David and Camille Saltman in their Kelowna home. (Boulevard Magazine photo)

David and Camille Saltman in their Kelowna home. (Boulevard Magazine photo)

Okanagan group seeks climate change solutions

The Okanagan Sustainability Leadership Council to showcase new documentary

David Saltman and his wife Camille moved from California to the Okanagan four years ago to escape the pending Trump political madness.

Coming from San Diego, both were part that state’s forward leaning attitude towards environmental protection and adapting to climate change.

And, they have found that same attitude percolating within the Okanagan, a movement they are helping to bring together in unified voice to address climate change issues facing the valley in the years ahead.

With the invitation of former UBC Okanagan vice-chancellor Debra Buszard, Saltman organized a dinner at Summerhill Winery that brought together 45 people in political, academic, private sector and Indigenous leadership roles to discuss environment issues.

The gathering generated a positive response and a wish among some for a group or organization that could keep the discussion on a variety of issues moving forward, which led to the formation of the Okanagan Sustainability Leadership Council.

Planned dinner meetings were cut short by COVID-19 public gathering restrictions, but Saltman has developed a new idea to keep the movement going forward, a series of three virtual leadership forums fueled by documentary films.

The other two will focus on food security, food resiliency and sustainable agriculture; and turning our waste into useful resources instead of filling up landfills.

The first forum, scheduled for Oct. 21, titled Building Okanagan Flood Resiliency, will raise how utilizing natural assets in low cost ways to replace aging, depreciating infrastructure and bring controls for flood prevention and water quality.

Among those interviewed for the documentary are Kelowna city manager Doug Gilchrest, Okanagan Nation Alliance researcher Tessa Terbasket, Okanagan Basin Water Board executive director Anna Warwick Sears, Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance co-founder Taryn Skalbania, and Gibson city administrator and chair of the Municipal Natural Asset Initiative Emanuel Machado.

Saltman said the debate about defining climate change in scientific terms is wasted energy. Instead examining the human behaviour symptoms behind changing traditional weather patterns can lead to genuine solutions to a valley climate that is going to continue to get warmer and wetter.

To ignore that impact comes at a cost. Saltman cites the example of a community like Peachland having to build a water quality filtration system. He says watershed logging has weakened the ecosystem’s natural water filtration system, allowing more sediment into the water supply.

Saltman believes the Indigenous people’s cultural perspective, to not dominate or exploit nature but be a part of and respect our natural surroundings, offers important lessons that should be integrated into future policies on agriculture, water and land management.

Those lessons he learned from his past work experiences, most notable heading up the Surfrider Foundation, which won the largest clean water act lawsuit in American history, a $100 million judgment against two pulp mills in California.

“We were a rag tag group of surfers who took on the largest laws firms and wound up winning. Surf Rider is still up and running with chapters all over the world,” he said.

His wife Camille is the director of entrepreneurship for UBC Okanagan, which helped produce the documentary, and an advocate for both clean-tech innovation and sustainable business development.

“Where I get comfort about the future is the huge economic opportunities for our kids when we start focusing on climate change and sustainable food product solutions, and not on the problems,” he said.

Viewers interested in the documentary presentation can register free online at https://events.ok.ubc.ca/event/entrepreneurshipubco-leadership-forum/.

READ MORE: Green Party says it would set path to make B.C. carbon-neutral by 2045

READ MORE: Sale of unfinished North Shuswap cannabis facility delayed

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Environment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Heather Smart poses with her certificate as the first women in a decade to earn this credential in the Kootenays. (Photo submitted)
Local shift boss blazing the way for women

Heather Smart is the first women in the Kootenays in ten years to receive this certification

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, updates British Columbians about COVID-19 at a press conference earlier this week. (B.C. Government image)
B.C.’s 1st case of COVID-19 confirmed a year ago today

Here’s a look at some of the key dates in the province’s fight against the novel coronavirus

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

A pair of Okanagan Regional Library reference librarians have created a podcast called Hard Cover that takes a zany but informative look at books, libraries and librarians. (File photo)
Okanagan reference librarians produce quirky podcast

Davin Helkenberg and Peter Critchley are behind Hard Cover

South Columbia Search and Rescue called in the Nelson Search and Rescue and Kootenay Valley Helicopters to provide a long line rescue. Photo: BCSAR submitted.
Long-line rescue needed for injured hiker near Trail

Members of South Columbia and Nelson SAR and Kootenay Valley Helicopters did a long-line evacuation

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Sooke’s Amy McLaughlin holds Theodore, a bunny who will be going to a new owner in Nanaimo within the coming days if all goes will at an upcoming bunny play-date. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Vancouver Island woman looking to hop into bigger space for bunny rescue operation

Amy McLaughlin has rescued more than 400 bunnies, pushing for the capacity to help more

Grad student Marisa Harrington and her supervisor Lynneth Stuart-Hill say preliminary results from a study into the affects of stress on hospital nurses show an impact on sleep and heart variability. (Courtesy of Marisa Harrington)
University of Victoria study shows stress impact on B.C. nurses

Stress may be impacting sleep, heart health of hospital nurses in Victoria region

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Crown prosecutors have stayed attempted murder charges against Kelowna’s Jesse Pez. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Man accused in Kelowna Halloween stabbing has attempted murder charge stayed

The Crown only proceeds with charges when evidence provides ‘a substantial likelihood of conviction’

RCMP released this photo on Jan. 27, 2021 of Terrance Jones, 40, a Caucasian man with a closely shaved head, brown eyes, dirty blonde or brown hair, and a thin mustache and beard. The inside of his right arm is covered in tattoos, including one of a face. (Kamloops RCMP photo)
RCMP want public’s help to locate Shuswap man wanted on charge of attempted murder

Sicamous man was arrested previously on Jan. 11 for allegedly breaching conditions of release

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Most Read