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Alberta’s environmental leaders recognized

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The Alberta Emerald Foundation (AEF) announced the shortlist for the 32nd Annual Emerald Awards this week. Since 1992, the Emerald Awards have showcased over 350 recipients and 850 finalists who are raising the bar in addressing environmental and climate change issues. These environmental awards celebrate excellence across all sectors, making them unique not only in Alberta but also in Canada.

This year’s shortlist was chosen by a third-party panel of volunteer judges, each bringing expertise from numerous sectors across Alberta. Judges selected the shortlist, consisting of 39 organizations, projects, and individuals from across the province, from 51 nominations. During their deliberations, the judges also determined who from the shortlist will take home an Emerald Award in each of the 15 award categories.

“Those represented in this year’s shortlist demonstrate the incredible dedication that Albertans have toward protecting our environment and taking action against climate change” says The AEF’s Executive Director, Marisa Orfei, “The diversity in the shortlist is also astounding, there’s small grassroots organizations, large corporations, and everything in between. We’re also incredibly proud to have 17 communities across Alberta represented in this year’s shortlist, including Drayton Valley, Grande Cache, Canmore, and many more.”

Here are the organizations, projects, and individuals recognized in The 32nd Annual Emerald Award shortlist:

Air Category – Recognizing projects and initiatives that improve air quality.

  • Blindman Brewing First-in-Canada CO2 Capture and Utilization (Lacombe, AB)

Business Category – Showcasing an organization engaged in commercial, industrial or professional activities that have demonstrated a meaningful commitment to an environmentally sustainable future.

  • Reimagine Architects – 26 Years Building Sustainable Futures (Edmonton, AB)
  • Eco-Flex Recycled Rubber Solutions (Legal, AB)
  • Envirotech Geothermal – Alberta’s smartest way to Net Zero! (Sherwood Park, AB)

Community Group or Nonprofit Category – Recognizing associations dedicated to furthering a particular social cause or advocating for a shared point of view that has demonstrated a significant commitment to the environment through their actions.

  • Alberta Bike Swap – supporting the circular economy before it was cool (Calgary, AB)
  • Project Forest: Rewilding Canada, One Forest at a time (Edmonton, AB)
  • Alberta businesses are building a better Business-as-usual with Green Economy Canada (Edmonton, AB & Calgary, AB)

Education Category – Acknowledging those that have raised the bar by showing leadership and creativity in educating students of all ages about environmental matters.

  • Eagle Point-Blue Rapids Parks Council Environmental & Outdoor Education Program (Drayton Valley, AB)
  • Future Energy Systems: Exploring Our Energy Future With The Community, Our Students, And More (Edmonton, AB)
  • Evergreen Theatre: A 32-Year Legacy of Inspiring Environmental Awareness & Action Through the Arts (Calgary, AB)

Energy Category – Recognizing projects and initiatives that positively support the evolution of our province’s energy systems.

  • Calgary’s Residential Solar Calculator (Calgary, AB)
  • Bow Valley Green Energy Cooperative, empowering community to transform Alberta’s energy (Canmore, AB)
  • Metis Nation of Alberta Climate Change Action Plan (Edmonton, AB)

Government Category – Recognizing all levels of government whose ongoing commitment sets the example of environmental leadership and advocates sustainability as a major consideration in governance.

  • Environmental Achievements of the City of St. Albert (St. Albert, AB)
  • Violet Grove’s Constructed Floating Wetlands System with Aeration (Drayton Valley, AB)
  • Nose Creek Watershed Partnership – Celebrating 25-Years of Watershed Planning, Policy and Action (Mossleigh, AB)

Infrastructure Category – Recognizing environmental advancements in the ways we design, build, and travel.

  • Solar Aquatic Systems Wastewater Treatment (Drayton Valley, AB)
  • SSRIA: Transforming the AEC Industry Towards a Net Zero Built Environment (Edmonton, AB)
  • Ecoplast Solutions: Building Houses from Recycled Plastic Bottles (Lloydminster, AB)

Land Category – Recognizing projects and initiatives that demonstrate excellence in sustainable land use.

  • The City of Calgary’s Willow Plantation for Marginal Land Improvement and Carbon Capture (Calgary, AB)
  • Ledcor Highway Maintenance Yard Upgrades (Edmonton, AB)

Lifetime Achievement Award – Celebrating environmental leaders who, throughout their lifetime, have made contributions of outstanding environmental significance.

  • Dirk and Nanja of The Barrelman Inc.: 25 years of protecting land and water through local action that inspires (Calgary, AB)

Public Engagement & Outreach Category – Recognizing programs and initiatives that educate and empower the broader public by teaching the necessary skills to make informed environmental decisions and take responsible action.

