Arctic Coast and (is) impacting sites used today by traditional harvesters.” (15) To evaluate the extent of these effects, Thomas D. Andrews et al. have developed a tool for assessing the risks of thawing permafrost. Their research is focused in the Gwich’in region situated on the northwestern border of Northwest Territories, including…

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Growth of Centenarian Whitebark Pine in the Southern Coast Mountains

Courtesy of Travel Alberta Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis Engelm.) is a tree species found in high-elevation, cold, windy, or snowy areas. They are “often the first tree species to colonize open, treeless areas” with weak soil development such as the higher elevation areas of the Rocky Mountains and the coastal mountains of British Columbia (BC). Whitebark pines are considered a keystone species; keystone species are “an important source of food and shelter for wildlife species.”…

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The Canadian Mountain Network is Dedicated to Website Accessibility

Brett Dietterle @brett_dietterle The Canadian Mountain Network is committed to inclusivity and ensuring as many people as possible have access to our content. After initially consulting with Student Accessibility Services at the University of Alberta, we created a list of features we would like to implement on our website. We then implemented several of these features to further our engagement and allow us to reach a wider demographic of people. A toolbar on the left…

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Improving Assessment and Management of Cumulative Environmental Effects

Courtesy of Travel Alberta As visibility of the environmental effects of human activity increases so does the desire to understand their potential impact. Cumulative Effects Assessments (CEAs), “the process of systematically assessing impacts resulting from incremental, accumulating, and interacting stressors over space and time” (1) are an avenue for gaining this understanding. While CEAs have limited ability to identify the effect of any individual action when separated out from the whole, they are overall a…

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Social-Ecological Sustainability in Alaska and Global Change

A geologist from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) conducting field work in Alaska Global climate change has a significant impact on the ecology of our planet and human society. This issue has prompted Dr. Chapin to ask whether it is possible to sustain the benefits of social-ecological systems such as economic growth from resource extraction, and traditional identities and cultures in a world where such drastic and large-scale changes are occurring. He concludes that…

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The Canadian Mountain Network administrative Centre is Now a Green Space

Photo courtesy of the University of Alberta’s Office of Sustainability The Canadian Mountain Network Secretariat is now a silver certified Green Space at the University of Alberta’s north campus. Our office has achieved silver certification by promoting sustainable transportation habits, evaluating consumption and waste production, pursuing eco-friendly purchasing practices, creating a safe and energy efficient work environment, and maintaining an inclusive and diverse outlook. The Green Spaces Certification Program at the University of Alberta promotes…

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Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Rural and Northern Communities

Photo Credit: Canadian Tourism Commission Access to many mental health services has historically been a challenge for many Canadians living in rural and northern communities. However, over the last 20 years, several psychologist-led initiatives have focused on remedying this situation for the more than 6 million Canadians currently living in these communities. These initiatives can be categorized into two main groups, those that focus on “recruiting and retaining psychologists in rural and northern communities” and…

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Controlled Burns Improve Habitats of Northern Hooved Species

Photo Credit: Nick Parayko @nickparaykoimages Controlled burns are a critical forest management tool and play a role in shaping the habitats of local animal and plant life in Northeastern British Columbia with up to 7,800 hectares burned each year. However, the effects of prescribed fires on ungulates (hooved animals) and their food supply are not yet thoroughly studied. In the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area of northeastern British Columbia, researchers from the Natural Resources and Environmental Studies…

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