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Sustainable Change Alberta

A network of Alberta based environmental organizations working together on shared priorities for a better Alberta

Alberta’s environmental community will work together to identify key environmental priorities for Alberta and to make a consolidated annual set of recommendations for actions and approaches to addressing these issues.

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The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the General Assembly on September 13th, 2007 by 144 states and sets out the individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples, as well as their rights to culture, identity, language, employment, health, education, and consent among other issues. It also "emphasizes the rights of Indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions, and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations."

The Alberta government has expressed its support for the UNDRIP and its intention to incorporate UNDRIP into Alberta law and policy. To this end the Premier has directed each of its Ministries to examine the Declaration and to provide suggestions of how it could be incorporated into each facet of the government of Alberta.

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In November of 2015 the Alberta government announced its “Climate Leadership Plan.” Under the plan the government will:

  • Phase out emissions from coal-generated electricity and develop more renewable energy
  • Implement a new carbon price on greenhouse gas emissions
  • Legislate an oilsands emission limit of 100 MT
  • Employ an emission reduction plan to reduce methane emissions.

The members of Sustainable Change Alberta want to acknowledge the significant steps forward the climate leadership plan represents, our support for the plans objectives, and to put forward recommendations to help strengthen it.

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In Alberta we are blessed with spectacular natural landscapes and waterways. These ecosystems are the backbone of a diverse economy, providing tens of thousands of jobs in many different sectors. They are the foundation of First Nations’ spirituality and have been their home for millennia.

The United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity sets a benchmark target for each jurisdiction to protect 17% of its land-based and inland water ecosystems as a milestone towards the goal of protecting nature by 2020. In a February 2016 address Alberta’s Minister of the Environment and Parks publically committed the province to meeting and exceeding this milestone.

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Oilsands tailings are a long-standing environment, health and fiscal liability issue. Oilsands tailings comprise over 220 square km of Alberta’s landscape an area five times the size of Sylvan Lake. And despite attempts to curtail their development continue to increase in size and quantity. The ponds pose on-going dangers to the surrounding landscape and are a lighting rod for criticism of downstream communities who depend on clean water for their drinking water and livelihood.

Several different government and regulatory regimes have tried and fail to put an end to tailings ponds growth. Current management plans being proposed by industry represent the low bar of ambition and are insufficient to meet the growing concerns of the public and affect First Nations and Metis communities. The tailings ponds also pose a significant fiscal liability for the province as remediation costs are substantial and growing with little financial safeguards in place.

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Woodland Caribou are a vitally important flagship species for Alberta’s boreal forests, foothills and Rocky Mountains. Listed as threatened in Canada, they are a symbol of our collective ability to protect and restore species that face extinction.

Caribou continue to range across much of the boreal forest of Alberta, through their numbers are significantly reduced from historic levels and are in a state of decline. Caribou are in a dire predicament -- several caribou herds are not expected to survive another fifty years in this province without significant habitat restoration. Typically able to escape predators by traveling through snow-bound regions, caribou today are at risk in part because industrial development has penetrated nearly every corner of their Alberta allowing predators to travel easily on roads and seismic lines.

Alberta has many species at risk. By taking a stand for the provinces’ iconic caribou, we will begin a new approach to the conservation of nature and signal to the country, and the world, our commitment to protecting endangered species.

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Sustainable Change Alberta is a network of Alberta based organizations that are coming together to build public and government support for shared environmental priorities. 

Alberta is home to some of the most beautiful and important landscapes and wild places on the planet and Albertans expect strong, smart legislation that protects our environment and our communities while creating jobs and generating prosperity over the long term. 

Sustainable Change Alberta was formed to bring Alberta environmental organizations together to develop an annual list of shared environmental priorities for the province. The priorities were arrived at through a consensus based process among our network members and do not reflect the total views or positions of individual network members.

Sustainable Change Alberta is a strategic initiative representing tens of of thousands of Albertans and it will work to advance these shared priorities for the betterment of all.