British Columbia has learned that punishing drug users doesn’t stop drug use or the negative impact drugs have on our society. The province decided to shift from a punishment approach to drug control to a health focussed approach, as in they will help people get off of drugs instead of incarcerating them. The first step in that process is to decriminalize the drugs in question, note this is not legalization (like alcohol and marijuana).
The goal of decriminalization is to reduce the harms of arrest and drug seizure on individual users, officials said, and to reduce the stigma around substance use that prevents people from seeking health care or accessing adequate housing and employment.
“In the short term, decriminalization will stop seizures and arrests and connect people with services and supports,” said Malcolmson, noting that reducing stigma will be a long-term goal.
Fear of arrest and of losing employment, housing or custody of children often prevents people who use drugs from accessing harm reduction and health supports, or from telling family and friends about their substance use.
Doctors in Canada may soon be prescribing the oldest medicine in the world: walking it off. Thanks to the work of family doctor Dr. Melissa Lem in British Columbia the province will allow a walk in nature to be prescribed by doctors. It’s been proven time and time again that exposure to nature helps with all sorts of medical conditions and recovery times. This initiative to prescribe nature means people can take medical time from work to go for a hike and get a nudge from their doctor to improve their lives.
Dr. Lem wants to bring the program to every province.
Prescriptions for nature became available through this program at the end of last month, and their availability will improve as more health-care practitioners sign up for the prescription packages, which include fact sheets, relevant literature and a unique provider code. This can be done on the programâ€™swebsite.
In the coming months, Lem intends to expand the program to other provinces and territories, forging partnerships between health-care and parks organizations and sharing the resources she has spent years collecting. Until then, she said health-care providers outside B.C. can sign up in advance and will get their prescription packages when the program reaches them.
Germany, and to a lesser extent other nations, have championed community-owned sustainable energy production. In many ways it gives power to the people. Indeed, one way to encourage mass adoption of sustainable energy is to make policies which favour decentralized and community owned production. This means that big utility companies often oppose such efforts.
In British Columbia the city of Nelson may be the first city in Canada to take on this German-insipred approach. They are looking to open a solar facility which not only provides energy to the people it provides added revenue.
A community solar garden is a centralized solar panel farm that gives homeowners and businesses access to solar energy without having to install and maintain panels on their own roof.
The price of the electricity purchased from the proposed solar project in Nelson would cost residents more, but initial community feedback indicates people would be willing to pay the extra costs, said Proctor.
It’s about more than trying to save money, she said, and added costs eventually will even out.
Nelson Hydro is still working out detailed costs, but says people could end up investing something like $1,000 for a solar panel space for 25 years. They can either pay a lump sum up front or make monthly payments of about $3.47 until the solar panel space is paid off.
Insite is a safe injection site for drug users which has had proven health benefits for individuals and the community. Through their work Insite has been able to help many addicts stay safe and secure while consuming drugs, this is in stark contrast to doing drugs on the streets which is way more dangerous.
In the past, Insite had to defend itself against the British Columbia Supreme Court and won, and today Insite won in the Supreme Court of Canada. This is a blow to the anti-safety, anti-drug, pro-prison campaign of the ruling Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and will hopefully mark a turning point in how Canadians support drug addicts.
This is a huge victory for results-based and preventative health care and for people who are unfortunately addicted to drugs.
If Insite wasn’t allowed to operate it would prevent injection drug users from accessing the health services offered at the facility, threatening their health and their lives, the ruling said. Withdrawing the exemption would even undermine the purpose of the federal drug law, which includes public health and safety, the court said.
Health groups, including the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Public Health Association, also applauded the decision.
The Supreme Court said that if the health minister, currently Leona Aglukkaq, receives applications for more exemptions, she must continue to exercise her discretion and aim to strike a balance between Charter rights and protecting public health and safety.
The provincial government of British Columbia intimated a contest that had people submit their software programs that could help protect the environment. Some of these apps are really great and it’s great to see BC researching this sort of thing!
The Apps for Climate Action Contest challenged Canadian software developers to raise awareness of climate change and inspire action to reduce carbon pollution by using data in new applications for the web and mobile devices.
A leader in climate action, the Government of B.C. created a catalogue of its best climate and greenhouse gas emission data.
Developers used this data to design fun and innovative climate action apps.
Data Set(s) used: 1. Impacts & Environmental Change, Weather and Climate,Climate BC, UBC 2. Annual & seasonal precipitation (Wet Years) Canadian Atmospheric Hazards Network 3. Ground Water Wells – GeoBC
Summary: One way to prepare for the effects of global warming on water supply is to capture and save rain water running off of our roofs. This app allows you to calculate how much rainfall you can capture in a year by calculating the area of your roof.
Description: Lack of water due to global warming, especially on areas that rely on well water.
What types of people and/or organizations do you expect to use the App?
The general public.
How does the App help address climate change or promote climate action?
The app raises awareness of the potential rainwater harvesting can have on preparing for the impacts of climate change