  • GreenLearning’s Eco 360 program: Transitioning to a circular economy for plastic waste! (Drayton Valley, AB)
  • My Green Closet: Sustainable Lifestyle and Slow Fashion Platform (Edmonton, AB)
  • Calgary Climate Symposium: How The City of Calgary Engages and Educates Albertans on Climate Change (Calgary, AB)

Shared Footprints Award – Recognizing those who have exemplified land and water stewardship, built shared knowledge, improved air quality, reduced land disturbances, and encouraged ecotourism.

  • Edmonton River Valley Conservation Coalition: Working Together to Protect the North Saskatchewan River Valley (Edmonton, AB)
  • Highfield Regenerative Farm (Calgary, AB) Waste Management Category – Recognizing projects and initiatives that innovate the repurposing, reduction, and disposal of waste in an environmentally-conscious way. Earth Warrior (Edmonton, AB)
  • Revolutionizing Recycling with [Re] Waste: Transforming Waste Management for a Sustainable Future (Edmonton, AB)
  • Microgreens Club – A Zero Waste Initiative (Calgary, AB)

Water Category – Recognizing projects and initiatives that demonstrate excellence through the monitoring, management and/or stewardship of water and watersheds.

  • Forest industry collaboration cultivates sustainability around vital wetland ecosystems (Edmonton, AB)
  • LakeKeepers: Community-Based Monitoring of Alberta’s Lakes (Edmonton, AB)
  • Safe water and water sustainability in Alberta (Calgary, AB)

Wildlife & Biodiversity Category – Recognizing projects and initiatives that protect and conserve natural habitats and wild species.

  • Aseniwuche Winewak Nation’s Caribou Patrol Program: 11 years of saving Alberta’s caribou (Grande Cache, AB)
  • Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society – Sikome Beaver Coexistence Project. (Calgary, AB)
  • The Edmonton Urban Coyote Project: Collaborative Research and Education for Coexistence with Wildlife (Edmonton, AB)

Youth Category – Recognizing people, 25 years of age and under, who have made meaningful contributions and have taken positive action to improve the environmental health of their community.

  • Monica Figueroa: Edmonton youth climate activist (Edmonton, AB)
  • Strathmore High School Community Greenhouse (Strathmore, AB)
  • Energy & Environmental Sustainability Projects in Action at New Myrnam School (Myrnam, AB)

The recipients in each category will be named at the 32nd Annual Emerald Awards ceremony on June 7, 2023, at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta. Emerald Award Recipients receive:

  • A $2,000 grant to support their work or to donate to an environmental charity of their choice
  • A profile of their work through The AEF’s Sharing Stories program, which includes the Emerald Documentary Series, What On EARTH Can We Do? podcast, and Emerald Speakers Series
  • A certificate and Emerald Awards recipient digital logo to commemorate their achievement

The Awards will also be live-streamed through the AEF”s YouTube Chanel to allow people from across the province to attend. Tickets for the 32nd Annual Emerald Awards ceremony can be purchased here.

The Alberta Emerald Foundation (AEF) is a registered Canadian charity with the unique mission to tell Alberta’s environmental good news stories to uplift, educate, and inspire our province toward meeting environmental and climate change goals.

Research suggests that when we learn about what real environmental and climate change solutions look like and how they’re being implemented in our communities, it increases our ability and desire to take action in our own lives. By providing real-life examples of these solutions through our various storytelling programs, the AEF helps Albertans take the next step toward environmental protection and climate action. With every person that we reach through our programming, we’re helping Alberta reach its broader environmental and climate change goals.

Click to learn more about the Alberta Emerald Foundation.

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Alberta

Suspect in stolen vehicle kills one and seriously injures another in wild chase

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News release from Beaumont RCMP

Beaumont RCMP seeking public assistance in locating suspect in fatal collision

On Feb. 24, 2024, at approximately 9:00 p.m., Beaumont RCMP located a person suspected of theft, in a parked 15-foot cube moving truck, at a business on 50 Street in Beaumont. When members approached the truck and attempted an arrest, one male driver and one female passenger rammed into a police vehicle and fled the scene at a high rate of speed. Patrols were initiated to find the truck and, a short time later, it was observed on 50 Street and Highway 814 in Beaumont at a high rate of speed.

Meanwhile, Edmonton Police Service’s (EPS) Air One Helicopter was notified and provided its location to RCMP members. Multiple surrounding RCMP detachments, including Leduc and Strathcona, responded to assist. As the truck was driving into Edmonton, a tire deflation device was deployed by RCMP, disabling multiple civilian vehicles. Consequently, an adult female exited one of the civilian vehicles and was fatally struck by the suspect truck. The truck failed to stop and continued driving into Edmonton.

