Category: Environment

Wild Salmon Action Team – April updates

WSAT announcements Apr 2022

Fish Farm Removal Strategy Needed! *New*

Sponsored by the Wild Salmon Action Team

Our federal government has taken some actions to remove wild salmon-killing fish farms from the B.C. coast, but there is still no overall strategy for removing them all by 2025 as promised.  The deadline of June 2022 for relicensing the farms, or not, offers a golden opportunity to announce that overall removal strategy.

Send a letter to Minister Joyce Murray demanding they announce a strategy for fulfilling the promise to remove all floating, open-net fish farms from the B.C. coast by 2025.

Check out the WSAT website for more information! 

April updates from the Wild Salmon Action Team

Fish Farm Removal Strategy Needed! *New*

Sponsored by the Wild Salmon Action Team

Our federal government has taken some actions to remove wild salmon-killing fish farms from the B.C. coast, but there is still no overall strategy for removing them all by 2025 as promised.  The deadline of June 2022 for relicensing the farms, or not, offers a golden opportunity to announce that overall removal strategy.

Send a letter to Minister Joyce Murray demanding they announce a strategy for fulfilling the promise to remove all floating, open-net fish farms from the B.C. coast by 2025.

Your letter will make a difference!


Mass email letter to signers of CPPIB letter

Re: Help save B.C. wild salmon – remove all fish farms!

Dear ______,

Thank you for writing to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board asking them to sell all their shares in Mowi, the Norwegian multi-national salmon-farming corporation with extensive operations in B.C. and Atlantic Canada!  Yours was one of the almost 1100 letters received by the CPPIB, so far.  The Wild Salmon Action Team has briefly paused that campaign as we launch another.

Our federal government has taken some actions to remove wild salmon-killing fish farms from the B.C. coast, but there is still no overall strategy for removing them all by 2025 as promised.  The deadline of June 2022 for relicensing the farms, or not, offers a golden opportunity to announce that overall removal strategy.

Send a letter to Minister Joyce Murray demanding they announce a strategy for fulfilling the promise to remove all floating, open-net fish farms from the B.C. coast by 2025.

Your letter will make a difference!

Best regards,

Wild Salmon Action Team

Visit the Wild Salmon Action Team website for more information about their work. 

Mobilizing Faith and Spirit for the Climate Crisis

Our next Climate Dialogue event will feature Sameer Merchant

Monday, June 13 at 7 p.m. 

Book your seats in the Sanctuary now:

All events will be available to join in person or online at


About the Speaker

Sameer Merchant spent two decades as a software engineer in Seattle and Vancouver working for Microsoft, Hulu, and Tableau. He is currently taking an extended sabbatical to get a better understanding of the climate crisis, what we can do to reduce our individual and collective contributions to the problem, and to understand the psychology behind climate denial and climate inaction. His faith tradition is Ismaili Muslim, which is central to his views on humanity’s role as stewards of the Earth.


About the Series: Mobilizing Faith and Spirit for the Climate Crisis 

Every day we are reminded that we are in a climate emergency. Unprecedented heat waves, droughts, fires, extreme weather events, floods, refugees – the list goes on. Taken together with the current pandemic, it’s understandable that many of us feel frightened, overwhelmed, powerless.  Where can we find the individual and collective strength to clearly face the truth of the emergency, mourn the damage being done to our blue planet, and inspire ourselves and others to action?

The Vancouver Unitarians are hosting a series of talks by prominent Canadians from faith, spiritual and secular backgrounds to support us in answering that question.  They will educate, nourish, and inspire us, drawing on diverse faith and spiritual traditions including those of Indigenous peoples. They will delve into how these traditions and practices, and the values they represent, help them contend with the climate emergency and the actions they are taking.  And, in this way, they will help us engage more effectively with the crisis and create our way forward to a sustainable future – for ourselves and our families, our communities, our nation, and for the health of our loved ones and our planet.


About the Format and Venue

The speaker series is being live-streamed from the campus of the Vancouver Unitarians to audiences online and in-person in the Sanctuary. Two Vancouver Unitarians are moderating the series – introducing the speakers, leading discussions after each talk, and providing continuity over the course of the full program.  The series will include occasional panel discussions of key themes and learnings from what we heard. 

