New Brunswick Environmental Network Regional Case
This case is informed by a multi-year collaboration centered on the work of the New Brunswick Environmental Network Regional Case and more specifically, the NB Children’s Environmental Health Collaborative (NBCEHC), an established network of organizations and agencies across the province working to prevent children’s exposure to environmental hazards that affect health and to promote children’s access to healthier environments. Partnering with the ECHO Network creates opportunities for the NBCEHC to profile resource development, associated community and ecosystem changes and implications for children’s health issues.
Regional Case Updates
Fall is a very busy time in the NBEN office. Along with several other meetings and events, the annual Children’s Environmental Health Conference will be happening in November. It is titled “Tipping the Balance: Cumulative Impacts on Children’s Health.” It will explore ways in which to address negative cumulative impacts and promote positive cumulative impacts through education and policy change. The conference will take advantage of placed-based learning in a heavily industrialised area of New Brunswick.
In addition to this, our Risks and Benefits Calculator is now operational and live though not available to the public. We will be sharing more information with you during a knowledge to action workshop soon.
We’re growing! Since our last update in July, we’ve welcomed five new people to the NBEN staff; four coordinators and an administration assistant. In fact, we’ve expanded so much lately that we’ve outgrown our current office and will be moving in December. We’re very excited! Also, for the regional case we have a new research assistant, Hara Saadia, who will be working closely with Anne Fauré.
Research Assistant Wanzor Beaubrun works on the New Brunswick case study within ECHO under the supervision Céline Surette and Julie Forgues of the Université de Moncton and in partnership with Pays de Cocagne Sustainable Development Group NB and the Children’s Environmental Health Collaborative.
This study aims to analyze the benefits and challenges of arts-based tools in the emergence of actions and possible solutions to complex problems related to the impacts of natural resource development. It also plans to evaluate the types of links that participants make between the health of their watershed, children’s health, and human activities in their territory; and describe how arts-based tools can bring out new perspectives for vulnerable populations with a diversity of voices in actions and help find solutions to reduce inequities and foster knowledge integration.
To do this, two different projects using the Photovoice method are planned to assess if and how art-based tools help strengthen the resilience of communities to the cumulative impacts of natural resources development. One will be done with students from two elementary schools that will lead them to better understand the catchment concept and see themselves in their environment; and the other will be done with members (adults) of the New Brunswick Children’s Environmental Health Collaborative to design a workshop on cumulative impacts and children’s health.
In January 2018, Annika Chiasson stepped in as the new Children’s Environmental Health Collaborative Coordinator and Regional Coordinator for the New Brunswick case. Annika is also responsible for the NBEN’s Watershed and Environmental Rights Caucuses.
In late December, the Government of New Brunswick released a Water Strategy for New Brunswick, along with recommendations for enhanced watershed management in New Brunswick, which was been developed by the Working Group on Watershed Management over the course of 9 months to provide the Minister of Environment with recommendations about preferred approaches for the management and protection of surface water quality. The Strategy was based on input from stakeholders, the public and First Nations and focuses on protecting drinking water, preserving and enhancing aquatic ecosystems, understanding and sharing knowledge about water, working cooperatively and reporting progress publicly.
Lastly, the NBEN is in the process of developing a Risks and Benefits interactive tool that will allow users to assess current or planned development projects based on risks and benefits associated with the project as well as who carries the risks and who benefits from the project. This will provide a platform for critical thinking and in-depth discussion of the impacts of resource development projects. It should be completed by summer.
Over the last three months, research assistant Wanzor Beaubrun has been progressing work on a literature review of narrative tools and on the planning of next steps and activities to apply one or two of these tools in the New Brunswick case.
Upon her arrival to the team in September, New BrunswickEnvironmental Network’s new Research Coordinator, Ariane Juneau-Godin, dove right into the organization of the annual conference of the Children’s Environmental Health Collaborative (CEHC), which was held on November 28th, 2017 in New Maryland, New Brunswick . The Conference was titled:“A Tale of Two Necessities: Children and Resources Development” and aimed to look into the impacts of resource development on children’s health (see also here for further information http://nben.ca).
This year’s conference theme was chosen in part to integrate ECHO’s concepts within the CEHC. We were able to welcome Dr. Céline Surette, from the Université de Moncton, who gave an interactive workshop which led participants to reflect on their connection to their watershed, as well as Dr. Donald Cole from the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, who spoke about the importance of applying the precautionary principle when addressing issues relating to cumulative effects impacts of resource development on health. We also had the pleasure to hear from Marjorie McGibbon, RN and Paediatric Oncology Patient Navigator for one of New Brunswick’s two health authorities, on the topic of children’s vulnerability to environmental exposure and the importance of looking at children’s health from a global health perspective. The recent reorganization of the province of New-Brunswick’s Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health has had a significant impact on the state of Public Health in the province, as well as on the work of the CEHC.
Lastly, NBEN has recently created a new Environmental Rights Caucus comprised of environmental groups, which will be advocating for the passing of an Environmental Bill of Rights at the provincial Legislative Assembly. We hope the upcoming 2018 provincial election will be fertile ground to raise awareness towards this issue among candidates and MLAs. Finally, the research team has recently added a new member to its team—Anne Fauré, a Post-doctoral Fellow, has started to conduct several ECHO Network Entrance Interviews and began to compile a literary review geared on cumulative impacts.
The ECHO Network New Brunswick regional hub launch was held on June 12th at the beautiful Université de Moncton campus – une rencontre bilingue qui a permis aux participants de s’exprimer dans la langue de leur choix. This full-day meeting was a great way to start collaborating and building relationships with the 17 participants that represented the national ECHO Network, members of the NB Children’s Environmental Health Collaborative, NB academia, allies within the provincial government and local watershed experts. After an overview of the national ECHO Network and the NB case, the participants heard great presentations on the different NB tools (current or in development) such as geospatial, health impact assessment, art-based and indicators on children’s environmental health. Merci à tous ceux qui sont venus deprès et de loin!