Newsletter 081, 19 August 2013

Prepared by Hugh Campbell, TB Coordinator

Top Story: The Tar Sands Pipeline: Is North Grenville Safe?

Sustainable North Grenville

TransCanada Corp is proposing to pipe 1.1 Million barrels of tar sands oil a day across the Rideau River and through North Grenville. Unlike conventional oil, tar sands oil (diluted bitumen) is more toxic, corrosive and thick, making it more difficult to clean up when spills occur.

What will this mean for our water, air and land? What can concerned citizens do?

[ Website ]

TB/BPL: Next Presentation

Imagine having the flexibility to go places by car any time you need to – but not having the costs and responsibilities that come with owning one.

That’s what AutoShare members in Toronto have been doing since 1998. They aren’t simply renting a car. They join a group of 12,000 members (individuals, families, businesses) that share a large fleet of cars, reserve a car for the time and place they want, use their special key card to get in the car, and drive off.

As costs of car ownership, including the price of gas, continue to rise, the option of sharing cars starts to make a lot of sense, so Transition Brockville has invited Kevin McLaughlin, president and founder of AutoShare, to speak at our next presentation.

In addition to describing the AutoShare concept, McLaughlin will offer insights into how something like this might work in a town the size of Brockville.

WHAT: Kevin McLaughlin, Autoshare: Carshare services

WHEN: Saturday, August 24, 2:00 pm

WHERE: Meeting Room, Brockville Public Library, 23 Buell Street, Brockville

TB/BPL: Upcoming Presentations

September 22:  Harvest Potluck and TB workshop planning

October 27:  Ben Powless, Indigenous Environmental Network

November 24: Christine and Bob Stesky: Solar PV and net metering (w/o FIT)

Please let us know what you'd like to hear about, or to hear more about, through this online form.

TB Online (now with Links!)

Local Business Directory - Locally owned and operated businesses are encouraged to get listed. All are encouraged to check for local suppliers before heading to the big boxes which, on balance, siphon more resources from our community.

Brockville Reuses - This free household goods exchange is now available for plant and garden produce exchanges. Resulting reductions in landfill emissions are calculated automatically.

TB Talk - What's on your mind? Maybe you'd like to know where our flood-prone areas are? Or if we have a contingency plan for a train derailment? Maybe you can recommend a water filtration product or food dehydrator for home use?

How walkable is your Brockville neighbourhood?

The Walk Score website lets you see how walkable your neighbourhood is. Enter your home address and see on a Google Map how far you can walk in 20 minutes, and what facilities are within that range. Or modify the time to see other ranges. Or switch from Walking mode to Bicycling or Driving — use the widget in the top right corner.

[ Website ]

L-G injects $400,000 into parkway bike path

St Lawrence EMC / 01 August 2013

Counties Council has approved a contribution of $400,000 for the second phase of the 1000 Islands Parkway Recreational Trail revitalization project. The contribution will be financed over a two-year period and is subject to another $600,000 being raised for the project’s completion.

[ Full Article ]

E-K Cultural Mapping project under way

St Lawrence EMC / 01 August 2013

The Heritage Elizabethtown-Kitley Committee is pleased to announce that it has begun a Cultural Mapping Project of the municipality. Made possible by a provincial grant from the Creative Communities Prosperity Fund (CCPF) and support from the Township, the project will help identify and map the community’s cultural assets for the purpose of building community, attracting visitors and encouraging economic opportunities in the area.

[ Full Article ]

Domestic Content Direction and Price Schedule Updates (FIT)

Ontario Power Authority / 16 August 2013

On August 16, 2013, the Minister of Energy directed the OPA to make changes to the FIT and microFIT Programs, including changes to the domestic content rules applicable to new contracts. The Minister’s Letter of Direction is available here. The OPA has also reviewed and updated the FIT and microFIT price schedule. The OPA is required to review the prices offered to generators under the FIT and microFIT programs on a regular basis to ensure both ratepayer value and a fair return on investment. The new price schedule is available here. This price schedule will apply to any new contracts that are issued while the price schedule is in effect. More information is available on the FIT website.