All events in this series are being held in the Sanctuary at UCV. It is recognized as a remarkable mid-twentieth century architectural legacy – a well-received spiritual gathering place and a civic gathering place for events in the arts, public affairs, and discourse on the issues of the day.


Past Events in this Series 

Oct. 28, 2021: Seth Klein

Jan. 26, 2022: Dr. Carmen Lansdowne

Feb. 9, 2022: Rabbi Hannah Dresner

Mar. 9, 2022: Sukhvinder Kaur Vinning

April 13, 2022: Corina Bye, Catherine Hembling, Karl Perrin, and Tamiko Suzuki

May 11, 2022: Dr. Fred Bass

Vancouver Unitarians Hear Ministry of Just Transition Report from 2025

Fifty communities from across Canada participated in the March 12, 2022 Canada-wide Day of Action. The Ministry of Just Transition’s Press Conference was Vancouver’s event, held on the Vancouver Public Library plaza on West Georgia Street. Vancouver Unitarians were there.

The 2025 update from the ‘Ministry of Just Transition’  provided a ‘three-year update’ on the accomplishments that their ‘Climate Emergency Coalition’ government had delivered since taking power in 2022.

Tsleil-Waututh First Nation representative Rueben George welcomed the Climate Emergency Coalition’ government to their traditional territory.

Filmmaker Avi Lewis was the Minister of Just Transition.

Doreen Manuel, Indigenous film director and professor at Capilano University, spoke as the Land Back Secretariat’.

Christine Boyle, Vancouver city councillor, spoke as head of the Department of Universal Housing.

Alison Gu, Burnaby city councillor, spoke as the commissioner of the Clean Transit Without Delay Commission.

Khalid Boudreau, Climate Youth activist, spoke on the work of the Police Retasking Task Force.

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-treasurer for the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, spoke as chair of the Trans Mountain Reparations and Healing Secretariat.

Anjali Appadurai, Climate justice advocate, spoke as the CEO of the Public Goods Corporation of Canada.

Seth Klein, climate analyst and author of A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency,  explained how the Just Transition was paid for – in part by the Bank of Canada enacting quantitative easing policies similar to what was seen in the first year of the pandemic, and also by creating Climate Bonds – which proved to be ‘wildly popular’ – similar to Victory Bonds that were sold to fund the Second World War effort.

Ultimately, the press conference was an exercise in getting people to imagine what the future can look like. ‘Minister’ Lewis implored the crowd to turn the ideas into a reality.

“Do you want to live in this future? Are we ready to fight for this future? Because this future we described here today is the work of all of us — the fruits of our imagination and struggle — and that’s what we came here today to commune around: the future we can build together.”

Vancouver Unitarians at this press conference: John Boyle, Rosemary Cornell, Rob Dainow, Elizabeth Dunn, Hans Elfert, Margo Elfert, Leslie Kemp.


LINKS: Canada-wide Day of Action


Outreach Opportunity Fund is collecting for Wild Bird Trust of BC

Starting March 6 and running until June 2022, our next Outreach Opportunity Fund recipient will be the Wild Bird Trust of BC. WBT manages the Conservation Area at Maplewood Flats in North Vancouver. ​The Trust’s mission is to provide wild birds with sanctuary through ecological protection and restoration, and support communities with education, culture, and reconciliation programs. With 80,000 annual visitors, it features 5km of trails, a spectacular Nature House with year-round public artistic exhibitions, a social enterprise nursery, and wildlife education.

The Trust’s land is situated within the traditional and unceded territory of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN). Since 2017, WBT has embarked on a redress program to decolonize operations, giving up site governance to TWN and repairing the harm done by increasing cooperation and developing programs for the benefit of the TWN community.

The Butterflyway Project

June 9, 2022 – Native plants in bloom on labyrinth:

Lupins are in full bloom and buzzing with bees. Blue camas is blooming. 3 tender dwarf native red columbines are near the Butterflyway sign in the labyrinth. Just planted two pearly everlasting plants (native plants).

