This week the environment is taking centre stage as British Columbia continues to preserve and protect the environment and celebrate Canadian Environment Week June 2 to 8, as well as Clean Air Day and World Environment Day on June 5.
Environmental protection and stewardship is the foundation on which to build a growing economy, and the B.C. government has invested in a number of programs to ensure B.C. continues to be a leader in environmental sustainability.
- B.C. is on track to meet its interim 2012 greenhouse gas emissions targets and is recognized internationally as a climate action leader with programs such as the revenue-neutral carbon tax, carbon-neutral provincial government operations and the green economy plan.
- BC Parks is one of the largest parks and protected area systems in North America. B.C. is home to 1,030 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas covering nearly 14 million hectares or approximately 14.4 per cent of the provincial land base.
- The Province is sustaining its strong record in the conservation of its species at risk. B.C. introduced a draft five-year plan for protecting vulnerable species in March 2013. Other efforts include the protection of 90 per cent of identified high-elevation winter caribou habitat in the South Peace, and additions to the Lac du Bois and Denman Island Protected Areas.
- The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office examines major projects for potentially adverse environmental, economic, social, heritage and health effects. The growth in B.C.'s resource-based industries means that the office has seen an increase in the number of proposed projects and the office's resources have been enhanced to address the increase while continuing to adhere to the Province's world-leading environmental standards.
- In July 2012, B.C.'s nationally renowned product stewardship and recycling program was awarded an A- rating, the highest rating in the country, by EPR Canada. B.C.'s programs are more numerous than any other jurisdiction in North America, and the Province continues to be an innovative leader in Extended Producer Responsibility.
- The Wood Stove Exchange Program, established in 2008, funds the replacement of older model wood stoves with new cleaner burning models to improve personal health and air quality. Approximately 5,400 older models have been replaced, which equates to an emission reduction of 335 tonnes of fine particulate matter annually.
- B.C.'s Clean Energy Vehicle Program continues to offer British Columbians a variety of clean and green choices for their transportation needs. The Community Charging Infrastructure Fund will see 450 Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations installed.
Moving forward, the Province will:
- Consult on the Water Sustainability Act in 2013 with the intention of passing this legislation in 2014.
- Work with communities, First Nations and industry to examine the feasibility of developing a provincially designated protected area in the Klappan.
Canadian Environment Week is an annual event that takes place the first week of June and gives all Canadians an opportunity to celebrate the progress made on protecting the natural environment and encouraging sustainable practices year-round. Clean Air Day is a Canadian celebration of environmentally friendly activities that promote clean air and good health across our nation. World Environment Day, a United Nations initiative, is a global day of action to raise awareness of environmental issues.
To learn more about Ministry of Environment programs visit: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/ministries/environment-1/factsheets/
Learn how to take part in Canadian Environment Week at: http://www.ec.gc.ca/sce-cew/
Learn more about World Environment Day at: http://www.unep.org/wed/
In honour of Clean Air Day, the City of Quesnel and BC Transit are offering free transit rides on June 5. For schedules and information visit: www.bctransit.com/regions/que
To celebrate the North Cowichan Climate Action Energy Plan and the communityforclimate Fair, transit rides will be free on June 8 in the Cowichan Valley Regional District. Learn more at: www.bctransit.com/regions/cow
Ministry of Environment