Federation of Community Power Co-operatives

The Federation of Community Power Co-operatives is a province-wide umbrella organization for community power co-ops in Ontario that are developing grid-tied renewable energy projects. We exist to unite, represent and serve the community power co-op community across the province. We are increasing the number of renewable energy co-ops developed at the highest possible standards by establishing best practices and sharing resources. We envision a thriving community power sector in Ontario in which every Ontarian has the opportunity to generate and own their local power supply.

[ Website ]

Environmentalists split on green energy projects

Toronto Star / Rachel Mendleson / 05 August 2013

In the war over renewable energy, environmentalists once stood together, united against opponents who didn’t believe in climate change or the value of cutting greenhouse gases to address it. But recently, a raft of wind and solar farms proposed for ecologically sensitive areas has created a schism among their ranks. While many self-proclaimed environmentalists continue to champion the virtues of Ontario’s Green Energy Act, which jump-started the province’s renewable energy industry, others are taking the somewhat awkward position of opposing projects billed as green. According to Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner, many of these green-versus-green conflicts are rooted in the fact the province has put commercial interests before those of local communities.

[ Full Article ]

Line 9 assessment process is undemocratic

Toronto Star / Editorial / 18 August 2013

In the critical negotiation between Canada’s short-term economic interests and the preservation of our natural bounty, democracy dictates that citizens get a say. So why, as the National Energy Board considers a proposal to increase and reverse the flow of Enbridge’s Line 9, an oil pipeline that crosses the GTA [and Brockville], are concerned Canadians finding themselves unable to weigh in?

In April, the NEB announced that anyone wishing to speak at its public hearing on Line 9, or even write a letter on the subject, had to apply to do so, within a two-week period, by filling out a prolix nine-page form that resembled something out of Kafka. Those who became aware of the new rules early enough, and could spare the hours to complete the form, were asked to parse paragraphs like this: “Before you continue with this form, refer to the Board’s Guidance Document on Section 55.2 and Participation in a Facilities Hearing attached to the Hearing Order OH-002-2013 as Appendix VI . . . ” And even if you managed to wade through the form, the board might still reject your application.

This daunting new barrier to participation complies with measures in Bill C-38, the 2012 federal omnibus budget bill, which limited the scope of certain environmental assessments. Whether it complies with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, on the other hand, is another matter.

[ Full Article ]

SWITCH Comments On Enbridge Line 9B Pipeline

SWITCH / Newsletter / 06 August 2013

On April 18 SWITCH applied to provide a letter of comment on the Enbridge Pipelines Line 9B Reversal and Line 9 Capacity Expansion Project. SWITCH was approved as a commenter on May 22.

SWITCH submitted its letter of comment to the National Energy Board today. The letter discusses factors concerning:

·        The need for the proposed project

·        Potential commercial impacts

·        Potential environmental and socio-economic effects

·        Safety, security, and contingency planning

·        Terms and conditions of the project


Read the SWITCH Letter of Comment in its entirety on the National Energy Board website.

Energy East oil line: Higher NatGas costs for easterners?

Globe and Mail / Sophie Cousineau / 04 August 2013

“In peak winter time, the TransCanada mainline represents 40 per cent of Quebec and Ontario’s consumption needs,” says Patrick Cabana, Gaz Metro’s vice-president for supply and regulatory affairs [...] “As of Nov. 1. 2015, we don’t even have enough guaranteed capacity to serve our current customers’ consumption,” says Mr. Cabana. For customers such as IFFCO Canada, for which natural gas represents close to half of their production costs, this uncertainty is unnerving.

[ Full Article ]

Petition: Close the Pickering Nuclear Station

The aging Pickering reactors are reaching the end of their design life in 2014 and should be shut down. Learn more and sign the petition to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne here.

Interactive map supports adaptation planning in Great Lakes region / University of Michigan / 14 August 2013

A jointly developed interactive map launched this month by the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute and Headwaters Economics gives Great Lakes policymakers and decision-makers easy access to targeted data to help them plan for, and adapt to, the regional impacts of climate change. The free online tool — the Socioeconomics and Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region map — provides social, economic and demographic statistics on 225 counties in the region, overlaid with detailed data about municipal spending, land-use change and climate-change characteristics [...]

The online tool — which includes historical data from 1951 to 2011 — covers counties in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. U-M and Headwaters Economics expect to co-develop a similar map for Ontario in the months ahead.