Thank you, Patti, for weed-whacking and edging the labyrinth. Volunteers needed to pull up the grass that crept into the garden beds. Also, yes, there’s still buttercups.

I’d love to share with you what’s growing and have you help with taking out what’s not supposed to be growing!

We are starting on June 18, with taking out periwinkle. It’ll be a multi-year project. here’s information from the Invasive Species Council of BC. The good thing is that it’s all contained in areas that have borders, so we’re starting with the patch around the big arbutus tree.

Common periwinkle

May 25, 2022 – Shade Garden Native Plants

We have some shade garden native plants including bunchberry and kinnickanick needing a crew to help plant.


If you can help, please contact Mary – we can meet up or I can show you the project and you can do at your own time!


Wednesday June 1 – Pollinator Workshop plus optional potluck/foraging/socializing 5:30pm on

Pollinator Workshop

Saturday June 18 – 12 noon – Join youth from Invasive Species Council of BC to pull out periwinkle and plant native species

Pollinator Pathway and Workshop

Needed: If you have property with native plants that spread, we’d greatly appreciate donations of any of the following: kinnickanick, bleeding heart, heart-leaved arnica, salal, pearly everlasting, trillium. Contact to arrange.



Saturday, May 21 – Bee Day at Maplewood Flats/Wild Bird Trust Email if you’d like to meet up. You need to book a ticket

APRIL 22 – JUNE 6, 2022  Coast Salish Plant Exhibition: Celebrating Indigenous Ecosystems at Maplewood Flats

April 27, 2022 — Thank you to the Enviro team for allocating $100 for 20 native plants grown by Environmental Youth Alliance and to John Boyle and Ron Gibson for arranging reservation of the garden bundles.

May 7 from 10am-12noon, we hope to plant these native plants. All worker bees welcome. Karen Theroux will be coordinating use of tools etc. so just show up. If you like to wear gardening gloves, bring your own.


April 9, 2022 — Working with Patti of Buildings and Grounds, two areas (as well as the labyrinth) have been identified as #butterflyway pollinator pathways:

  1. Under the apple trees on northwest side of property. This is fairly sunny and has a watering system for summer. We plan to plant at least 50% native plants that need some sun, as well as some spring bulbs. Cathy will be at the 3rd Saturday grounds crew work party – Come along and lend a hand!
  2. The area between the parking lot and sanctuary where the daffodils are blooming right now has a lot of periwinkle (an invasive species). We’ll be removing the periwinkle and planting native plants that like a shaded or semi-shaded spot.
  3. Some plants will be added to the labyrinth – It’s already pollinator-friendly with lupin, yarrow and many other plants

Want to contribute to this project? Fill out this form, and we’ll contact you.

If you’re on facebook, follow this page for news. We want to connect with our neighbours to encourage more butterfly pollinator gardens nearby.

Just search for Butterflyway – South Vancouver or click here:

Save the dates

April 16, a couple of us are meeting up at Maplewood Flats/Wild Bird Trust Coast Salish plant nursery in North Vancouver at noon. Bring your bagged lunch.

On April 24 after the Earth Day worship service, there will be an information display about butterflies and native plants outdoors and then a workshop in Lindsey-Priestley. Native Plant workshop

February 23, 2022 by Cathy Sevcik

UCV has been officially accepted into the David Suzuki Foundation’s program – “The Butterfly Way Project”.  The goal of the program is to establish consistent habitat for our native bees and butterflies.  This program has been active since 2017 and is part of a larger movement of “Rewilding Communities”

Pollinators are essential for keeping our ecosystem healthy.  As part of this program, we are tasked with planting at least 12 pollinator patches.  Some of these will be on the UCV campus and our small group of volunteers will be looking for ways to spread these pollinator patches to neighbouring growing spaces.

Some of our group have already met with the organizer of the Balaclava Pollinator Pathway. We look forward to collaborating with this group in a variety of ways: such as sharing seeds, attending events and learning from each other.  This initiative has the potential to provide our members with means to making a difference in our ecosystem and making connections in our city.  We are aware that some UCV members are already butterfly rangers in different areas of the city and look forward to collaborating with them also.