The suspect vehicle then collided with another civilian vehicle, leaving an adult male in serious non-life-threatening condition. The truck was located at 50 Street and 22 Avenue in Southwest Edmonton.

Further investigation revealed that the driver of the truck, an adult male, then proceeded to steal a parked 2020 Honda Civic at a nearby convenience store. This vehicle contained a child who was safely recovered and reunited with his family a short time later. The male suspect has yet to be located.

No other members of the public or officers were injured during this incident.

“On behalf of the RCMP, I would like to send our heartfelt condolences to the family members of the victim,” said Superintendent Leanne MacMillian, Assistant Central Alberta District Officer. “This is a devastating incident that will leave a mark on family and friends for years to come. Please understand that you will be in our thoughts as we progress through this investigation.”

In compliance with legislative requirements, the Director of Law Enforcement was immediately notified causing the deployment of ASIRT to conduct an independent investigation. The RCMP believes in accountability and transparency and in so doing will provide full support to the ASIRT investigators and also conduct its own internal review.  Events like this are difficult for the communities in which they occur, as well as the general public and RCMP officers involved. RCMP officers recognize the trust placed in them to use force that is necessary, proportional and reasonable and in so doing remain fully accountable.

The RCMP are actively investigating this occurrence and are seeking the public’s assistance in locating a stolen, dark grey 4-door Honda Civic with Alberta license place E98-099. The vehicle was stolen by a male suspect described as being approximately 5’11’’ and was last seen wearing a black hoodie with white text on the front, brown shorts and black shoes.

If you have any information about this crime or those responsible, you are asked to contact the Beaumont RCMP at 780-929-7400. If you wish to remain anonymous you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1‐800‐222‐8477 (TIPS), by Internet at www.tipsubmit.com or by SMS (check your local Crime Stoppers www.crimestoppers.ab.ca for instructions).

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Alberta

Alberta looking to ban electronic vote tabulators ahead of next provincial election

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

electronic voting tabulators, which were supposed to speed up vote counting, instead saw election results delayed due with workers having to manually enter the results that each tabulator printed out.

The conservative Premier of Alberta, Danielle Smith, has confirmed she is looking to ban the use of electronic vote tabulators in future provincial elections after issues with them in the 2023 election saw massive delays in the tallying of votes.  

Smith, according to a report from True North, while speaking to a United Conservative Party (UCP) fundraiser on January 26 in the community of Bonnyville was asked if she would “end the use of voting tabulators across the province?” 

Smith replied with a firm “yes.” 

The 2023 Alberta provincial elections held in May saw Smith and her UCP win a majority, although a slim one, over the left-wing Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP).

Elections Alberta used what is called a Vote Anywhere Service, which allowed anyone to vote at any voting place regardless of which riding (jurisdiction) they were actually voting in. While paper ballots were used for the election, electronic tabulators were used to count the votes from all hand ballots. A form was then printed out with the result of each riding from the tabulators count of the hand ballots.  

However, the electronic voting tabulators, which were supposed to speed up vote counting, instead saw election results delayed due with workers having to manually enter the results that each tabulator printed out.  

Elections Alberta noted in June 2023, per True North, that “[w]e did not use any electronic data transfer from the tabulators, as the tabulators used for advance voting were never connected to a network at any time.” 

“As a result, it was a manual process to verify and enter these results.”  

As for Smith, before the 2023 election, she noted that she was confident in Elections Alberta’s plan to use electronic tabulators, as “we have the ability to do a hand count as a follow up in the event there are close results, I believe that’s going to be sufficient.” 

“That’s, I think, something that people expect in democracy – that you should be able to verify a vote if results end up very close,” she added.  

Elections Alberta, however, has pushed back on returning to hand counting ballots, saying it would increase the manual workload of employees.

There were many close results on election night, with the NDP losing a few seats by only a handful of votes in some Calgary ridings.  

Smith gave no timeline as to how or when she would make the change.

Many large municipalities in Alberta, including the province’s two biggest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, use electronic tabulators for ballot counting.

Issues surrounding electronic voting machines as well as tabulators came to a head in the aftermath of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, which saw Joe Biden declared the winner over Donald Trump. 

A report published by LifeSiteNews last year documented how a computer programmer, Clinton Eugene Curtis, who had previously testified to Congress on the integrity of voting machines, warned lawmakers in Arizona to never trust them.  

“Don’t use machines, because you can never, ever trust them to give you a fair election,” said Curtis. 

“There are too many ways to hack them. You can hack them at the level that I did when you first build them, you can hack them from the outside, you can hack them with programs that load themselves on the side. It’s impossible to secure them. You will never beat the programmer. The programmer always owns the universe.”  

Of note is that Curtis is a Democrat who had worked as a programmer for NASA, as well as the Department of Defense and other government agencies.

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