Participants exploring the topic of “Northern Communities, Climate Action, and Sustainable Development” during a NorthCAN event in Prince George – January 16, 2024.
In and for the North
The Northern BC Climate Action Network (NorthCAN) serves as a hub for sharing information about local initiatives and projects, identifying opportunities to collaborate, and leveraging capacity – all to support the implementation of climate solutions in communities across Northern BC.
“The North is resilient, with talented people. We know how to do a lot of stuff. We're doing some amazing things. But nobody kind of knows about it, either broadly or locally. So, I would say that's one of the best things NorthCAN can do. And that’s exactly what they're doing.”
NorthCAN brings together individuals from local governments (staff and elected officials from municipalities and regional districts), Indigenous communities, health and education, business and industry, and NGOs. Beyond being northerners, “NorthCANers” have climate-related interest and expertise and work to implement local solutions. Through NorthCAN, they come together quarterly, usually via zoom, to learn about projects and experiences in communities around Northern BC, identify emerging topics/ideas, and build relationships.
Before it was established in April 2022, nothing like NorthCAN existed across Northern BC. Today, more than 300 people are part of the NorthCAN community.
What Does Being a Member Entail? What Are the Benefits?
“We need organization, we need communication, we need collaboration, we need to know what the heck's going on up here and everywhere, but especially up here, and that's one of the things that NorthCAN, I think, is doing a really well.”
UNBC Report on NorthCAN’s Establishment – 2023
A report on NorthCAN was prepared by Dr. Sinead Earley and her student research assistant, Sarah Korn, following the April 2023 NorthCAN workshop at UNBC. The content was also informed by a survey and interviews that were conducted earlier this year. Dr. Earley’s presentation highlighted four themes that emerged about NorthCAN’s most popular features:
- The diverse sectors from across the economy that are represented by participants
- The acknowledgement of co-benefits associated with climate action that benefit northerners’ quality of life
- The aspiration of northern leadership
- The isolation and smallness of northern communities that pulls participants towards collaboration
Rob Van Adrichem (Community Energy Association), Network Liaison
Katherine Pearce (Community Energy Association ), Regional Collaboration Lead
Who’s Who in the Network
Many NorthCAN participants are keen to have opportunities to connect outside of the quarterly meetings. The Who’s Who in the Network website features cards for each NorthCAN participant to provide info about themselves, the work they’re doing, and topics around which they would like to collaborate. Go to the web page anytime to create a card for yourself.
Funding for NorthCan
NorthCAN is one of the regional networks supported by the Province of British Columbia’s Climate Action Secretariat. Initially, BC Hydro provided funding to CEA to establish NorthCAN.
“It's easy to get bogged down in kind of a sense of hopelessness. Climate change, the transitions to clean energy, and leaving behind fossil fuels: these are huge, fundamental changes in the way we’ve been doing things for the last few 100 years. And it's easy to get bogged down and go, ‘Oh God, it's hopeless, right? We're screwed.’ I don't feel that way after a NorthCAN meeting. Every time you go to one of their meetings, most of the meeting is about what other people are doing and why they're doing it and who they are and how you can participate... I feel like there's a lot of people doing amazing things up here and then filled with hope and inspiration just by seeing and meeting these other people. We need inspiration. We need examples of what other people are doing and NorthCAN does that brilliantly.”