In addition to sponsoring planting events, we hope to provide educational and social opportunities surrounding this initiative to the wider UCV community and our neighbourhood.  Stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you are interested in being involved in a hands-on manner, please complete a volunteer form on our website here:

from Cathy Sevcik and Mary Bennett, new Butterfly Rangers


UCV’s Enviro Team voted to support this project at the February 29, 2022, meeting.


Musqueam Artist Pollinator Plant Map

Scroll down on that page to see posters of 8 native plants with the Musqueam names

Attract butterflies with native plants – Western Canada

8 popular butterfly species in Metro Vancouver (from David Suzuki Foundation 2019 Butterfly Ranger tool kit).

Click to access DSF-8-Butterfly-illustrations-Lower-Mainland.pdf

Defending the interconnected web of all existence: Catherine Hembling’s statement to the Court

Statement made before Judge Fitzpatrick, Feb. 14, 2022. 

First I want to acknowledge that we are meeting on the unceded historical territories of many indigenous groups: the Musqueam, the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh. Over in the area of the tree sits, where I was arrested, the Kwet Kwitlem and the Qway Qwayt.

I want to acknowledge their leadership in this struggle against the construction of Trans Mountain Pipeline, in terms of legal cases, past and ongoing ceremonies, arrests, and inspiration to stand up for this planet. I am very grateful for their courage and persistence. So many defendants before me have made eloquent sentencing statements outlining the rational reasons why they opposed the building of this monstrous pipeline. They have covered the biological, engineering, economic, ethical and environmental reasons. I do not intend to repeat them here in court.

The economics have changed since 2014, but the scientific facts and ethics of the matter have not changed. What has changed in that 7-year timespan is the mounting urgency of the calls of the International Science Community to stop putting more carbon into Earth’s atmosphere.

However, I want to address the Court personally, not argumentatively. What I do want to communicate to the Court is my personal motivation. Why would I, for the first time in my 80 years, deliberately break the law, as it is represented by this Injunction, and in this public manner, as a member of a Prayer Circle? I am not crazy, I am not malicious, I am not a saboteur, I am not disrespectful. I am an old lady at the end of an active and blessedly privileged life.

This is who I am: I was trained as a scientist, B.Sc. 1964. I taught Science as a CUSO volunteer in a secondary school in Nigeria. I appreciate cause and effect, I love clear observations. I hate double standards. I have a great aversion to hypocrisy. I examine my life – I have been doing that consciously for many years as a Buddhist practitioner. I try to live out my values.

And what are my values? They are the values of the community of my church. I am a 45-year member of the Unitarian Church. We are a small progressive church with roots going back 500 years.

We do not have a creed. Instead we covenant with each other to affirm and promote 8 Principles. We add principles periodically. In 1985, after two to three years of discussion and exploration, we added the 7th Principle: “We covenant to affirm and promote the interconnected web of all existence of which we are a part.”

That principle motivates me to civil disobedience.

So, let’s look at it: the interconnected web of all existence of which we are a part … That means interconnections of the plants and animals of the planet. Inter being of plants and animals, and us, the climate, the heat, the cold. Inter-dependence when we think about the distribution of water, the balance of gases in the atmosphere, the pull of gravity of the moon and the planets, the distribution of metals in the stars…the interconnected web of all existence of which we are a part.

And it goes both ways – this is an interconnected web. The collective health of all the plants and animals on earth is affected by humanity, their activities, their appearance and disappearance. Will the stars miss us – not so much! But if we change our activities, the air and the waters will slowly change. We already have plenty of evidence that species will repopulate protected natural preserves. There is real hope in that.

Other motivating values: I treasure a life out-of-doors. All my life, from earliest childhood, I have been active out of doors, hiking, climbing, back packing, skiing, berry picking, sailing, paddling, and all close to home on the North Shore, all part of what my family did. I was so blessed. I have kept up most of these activities into my old age.

When I became too old to take arduous week long kayak trips, I continued to paddle in Indian Arm, day trips, along the shores, slowly, pausing to just sit, with my paddle resting across my boat, to listen, to feel the rise and fall of the water under and around me, lifting me quietly, gently. It was the familiar feeling of being rocked in the arms of a beloved, and it is the peace I sometimes, rarely, achieve in meditation. When I recognized that, I knew I had to protect those waters. I had to line up with those already active protecting the inlet, from the destruction of inevitable oil spills.

