Place Based Power Project


Welcome to the
Place Based Power Project, led in equal partnership among the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, Keepers of the Water, and CAPE. Our project focuses on the urgent intersection of health, social justice, and the climate crisis arising from fossil fuel extraction. Together we will work on addressing the specific challenges faced by communities disproportionately affected by extraction, particularly fracking in Northern BC and tar sands tailings deposits in Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
 

Summary

The Place Based Power Project, housed within CAPE’s Toxics Program and led in equal partnership with the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition and Keepers of the Water, aims to initiate conversations, raise awareness, and identify solutions in collaboration with communities impacted by fossil fuel extraction. By amplifying the voices and stories of those affected, the project aims to influence legislative changes and policy development, complementing CAPE’s existing work on Bill C-226 and Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) Reform. While upholding Indigenous sovereignty and leadership and considering both up-and-downstream impacts of decisions, not just immediately impacted areas, the project adopts a solutions-oriented approach, aligned with a broader planetary health framework.
 

Background

Recent incidents, including Imperial Oil’s tailings dam leaks, underscore the inadequacy of current advocacy and the lack of awareness among policymakers and the public of the health impacts of fossil fuel extraction. Our project responds to urgent environmental health crises, like the 5.3 million liters of toxic wastewater leaked into downstream communities’ water sources in Northern Alberta, exposing the gaps in monitoring and remediation efforts.
 

Need

Despite the increasing recognition of the health impacts of fossil fuel extraction, environmental racism, insufficient monitoring, and a lack of public awareness persist. Remote, Indigenous, racialized, and poor communities experience most of these impacts, demanding a comprehensive response. The Place Based Power Project seeks to fill the advocacy gap, enhance knowledge among decision-makers, and educate the public in Canada about the health harms of fossil fuel extraction. It will do this by deepening connections between CAPE staff and physicians and the organizations and Nations already addressing and advocating for environmental health in regions impacted by fracking and tailings, then collaboratively identifying core issues of concern and developing communication and advocacy strategies.
 

Approach

Our project adopts a multifaceted approach, creating spaces in impacted communities for dialogue, sharing their stories, addressing research and regulatory needs, and co-developing educational materials. We strive not only to build awareness but also to implement solutions-oriented approaches to climate and environmental justice.
 

Location and Partners

This project engages in two areas of fossil fuel extraction impacting local health: fracking in Northern BC, where we are partnered with the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, and tar sands tailings deposits in Alberta and the Northwest Territories where we are partnered with Keepers of the Water. CAPE together with the Canadian Association of Nurses for the Environment (CANE), and their Environmental Justice and Reconciliation Committee, will facilitate the process, and bring their power as strategic health messengers to policy-makers.
 

Organization

Housed within CAPE’s Toxics Program, the project views environmental health issues as interconnected within a broader planetary health frame. By addressing social determinants of health and structural influences, we aim to effect change for equity and justice, recognizing the limitations of individual power within a context of disparate power relations and unequal access to healthy environments.
 

Standpoint

Recognizing Indigenous sovereignty, our project acknowledges the inherent right of Indigenous peoples over the land called Canada. Decision-making within colonial governance systems will be informed by Indigenous leadership.
 

Message

Through compelling storytelling and collaboration, we aim to amplify the voices of communities impacted by fossil fuel extraction, aligning with the Principles of Environmental Justice. By addressing procedural and spatial injustices, we contribute to a growing conversation about the need to leave fossil fuels in the ground.
 

Objectives
      1. Increase collective advocacy capacity in impacted communities.
      2. Enhance knowledge among federal and provincial decision-makers.
      3. Educate the Canadian public about the health harms of fossil fuel extraction and its connection to climate change.

     

Outcomes
      • Increased knowledge and advocacy around the health impacts of extraction.
      • Mobilization of solutions rooted in respect for all people.
      • Development of a process where impacted communities play a central role in envisioning their healthy futures.
      • Contribution to the conversation around leaving fossil fuels in the ground to mitigate climate change.

     

Join us in the Place Based Power Project, where health, justice, and the environment converge for a sustainable and equitable future.

If you would like more information, please contact Dakota Norris, Fossil Fuel Extraction Campaign Manager, at dakota@cape.ca.

 

Resources