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We Love Alberta. Alberta is a province with natural beauty as diverse as the people who live here. From snow-capped peaks to rich farm fields, the Albertan landscape invites hardworking communities to play just as hard, and beckons respect for the areas that we love and celebrate. 

This month, the people of Alberta have an opportunity to decide how their communities will continue to protect it’s natural beauty. Protecting these natural spaces is more than a choice; it is a responsibility that we owe to future generations. Not only for biodiversity conservation, but also for the endless recreational opportunities, supporting sustainable industry, and unlocking the province's true potential for green energy strategy. 

We have connected with the Leads from our Edmonton and Calgary Regional Chapters to get further insight into what this election means to them. 

Connecting to the Natural Beauty of Alberta

Evan Littauer, Chapter Lead, POW Edmonton

It’s not much of a wager to bet on the beauty of natural spaces being near, if not at the top of an Albertan’s list of why they live here. It’s one of the reasons I love to call this place home. There’s a massive amount of diversity in the types of natural spaces and the activities that people choose to experience in these areas. Everyone has their own reason to escape into nature for a bit. Physical fitness, mental health, bird watching - the common denominator is placing value on the integrity of these beautiful areas and developing a personal connection to nature. 

Just take a look at the immense scale of the Rockies and their sculpted peaks and feel how quickly a sense of awe sets in. You can soak in the vast expanse of the prairies and its endless sky to calm down, or take a break in the boreal forest and listen to the intricacies of nature's connectivity. Albertans are able to quickly “get away from it all” and because it’s right at our doorstep we can place an immense value on the beauty of our natural spaces. 

Embracing a sense of stewardship towards the land is embedded in every Albertan. We are resilient; enduring harsh climates, overcoming obstacles and changing circumstances. We are persevering in our commitment to work, and dedicated to the preservation of our surroundings. We recognize the importance of responsible landscape management and safeguarding the natural beauty of this province for future generations. Our connection to the natural beauty of Alberta drives us to become passionate about protecting these spaces. 

Becoming a Passionate Advocate for our Climate

Amanda Bishop, Chapter Lead, POW Calgary

​​It is our collective responsibility to protect and preserve the health and well-being of our natural environments in Alberta, regardless of one’s political views and affiliations. These natural spaces provide us all with essential ecosystem services – the clean prairie air that we breathe, the glaciers that provide our drinking water, the biodiversity of our landscapes – all of which ultimately sustains our life on Earth! To mitigate greater impacts of climate change on Alberta’s beautiful natural spaces, we must do our part to advocate for climate policies that will protect these spaces for everyone to enjoy, and continue to enjoy, for years to come.

Climate activism in Alberta presents with challenges and rewards, given that our province’s economy remains predominantly supported by the oil and gas sector. However, we believe that effective climate activism is inclusive and invites members from every community, background and industry to the table. Our chapters in Edmonton, Calgary, and our newest chapter in the Bow Valley area bring together all perspectives in our efforts of protecting our natural spaces. Climate activism should encourage open and respectful conversations toward solutions that will yield the most positive benefits for all Albertans.

Albertans have demonstrated through various recent campaigns their care, passion, and advocacy as it pertains to our water sources, parks, and landscapes. We are encouraging everyone to vote with climate in mind for this upcoming provincial election in Alberta. By doing so, you will add your voice alongside many other Albertans, stating that you care about the future of our natural environments and expect the accountability of our elected officials to honor these spaces.

Finding the Balance Between Environment and Industry

Seger Brown, Chapter Lead, POW Calgary

Like many others from Calgary, I grew up marveling at the beauty of our incredible outdoor spaces. From an early age I’ve grown to appreciate the vast landscapes of Southern Alberta from the Glaciers in the Rockies, to the farmlands of the south. Over the last decade, I’ve personally witnessed the deterioration of these places that we not only rely on for our leisure, but for our drinking water, food, and energy sources.

I’ve always seen our industries in Alberta as those that thrive because of the land. Without healthy soil systems, how do we succeed in agriculture? Without sustainable forestry practices, how will we continue to create building materials? We need to protect our environment through strong policies that will ensure we can continue to thrive as a society, while continuing to be industry leaders.

As a proud Albertan, I’m advocating for a stronger balance in which both our environment and our necessary industries can prosper together. This needs to be done immediately as we head into an uncertain environmental future.

Alberta is Greener Than You Think

Thana Boonlert, Chapter Lead, POW Calgary

Alberta, known for its rich oil and gas reserves, has made significant strides in recent years to embrace renewable energy and environmental sustainability. The province's efforts have allowed it to become "greener" in several ways, with increasing wind and solar power capacity and numerous other environmental attributes. In 2022, wind power accounted for 20% of the electricity generated to the grid, while solar accounted for 6%. This may not seem like much, but in 2019, wind accounted for only 6% and solar accounted for 2% - that’s a significant increase in just 3 years. In this same time frame, coal for electricity decreased from 36% to 7%. 

These initiatives show that Alberta is on the right track to truly start unlocking its renewable energy potential and show the country that it can in fact still be an “energy powerhouse”, but this time, with a lot less pollution. In addition, several new policies should be considered to help Alberta be greener:

  1. Expanded Renewable Energy Targets: Increasing renewable energy targets to accelerate the transition to a greener energy mix. Not only would this lower emissions, this would also drive investment and job creation in the clean energy sector.
  2. Electrification and Clean Transportation: Encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and expanding the charging infrastructure to reduce emissions from the transportation sector. Incentives such as rebates for EV purchases, tax breaks, and investments in charging stations can facilitate the transition to cleaner transportation alternatives. Increase funding for public rail transport between Edmonton and Calgary, and the major cities to the mountains.
  3. Energy Storage and Grid Modernization: Investing in energy storage technologies, such as batteries, and upgrading the electrical grid infrastructure to enhance the integration of renewable energy sources. This would improve the stability and reliability of the grid, allowing for a larger share of intermittent renewables in the energy mix.
  4. Sustainable Agriculture Practices: Promoting sustainable farming techniques, such as organic farming and regenerative agriculture, to mitigate the environmental impact of the agricultural sector. Supporting farmers in adopting practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water, and protect soil health.

The suggested policies above are already being discussed by several politicians of various stripes - now we just need them to have the courage and willingness to implement them. The more our voices are heard amongst policy makers, the more it validates the action to take place.

Protecting the places we love shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Every individual has a responsibility to protect the natural places we love. Let’s celebrate Alberta’s natural beauty by taking the time to learn what steps are needed to protect our natural spaces, and what we need to do to preserve these areas for future generations.

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