That was when I started to become active, attending National Energy Board hearings, writing letters, attending rallies, meeting with my MP. There was a growing rage in me, which did not improve my life. I discovered the Prayer Circle, in 2019 and it offered a much needed respite from anger, and a way to be active, peacefully.

Other Motivations: I am blessed with good health. My good health may be part of my privilege, that I always had clean water, good food, good
education, parents who taught me to live large parts of my life out of doors in the mountains and on the water.

Perhaps my good health is privileged, and privilege going back several generations…Perhaps it is a genetic gift. Other tendencies may be genetic too, the tendency to work for the good of my larger community runs in the family.

Let me explain.

My grandfather, a Montreal surgeon, decided at age 53, in 1914, to move his family to England, so he could join the British Medical Corps. He served out World War I in France, Belgium and England doing army surgery and then returned to Montreal.

My father, in 1939, joined the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve, at age 39. He served on corvettes across the Atlantic for the duration of World War II.

Neither my grandfather nor my father knew, when they decided to stand up for the good of their communities, what would be the outcome of those conflicts. They didn’t know which side would win.

I have known for years the short-term consequence of standing up against this pipeline. I will serve my time, without complaint. However, I don’t know what will be the long-term outcome of my standing up for the safety of my community, for the benefit of my children and my grandchildren. I will not live to see the results. I am doing it anyway. I believe I am on the right side of history.

I am healthy, I have no job to lose, no fear of being blacklisted, I have no ambitions to travel internationally. I am a mother and a grandmother. I am painfully aware of the inevitable climate changes that lie ahead.

Considering all that, and my values, I would be ashamed, on my death bed, if I had spent the last years of my life sitting on the sidelines, closing my eyes, merely amusing myself, and doing nothing to stop this monstrous pipeline expansion pouring carbon into the Earth’s atmosphere.

I do this peacefully, non-violently, and full heartedly.

Courthouse solidarity and Women’s Memorial March: Vancouver Unitarians take action

​U​CV ​members were out in numbers to support two downtown events on Monday.

Catherine Hembling at the Courthouse

At 9am we gathered under our banner with a crowd over 300 strong, on the steps of the courthouse to support the brave Brunette Six who were to appear before a judge for sentencing. The Six planned to plead guilty to breaking the TMX injunction and take whatever jail sentence would be meted out. 

​Led by Earle Peach, we​ sang uplifting songs, chanted our anger and resolve to keep up the fight against the oil and gas industry. On the steps, the Brunette Six read out parts of their court statements which expressed their love and concern for the environment and the future of future generations. One of the Six, Zane Haq gave an impassioned speech calling for more people to stand up because it was only when a mass of people get arrested that the government will change.

An overflow room was set up so people could listen in on the courtroom proceedings. Elizabeth posted at 3pm that Judge Fitzpatrick sentenced Jeannette, Ruth and Catherine to 14 days in prison. The other 3 would be sentenced on Tuesday.

UCVers at the courthouse: Cheryl Amundsen, Cynthia Lam, Elizabeth Dunn, Evelyn Pinkerton (W​​SAT), Hanno Pinder, Jane Kinegal, John Boyle, Karl Perrin, Katherine R, Leslie Kemp, Mairy Beam, Mary Lage, Melody Mason, Nan Gregory, Rob Dainow, Ron Gibson , Rory O’Brien, Rosey Cornell, Skye Richards, Tamiko Suzuki, Ursula Litzke, Yvonne Marcus, and Catherine Hembling.


Women’s Memorial March

A short time later, some ​UCV​ers joined a crowd of ​thousands at the ​Women’s Memorial March at Main and Hastings to bear witness to the families of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The stories that were told were unbearably sad and filled with so much pain. Some families have been looking for their mother, aunt, daughter or sister for  decades, fighting police and societal indifference, sexism and racism. ​Others have lost loved ones in the last few years showing that things have not changed​. One speaker’s words resonated with me when she said that the extractive industry and its assaults on the Earth were connected to the attacks on Indigenous women. The word ‘ecocide’ was used along with genocide. This reminded me of the Brunette Six who had spoken about how TMX was destroying the environment and contributing to the ultimate assault on our future, Climate Change. 

