Bold Leadership on Climate Change Starts Here

A full 50% of Canada’s GHG emissions are produced in cities and towns. We all have a duty to be active stewards in protecting the natural environment and reducing our contribution to emissions that cause climate change. Even small towns and rural regions can meaningfully contribute to high-impact climate change solutions.

In Fernie, the women of the non-profit, Community Energy Association (CEA), believe that not only can small communities contribute to solutions, we can be leaders. This leadership-focused approach defines CEA’s work and has accelerated action on climate change in communities across western Canada. 

You’ve likely seen our team in action: Megan on the Nordic trails, Gaëtane sharing her knowledge about permaculture, Sam creating and talking art, Danielle speeding her way up a single track or me (Jen) dancing at Wapiti Music Festival. We are passionate about enjoying and protecting this community and are dedicated to planning and implementing solutions for a future that avoids the harshest climate impacts. 

By making strategic choices about how we move, heat our buildings and handle our waste, we can contribute to a shared legacy, locally and globally. The good news is we’re not starting from scratch. Action is already happening right here in the Elk Valley. 

Low carbon travel
We need to reduce vehicle kilometres travelled, then electrify the rest. But there is an imbalance in the degree to which rural and urban residents rely on cars 
so options for public transit are limited. 

This makes a strong case for electrifying transportation. Community connectivity is also a huge opportunity to shift transportation away from personal vehicles to shared and active mobility: bikes, e-bikes and walking. 

Local action
The Kootenay Regional Districts received national recognition this past year for demonstrating how rural regions can collaborate to build a clean transportation network. Our team supported Accelerate Kootenays, an electric vehicle (EV) charging network (the first in Canada!) that showed how a bold vision and dedicated leadership can accelerate EV adoption. Four other regions have now replicated this approach. We’re exploring exciting ways to support e-mobility… stay tuned!

Teck has committed to being carbon neutral by 2050 and is leading the way to transition to electric mobility; they’re already operating electric buses and planning further electrification of fleets. Fernie Lodging Company and Fernie Fox are leaders in providing EV charging, and FernieBnB has EVs in their fleet.

The City of Fernie is completing an Active Transportation Master Plan which can make choosing to walk, bike or roll safer for everyone. Transitioning even a quarter of your in-town trips out of a car has big health benefits and can connect you to the community.

Healthy, efficient buildings
The diversity of buildings in Fernie showcases our history and culture; they make our community distinct by visually connecting our heritage with our present. Now is the time to prepare all our buildings for the future by renewing them to use cleaner energy more efficiently all while improving indoor air quality and reducing heating costs.

Local action
As BC moves to building codes that value energy efficiency, our team developed training programs that build knowledge and capacity within construction industry. Builders are taking note and situating themselves to benefit from the shift. 

LWE, Element Homes, New Dawn and many others have been building high-efficient homes for several years. Helicool has expertise in air source heat pumps that save homeowners money while heating and cooling a home with BC hydroelectricity. 

We are inspired by the opportunity to support our communities in a low carbon transition. Fernie: Let’s not be left behind. Let’s continue to build momentum for a healthy and fair future for all residents. 
To learn more about CEA visit