SAGE is a leading voice for a healthy and environmentally sustainable community.

Oki.  We respectfully acknowledge that SAGE meets on the traditional lands of Piikani, Kainai & Siksika, members of Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy) and the homelands of Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.  We are grateful for their keeping of these lands and waters - past, present & future.

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SAGE is currently recruiting for members and for positions on the Board. 

If you might be interested, please contact us.

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2 February 2024, Letter to Hon. Ric McIver, Minister for Municipal Affairs

Municipal Charter and Building Code Bylaw Authority

The Southern Alberta Group for the Environment (SAGE) opposes the proposed changes to the Municipal Charter regulation for the cities of Calgary and Edmonton, specifically the proposed removal of Section 7(2) of the Safety Code Act Amendments which currently reads:

(2) In the Safety Codes Act, in section 66, the following is added after subsection (3):
(4) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the City may make bylaws relating to environmental matters, including, without limitation, matters relating to energy consumption and heat retention, but only to the extent those bylaws are consistent with all regulations made under this section and section 65.01 and all codes declared in force by those regulations.

Canada has joined 120 nations in committing to net-zero emissions by 2050, including all G7 countries. Many responsible provinces and cities in Canada have also made net-zero commitments by supporting innovation designed to transform the energy-performance of the built environment, including residential homes.

Removing the ‘building code bylaw authority’, which allows a municipality to make bylaws regarding energy consumption and heat reduction, restricts the sort of innovation and technological progress required to reduce emissions related to the built environment.

For the complete letter, click ... here.

23 October 2023

Running on Empty

Lorne Fitch is a Professional Biologist, a retired Fish and Wildlife Biologist and a former Adjunct Professor with the University of Calgary.

There need to be periodic reminders that the frontier aspect of Alberta is over and we need to grow up. Unlimited space and inexhaustible resources are no more. Perhaps last on the list to be recognized is water, especially for southern Alberta. The Alberta government seems incoherently reluctant to make Albertans aware of the real possibility of an impending water crisis.

Ironically, for an arid landscape we still seem stuck on the perspective that water is abundant and growth is not limited by the supply of it. In reality water has always been in short supply. We have been lulled into a state of complacency with the marvels of dams, reservoirs and canals. These have given us an impression of abundance. Despite all of this engineering infrastructure we are still just one or two years of low snowmelt away from water shortages.

Climate change isn’t our future—experts remind us it is our present. Declining river flows, persistent drought, increased temperatures, heat domes, greater evaporation and more wicked weather events signal our world has changed and has done so irrevocably. The frontier of easy water, reliable water, abundant water and engineered water is at an end.

This is not the end of our world but it’s time to be smarter, more conscious of the changes and better stewards of what water is available. This might start with recognition that irrigation expansion is a dream that cannot be fulfilled. Even if we completely drain our rivers and renege on interprovincial water sharing agreements this dream cannot be sustained. We can’t make more water, building more storage is an expensive, zero-sum game and any temporary advantage is at the mercy of climate change.

For the complete article, click ... here.

6 December 2023

Comments regarding proposed EID Snake Lake Reservoir Expansion EIA proposed Terms of Reference

The EIA Terms of Reference focuses assessment of environmental impact to the direct effects of construction of Snake Lake Reservoir, referred to as the “Project”. Not mentioned is expansion of ~5,000 irrigation acres that is proposed in conjunction with expansion of Snake Lake Reservoir. This proposed increase in irrigated acres on the assessment role of the Eastern Irrigation District and associated ongoing activities are integrally linked to proposed reservoir expansion and impacts will be necessarily incidental. Expansion of irrigation acres should be included in the definition, description and impact assessment of the project.

To read the complete submission click ... here.

15-Nov-23 Letter to Ministers Schulz and Neudorf

Renewable Energy and Land Use Planning

The undersigned energy and conservation organizations make the following general recommendations to the Government of Alberta on a number of critcal issues concerning land use and renewable energy in Alberta. These overarching recommendations complement further specific recommendatons our organizations may make as part of the Alberta Utilites Commission Inquiry into the ongoing economic, orderly and efficient development of electricity generation in Alberta.

- Need to accelerate and grow renewable energy [...]

- Complete overdue regional planning under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act [...]

- Address gaps in Alberta’s protection of nature [...]

- Need for consistent and fair treatment across all land uses [...]

We urge you to move quickly to lift the damaging pause on renewable energy approvals while addressing these critical gaps in Alberta’s approach to natural resource management that apply to all land uses. We request the Government of Alberta commit to completing land use planning, updating Alberta’s approach to conservation to be consistent with increasing expectations for protection of nature, and work to ensure consistent decision-making across all resource sectors. Our organizations look forward to meeting with you to advance these issues. We trust these major themes will be reflected in deliberations of the Inquiry.

For the complete letter, click ... here.

For Pembina Institute's Submission to the AUC ... here.

Air Heat Pumps in Lethbridge?

There has been a lot of media attention given to the topic of air heat pumps as a means of transitioning from fossil natural gas to electricity for heating our buildings. Unfortunately, like most technologies, the benefits of air heat pumps depend on the climate and the source (and cost) of electricity. Evaluating an air heat pump installation in Halifax or Edmonton or Lethbridge will likely show different results. What the are the results for Lethbridge?

For a full analysis, click ... here.



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