The march slowly walked their route through the DTES stopping at spots to drum and honour women who had died. Then we reached the intersection of Water St and Powell St and stopped in front of a group of young Indigenous activists who had thrown ropes around the statue of Gassy Jack Deighton. To the crowd’s frenzied cheering and drumming, they proceeded to pull the statue down, throw red paint on it and erect red dresses in its place. The statue had memorialized a  40 year old man who married a 12 year old Squamish child,  who made his money plying people with alcohol and whose name has been celebrated while hers has disappeared into obscurity. An Ode to Madeline Deighton. The anger was palpable as was the joy at the toppling of the statue which was one tiny act against a long history of racism and destruction. 

While some expressed discomfort with the destructive turn of events, there was no denying the impatience of the young to DO SOMETHING. It was just like Zane of the Brunette Six, who earlier had demanded we get out of our comfort zone and stand up. 

​UCVers at the Memorial March: Cynthia Lam, Hans Elfert, Hisako Masaki, Kiersten Moore, Leslie Kemp, Lynn Armstrong, Margo Elfert, Melody Mason, Nan Gregory, Nancy Barker, Skye Richards, Tamiko Suzuki, Yvonne Marcus.


Zero Waste Circle – New for 2022

Want support for reducing waste?

We’re starting a short, monthly, check-in and sharing of successes and challenges. Join us on the 3rd Sunday at 12:30 pm or fill out this form to suggest other ideas:

Zero Waste Circle

a monthly, fairly social, definitely supportive zero waste circle check-in. We usually meet in the Family Room and most people bring their lunch to munch as we share.
We *might* come up with initiatives but it would be mainly those of us wanting to share successes, ask for support and ideas to meet each other and learn more about reducing waste.

Plan for each session

  • opening reading
  • check in – less than 1 minute – introduce yourself with a “success” (even an ongoing success – e.g. I’m still getting to London Drugs regularly to recycle all my plastic bags or I’m still paying attention to food waste and improving in that regard.)
  • 2nd round – something you’ve been struggling with and would like feedback from others.
  • UCV Action Planning and/or Education/sharing: A focus on an educational piece by one of the members.
  • Summarize action decisions
  • closing: reminder of future meetings and events
Leadership roles of facilitation, zoom hosting, note-taking if needed will be rotated.
It might even be a “gateway drug” towards more involvement with UCV in general and Enviro team in particular.
More information: contact
To join our email group, send a note to

How We Are Changing the World: Arrested – “For my granddaughters, and for all our grandchildren.”

UCV Climate Justice Activist Catherine Hembling was arrested on September 23, 2021 for breaking an injunction and obstructing access to a piece of equipment at the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) project’s tank farm in Burnaby. She will appear in court on February 15, 2022.

The TMX will, if completed, transport an additional 600,000 barrels/day of diluted bitumen from the tar sands to the export terminal in Burrard Inlet, and lead to an increase of ~15 Megatons of upstream GHG emissions, equivalent to the yearly emissions from >3 million cars. (TOTAL yearly emissions will be many times more than this when this fuel is processed and burned outside of Canada – probably equivalent to close to 20 million cars! [SOURCE])

Catherine Hembling is a member of the UCV Environment Team actively opposing the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) project. Catherine’s activism has included regular meetings since September, 2018 as a member of an inter-faith prayer circle near the First Nations Watch House beside the tank farm. The inter-faith prayer circle has also been meeting since January, 2020, to support the “tree sitters” near the Brunette River who are protecting a stand of trees slated to be cleared for the TMX project.

Catherine will likely serve 2 weeks in prison. She decided to get arrested after a great deal of thought and after years of anti-pipeline marches, petitions, letters and meetings. To her,

“This is a collective movement on the right side of history. I did it for my granddaughters, and for all our grandchildren.”

We honour and support Catherine for her courageous and inspiring action. 

She is helping us Change the World