Moving Forward on the Agenda

I am sharing with you today an exciting new network in British Columbia, the LEO Network, that enables indigenous and other communities to share their observations of unusual environmental change or health concerns in their communities. It enables a connection with broader networks of subject matter experts and other people who can help to understand the changes happening. It builds upon the well tested beta model in Alaska which has been endorsed by both President Obama and the Arctic Council.

The implementation of the Local Environmental Observer (LEO) Network across Canada would fill a critical gap in Canada. When I was an executive in the Privy Council Office in 1986, one of my mentors explained to me that when they were establishing the Dept of the Environment, he advised that they create a network of community monitors, as he anticipated that there would never be enough money to continue such expertise within government. We know the cutbacks that have occurred within governments in a shrinking economy, and we have lost tremendous ground in our databases and our knowledge about what is happening on the ground.

 The LEO Network meets multiple objectives and should immediately be implemented by the Federal Government. The mobile app, LEO Reporter, has now been released on both Android and Apple. This will enable this transparent regional surveillance and adaptation system to be implemented in other regions, as well as globally, satisfying many of the new government’s policy imperatives.

 For further information, contact the project lead, Dr. Tom Okey, at