How green is my Cowichan?
Supporting a clean and green Cowichan and acting on climate change is important to Cowichan residents and local governments alike.
- The not-for-profit Cowichan Energy Alternatives (CEA) provides energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventories and supports community carbon offsetting initiatives.
- Electric Car Charging Stations are located in more than a dozen public locations in Cowichan, and new stations are being installed annually. Many of our municipal governments have augmented their fleets with electric or hybrid vehicles.
- The CVRD has installed a solar-powered energy system at the Bings Creek Recycling Centre to demonstrate this renewable energy technology.
- Veridian Energy Co-op builds and installs solar photovoltaic and thermal systems and wind and hydro power installations in the region.
Local government initiatives
The Town of Lake Cowichan recently introduced a community garden in Centennial Park that acts as a community gathering place and promotes sustainable agricultural practices and educational opportunities.
The Town of Ladysmith has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for the past six years due to its town-wide commitment to reducing its environmental footprint. The town has eliminated the use of pesticides and toxic products in parks, introduced a low-flush toilet rebate program and adopted the Sustainability Visioning Initiative and Community Energy Plan.
The Municipality of North Cowichan established the Environmental Education Program to increase awareness of environmental stewardship in youth by facilitating workshops throughout local schools. In 2013, North Cowichan adopted the Climate Action and Energy Plan (CAEP) to reduce energy consumption and emissions and to support a low carbon footprint and improve environmental quality.
New Normal Cowichan is a collaborative project developed by the Cowichan Valley Regional District to take action on climate adaptation. The project consists of a four-phased Climate Adaption Strategy to prepare and respond to the environmental implications of climate change. The Phase 1: Climate Projections and Impacts Analysis has recently been completed and is available on the CVRD website.
Recycling programs exist throughout the CVRD electoral areas and in the four municipalities within the CVRD. In the Duncan area, a local recycling company takes “eco-friendly” to a new level by using bicycles to capitalize on pollution-free human power. To help residents eliminate waste, the CVRD has developed a guide that shows residents and businesses where and how to recycle. These actions have helped to create some of the best waste water diversion rates in the country.
Environmental and conservation activities
A small sampling of our local stewardship and conservation organizations includes:
The Cowichan Estuary Restoration & Conservation Association works to restore the ecological integrity of the Cowichan Estuary while the Cowichan Watershed Society provides leadership for sustainable watershed management in the area.
Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society works on initiatives such as riparian shoreline restoration, river clean-up, water quality monitoring and invasive plant identification.
Cowichan Community Lands Trust Society is dedicated to conserving, protecting and enhancing the environment by acquiring land, entering into conservation agreements and providing educational opportunities for land stewardship.
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