[ Full Article ]  [ Interactive Map ]

UK Snapshot – Friday, August 16, 2013

The Guardian / 16 August 2013

Food bank Britain: life below the line – The use of food banks has tripled in 12 months, as even people in work struggle to feed themselves and their families.

Household energy use falls 24.7% – Families are using a quarter less energy than in 2005 as efficiency measures and rising costs take effect.

Weather Snapshot – Friday, August 9, 2013

The Oil Drum – Drumbeat / Seraph / 09 August 2013

·        Austria sets new all-time high temperature as European heat wave hits peak

·        Shanghai sets new all-time record (again) as heat wave bakes eastern China

·        Hungarian Roma queue for water in heatwave after pumps shut down

·        Scorching new heatwave to hit UK … and the hottest day of the year is STILL yet to come

·        July heat wave too hot for D.C. ambulances: Extreme temperatures overwhelm AC units in three-fourths of vehicles

·        Anchorage Breaks Heat Record, in Unusually Warm Summer

·        Global Heatwave: Temperatures Reaching Record Levels in UK, China, Korea, Austria and Hungary

·        Roads Washed Out, Water Rescues in North Georgia

·        A Summer’s Worth of Rain Falls in One Week in Missouri

·        Flooding claims more lives in rain-battered states


[ Source ]

State of the Climate in 2012

NOAA / 06 August 2013

Worldwide, 2012 was among the 10 warmest years on record according to the 2012 State of the Climate report released online today by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). The peer-reviewed report, with scientists from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., serving as lead editors, was compiled by 384 scientists from 52 countries. It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on land, sea, ice, and sky.

“Many of the events that made 2012 such an interesting year are part of the long-term trends we see in a changing and varying climate — carbon levels are climbing, sea levels are rising, Arctic sea ice is melting, and our planet as a whole is becoming a warmer place,” said Acting NOAA Administrator Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D. “This annual report is well-researched, well-respected, and well-used; it is a superb example of the timely, actionable climate information that people need from NOAA to help prepare for extremes in our ever-changing environment.”

[ Full Press Release ]

Global Warming Linked With Increased Violence Worldwide

Nature World News / Tamarra Kemsley / 01 August 2013

A look back at the last 12,000 years of human history reveals even small spikes in temperature and precipitation can yield major surges in violence and social upheaval — a troubling discovery when the world is projected to warm by an average of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2050. The study, published in the journal Science, was led by researchers from Princeton University and The University of California, Berkeley, who analyzed 60 studies from a number of disciplines exploring the connection between weather and violence throughout the world as far back as 10,000 BC and continuing on to present day. In doing so, they found that while climate is not the sole or primary cause of violence, it clearly exacerbates existing social and interpersonal tension in all societies, regardless of wealth or stability.

[ Full Article ]

Four Hiroshima bombs a second: how we imagine climate change

The Conversation / David Holmes / 14 August 2013

The planet is building up heat at the equivalent of four Hiroshima bombs worth of energy every second. And 90% of that heat is going into the oceans.

Right, now I’ve got your attention.

It’s widely acknowledged that we need to keep climate change below 2C to avoid catastrophic impacts on society. To do so we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But this makes for tough choices for our leaders and for ourselves. Convincing people of the urgency of climate change is no mean feat.

Representing climate change and ocean warming as Hiroshima bombs attracted the attention of news media around the world. So, when it comes to sharpening people’s focus, which images have the most impact?

[ Full Article ]

Reports of death of peak oil are premature

Hernando Today / Kevin Carson / 24 July 2013

Fossil fuel from deep offshore wells, shale and tar sands has one thing in common: It’s costly and difficult to extract, bottom-of-the-barrel stuff, worth bothering with only because the low-hanging fruit has already been picked. There’s a technical term called EROEI – Energy Return on Energy Investment – referring to the number of units of energy it costs to extract a unit of usable energy from any given source. These new sources of oil all have very low energy returns on energy investment. It takes a lot of energy to get just a little more net usable energy at the end of the process.

That means it’s only profitable when it’s heavily subsidized by taxpayers, extracted from stolen land at government expense. And even then, the total increase in net energy output doesn’t equal the oil produced by all those legacy fields in places like Saudi Arabia and Texas that are near exhaustion.

