UCLG: No appetite for declaring climate emergency

Recorder & Times / Sabrina Bedford / 05 October 2019

Mayors in Leeds and Grenville are not keen on the idea of declaring a climate emergency, but they are willing to look at what they can do from an operational standpoint to reduce waste.

Michèle Andrews, a member of the grassroots group Sustainable Merrickville-Wolford, asked the United Counties to declare a climate emergency and initiate a task force to create a climate action plan for the counties.

“So many of us are already experiencing the very real, immediate, local impacts from the climate crisis, be it in recent floods, air and water quality questions, and the significant increase in Lyme disease in our area,” she said in a report to council Tuesday.

People are concerned, she said, and looking for ways to take practical steps to make a difference. This is where declaring a climate emergency at the counties level would come into play, she added.


Practical approach eyed for climate adaptation plan

Sarnia Observer / Tyler Kula / 04 November 2019

Sarnia is one of 59 small and medium-sized municipalities to receive a share of the $6.5 million in federal Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program funding for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities-recommended task.

Sarnia’s $125,000 program is 80 per cent funded via the grant.

The expected effects of climate change in Sarnia include heavy rains; hot, dry, longer summers; extreme winters; and damaging winds.

Sewer system surcharging; flooding basements; localized surface flooding; urban forests impacted by heat, dryness, disease and storm damage; increased energy consumption in the summer; and more wear on city infrastructure during winter freeze-thaw cycles are some of the expected results.

Meanwhile, Sarnia, like many municipalities, is already in a financial hole, dealing with millions of dollars in backlogged infrastructure work.


Frontenac Arch UNESCO mandate renewed

Recorder & Times / Ronald Zajac / 30 October 2019

The local biosphere group also used the occasion to announce the start of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Climate Action Team, which has an initial goal of organizing a youth climate summit for high school students within the Frontenac Arch area in April 2020.

The aim is to have a student-organized and driven effort, with student teams developing climate action plans for their schools and communities.

Longtime network board member Gary Clarke said the initiative stems from a visit a year ago to an event in Tupper Lake, where locals were impressed with the level of youth enthusiasm for taking on the challenges of climate change.

Next week, five students from Brockville Collegiate Institute will represent Canada at the 11th Adirondack Youth Climate Summit, held at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, in preparation for the planned summit here next year, added Clarke.

“The time for marching is over,” said Clarke. “It’s time to address the problem in concrete ways.”


Cities turn to urban forests to combat climate change

Globe and Mail / David Israelson / 28 October 2019

Urban parks and trees also provide cost-effective ways to control and moderate climate change, says Jake Tobin Garrett, policy and planning manager for Park People, a national not-for-profit group that supports the creation and maintenance of parks in Canadian cities and towns.

“Think of green spaces as natural air conditioners,” he says, “but a lot cheaper and longer-lasting than air-conditioning units – and trees don’t burn fuel and emit carbon fumes.”

A study released by Park People in September identifies three significant ways increased parkland addresses climate change.


City of Toronto encourages pollinator gardens

National Observer / The Canadian Press / 27 October 2019

While most homeowners are raking autumn leaves, Mike Perozak is helping his neighbours in downtown Toronto prepare their gardens to welcome guests in the spring.

They are ripping up grass, filling their lawns with native plants meant to encourage bees and other pollinators to take up residence next year.

The 58-year-old and several of his neighbours are tapping into a municipal grant program that gives participants $5,000 to make their homes a haven for pollinators and hopefully reverse the decline of a species that’s essential for crop production across the country.


Grow cover crops for the best garden soil

Mother Earth News / Harvey Ussery / October/November 2011

Consider cover crops your most important crops, because the requirements for abundant food crops — building soil fertility, improving soil texture, suppressing weeds, and inhibiting disease and crop-damaging insects — can be best met by the abundant use of cover crops, season after season […]

The most important strategy of all is: Do it now! When I complete a food crop harvest in fall, that same day I plant an overwinter cover crop. If I harvest a spring crop such as lettuce from a bed that I won’t be planting again until fall, I sow a fast-growing interim cover crop that does well in summer heat, such as buckwheat or cowpeas. The best time to plant a cover crop is anytime a bed is not covered by a food crop or mulch.


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The Transition Framework

What the Transition movement does incredibly well is small-scale experiments which are practical, which resonate with local people, which look as if they’re doable, and that can engage people at a practical and meaningful level. It connects up the big issues and the local issues and shows you that change can happen at a local level.

— Julian Dobson, 21 Stories of Transition
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