Globe Climate: Why getting women and girls in the fishing boat is good for the environment

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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.

This weekend Atlantic Canadians suffered one of the devastating post-tropical storms ever to hit the region. On Sunday, people emerged to asses the destruction left behind by Hurricane Fiona.

Fiona turned the hardly possible into the all-too possible, writes science reporter Ivan Semeniuk. Lurking within the background of events this weekend, is whether or not the storm is a once-in-a-lifetime fluke or an indication of more to come back. Read what he learned in regards to the way forward for storms.

Yes, climate change is a component of what makes these sort of storms even worse. For now, the East Coast begins its long road to recovery.

Now, let’s catch you up on other news.

Hurricane Fiona makes landfall between Canso and Guysborough, Nova Scotia, Canada in a composite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) GOES-East weather satellite September 24, 2022.NOAA/Reuters

Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. Oil and Gas: Canada’s oil sands are making billions – and little or no of it’ll net-zero commitments. In Alberta, the Energy Disruptors conference returned because the industry attempts to reinvent itself in response to pressure to handle climate change. Also, Indigenous-led Cedar LNG seeks regulatory approval under latest climate rules
  2. Nature: Indigenous conservation is essential to protecting wilderness in Canada, report says
  3. Energy: A green hydrogen future needs more investment in production capability. Also, Ottawa looks to push provinces to modernize electricity grids
  4. Wildfire: B.C. residents in fire-prone areas encouraged to maintain valuables on the ready should they should flee
  5. Environmental justice: In Mississippi, Jackson’s water crisis points to racial, class and partisan divides – and the approaching climate disasters might make them worse
  6. From The Narwhal: The Mamalilikulla’s long journey home and the groundswell of Indigenous nations declaring protected areas based on their very own sovereignty

A deeper dive

Taking a conservation-minded approach to fishing

Jenn Thornhill Verma is a contract reporter and member of the Oxford Climate Journalism Network. For this week’s deeper dive, she talks about getting women and girls back out within the fishing boat.

Before 25-year-old Pratyusha Akunuri joined Girls Who Fish, she had never stepped right into a fishing boat, much less go fishing. The Memorial University graduate student from Brampton, Ont., says getting out in boat has brought her food security studies to life.

A key query for Akunuri is why Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, who boast a plentiful supply of fresh seafood steps away from their front porch, often buy imported, frozen, and packaged seafood from big-box retailers. Partly, she says what prevents locals from catching their very own fish is is just not having the means—no boat, no gear and nobody to pass traditional fishing practices down the family line. Add to that, says Girls Who Fish co-founder, Kimberly Orren, many community wharves — once the point of interest of coastal fishing towns, drawing the entire community when fishers land catch — are unwelcoming, heavily industrialized spaces.

Nestled in Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove, a fishing community on the eastern shores of Newfoundland, south of St. John’s, Girls Who Fish is about getting women and girls back to the fishing wharf. Twenty-six-year-old Rachel Morrison, says an enormous draw was learning a conservation-minded fishing method.

“The standard handline fishery is promoting sustainability and conservation. It’s not doing things to destroy or harm our ecosystem. With a hook and a line, you’re capable of feed yourself, your community, and your loved ones,” says Morrison, a Memorial University marine biology graduate student from Guelph, Ont.

If we wish fishing to be sustainable, then we want to take excellent care of the fish for the fish to give you the chance to take excellent care of us, says Dr. Rashid Sumaila, a Canada Research Chair in Interdisciplinary Ocean and Fisheries Economics on the University of British Columbia. With climate change and ocean warming threatening many marine species, a gentler approach to fishing (using handlines versus gillnets, for instance) is very crucial, says Orren.

If we’re going to tackle climate change, conservation issues and gender equity, then we want women and girls within the boat, says Orren.

“Most of the young women and girls who participate, it’s the primary time they’ve gone fishing, and for some, that moment is a mark of their lives,” says Orren, adding it’s the large changes that occur one person at a time.

– Jenn

Pratyusha Akunuri sits aboard because the boat heads out to catch cod fishKARA O`KEEFE/The Globe and Mail

What else you missed

Opinion and evaluation

Gary Mason: Why doesn’t Pierre Poilievre appear to care about climate change?

Ken Coates: The nice Saskatchewan River Delta is an excellent place to begin resetting our ecological compass

Green Investing

Alberta’s carbon-capture entrepreneurs want more certainty amid efforts to ease global energy crisis

Craig Golinowski is president of a Calgary-based private equity firm that rebranded itself a 12 months and a half ago from a backer exclusively of small- and mid-sized oil firms to an outfit in search of to fund carbon capture and storage projects. However the plan to supply his investors a bit of the energy transition has hit snags.

“We’ve been working on attempting to construct an emerging industry. It’s kind of evangelical or missionary work. I’m unsure I’d do it again if I knew, but I do imagine this fundamentally is the best thing to do,” Mr. Golinowski said in an interview.

Also read: This week we wrote about two Canadian banks which can be taking up more climate motion. Royal Bank of Canada has merged its technology banking unit with its Ventures business that nurtures firms outside traditional banking because it looks to expand support for a tech sector squeezed by a slowing economy. Toronto-Dominion Bank has launched a carbon advisory business and is investing $10-million in a significant Ontario forest conservation project.

Making waves

Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Varun Virlan doing intersectional activism.

Hi, I’m Varun Virlan, 26, and I live in Toronto. I’m enthusiastic about the intersection of climate, animal and racial justice. I strongly imagine that with a view to tackle any one in every of those issues, we must address all of them.

In addition to street activism, I co-ordinate digital media for Plant Based Treaty. We’re creating bottom-up pressure on national governments to barter a world agreement to dismantle animal agriculture and transition to a plant-based food system in response to the climate emergency.

Raising and killing animals is killing us, literally. It’s a number one reason for methane, deforestation, species extinction, biodiversity loss and ocean dead zones. If we ended fossil fuels today, temperatures would still rise above 1.5 C warming. Adopting a vegan food regimen could help reduce our impact on Earth. Please consider signing the Plant Based Treaty and e-mail your councillors asking them to endorse the treaty as well.

– Varun

Do an engaged individual? Someone who represents the actual engines pursuing change within the country? Email us at to inform us about them.

Photo of the week

A young man caresses a water buffalo, near the village of Deir Ballut within the Afrin region of Syria’s rebel-held northern Aleppo province, on September 24, 2022.AAREF WATAD/AFP/Getty Images

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