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Royal Roads University funded to lead $2-million climate change adaptation project

March 6, 2019
Photo by Elizabeth Lies

It’s a summer morning in British Columbia. You turn on the tap for a drink, but there’s no water for another 30 minutes. Severe drought has forced water restrictions. On your commute, the bike trail is packed despite an air quality warning. You worry it may be too smoggy to bike home. You cancel camping plans as wildfires have forced park closures.

Professionals in BC who care for the province’s infrastructure and resources are preparing for climate change’s consequences, but what further training do they need to meet the challenge?

A $2-million project, led by Royal Roads University’s ResiliencebyDesign (RbD) Lab and including a range of BC professionals and post-secondary institutions, will explore those needs  and design training to address them, thanks to funding from Natural Resources Canada’s Building Regional Adaptation Capacity and Expertise (BRACE) program. BRACE is working with provinces to support training activities that increase the ability of organizations, professionals, businesses and communities to adapt and accelerate their climate resilience.

Inspiring Climate Action: BC Professionals Adaptation Network is a partnership between the RbD Lab and the BC Climate Action Secretariat, with the BRACE program committing almost $1 million to the project.

Working with six BC universities and six BC professional associations, the network will deliver in-person and online courses custom-made to professionals’ training needs.

“We need to make BC and Canada as resilient as possible to the impacts of climate change even as we continue to work to reduce those risks through mitigation efforts,” says School of Humanitarian Studies Prof. Robin Cox, project lead and director of the RbD Lab. “Professional organizations in BC have made it clear they are committed to ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also building the necessary capacity to effectively adapt to the unavoidable risks posed by the changing climate. This project will discover where specific knowledge and skills gaps exist, and design practical training to help professionals meet these challenges and increase regional adaptation uptake and capacity.”

“Canadians know that we need to improve Canada’s resilience to climate change. That is why we are supporting Royal Roads University’s Inspiring Climate Action: BC Professionals Adaptation Network project,” says Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi. “Through professional training, this project will support the efforts of B.C.’s professionals to adapt to the impacts of climate change.”

“Certified professionals are making project decisions every day that will be affected by climate risks. It’s important these professionals have the knowledge and tools to be able to advise about climate risks with confidence,” said Dr. Johanna Wolf on behalf of the Climate Risk Management team at the Province of BC’s Climate Action Secretariat. “The courses we’re helping develop will be offered through various post-secondary institutions, and will better equip professionals to manage risks associated with our changing climate.”

“The work of the RbD Lab, and in particular this latest climate change adaptation project, is a perfect example of the dynamism of thought and action displayed by the researchers at Royal Roads University,” says Royal Roads University President Dr. Philip Steenkamp. “Royal Roads’ researchers like Dr. Cox and her team are committed to discovering, exploring and sharing evidence-based information that can be applied to solve real-world problems.”

Participating universities include Royal Roads University, the University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, Capilano University, Vancouver Island University and University of Northern BC.

Professional organizations supporting the network project include the BC Institute of Agrologists, Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC, College of Applied Biology, Engineers and Geoscientists BC, Planning Institute of BC and British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects.

Climate change organizations and experts in BC, Canada and worldwide support the network project, including: international climate change expert and former deputy executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Richard Kinley; the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium; the Stockholm Environment Institute; and Student Energy.