America’s 20th-century economy developed largely by adding more and more inputs of artificially cheap resources, guaranteed by the state, rather than by using resources more efficiently. The fossil fuel economy and everything dependent on it – mass production factories supplying distant markets, suburban sprawl, the car culture – was essentially a free rider on this artificial abundance created by the state. And now even the state is realizing that there are limits to its resources.

[ Full Article ]

Shale Is A Pipedream Sold To Greater Fools

The Automatic Earth / Ilargi / 06 August 2013

The predictions for the future of shale gas, whether they’re accurate or not, have pushed domestic US gas prices so low that while the American economy enjoys a temporary windfall, profit margins for actually producing it have fallen so much it’s hardly economically viable any longer. At the Bakken play, well over $1 billion worth of gas is simply flared off, and that’s probably a lowball estimate. A waste? Absolutely. Polluting? You bet. But there’s no profit in shale gas anymore.

As for shale oil, “tight oil”, the numbers are, to say the least, “disappointing”. Rune Likvern compared it last year at the now defunct Oil Drum to the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland, who has to run ever faster just to stand still. But you’re not going to hear this from the major players in the oil industry. They still have far too many losses to make up for to come clean on their mistakes.

[ Full Article ]

Reality Check: “Drowning in Oil”

04 March 1999: The Economist

We may be heading for $5 (oil). To see why, consider chart 1. Thanks to new technology and productivity gains, you might expect the price of oil, like that of most other commodities, to fall slowly over the years.

Judging by the oil market in the pre-OPEC era, a “normal” market price might now be in the $5-10 range. Factor in the current slow growth of the world economy and the normal price drops to the bottom of that range.

02 August 2013: CLU13.NYM – Crude Oil Futures Sep 13 – $106.88

Frack Gag’ Bans Children From Talking About Fracking, Forever

Climate Progress / Andrew Breiner / 02 August 2013

When drilling company Range Resources offered the Hallowich family a $750,000 settlement to relocate from their fracking-polluted home in Washington County, Pennsylvania, it came with a common restriction. Chris and Stephanie Hallowich would be forbidden from ever speaking about fracking or the Marcellus Shale. But one element of the gag order was all new. The Hallowichs’ two young children, ages 7 and 10, would be subject to the same restrictions, banned from speaking about their family’s experience for the rest of their lives.

The Hallowich family’s gag order is only the most extreme example of a tactic that critics say effectively silences anyone hurt by fracking. It’s a choice between receiving compensation for damage done to one’s health and property, or publicizing the abuses that caused the harm. Virtually no one can forgo compensation, so their stories go untold.

[ Full Article ]

Neonicotinoids are the new DDT killing the natural world

The Guardian / George Monbiot / 05 August 2013

It’s the new DDT: a class of poisons licensed for widespread use before they had been properly tested, which are now ripping the natural world apart. And it’s another demonstration of the old truth that those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.

It is only now, when neonicotinoids are already the world’s most widely deployed insecticides, that we are beginning to understand how extensive their impacts are. Just as the manufacturers did for DDT, the corporations which make these toxins claimed that they were harmless to species other than the pests they targeted. Just as they did for DDT, they have threatened people who have raised concerns, published misleading claims and done all they can to bamboozle the public. And, as if to ensure that the story sticks to the old script, some governments have collaborated in this effort.

[ Full Article ]

Investors in agriculture ignore environmental risks at their peril

The Guardian / Oliver Balch / 12 August 2013

Global farmland asset values, for instance, have quadrupled in value since 2002. Commodity prices have spiked as well, with the benchmark FAO Food Price Index more than doubling between 2002 and the end of 2011.

Yet, agriculture is not without its risks, particularly those relating to the environment. Climate change, green regulations, disease, fertiliser availability: the list of potential wobbles along the way is vast and complex. Take water. Global agriculture is currently responsible for 70% of all water withdrawn from aquifers, streams and lakes. If the taps are turned off or these water resources run dry, the implications for the farming sector are potentially disastrous.

“You can’t invest in agriculture without thinking carefully about these issues”, warned Ben Caldecott, co-author of the new report, Stranded Assets in Agriculture, and a programme director at the University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and Environment.

[ Full Article ]

S&P 500 Companies Post Record Level of Pension Underfunding

S&P Dow Jones Indices / Press Release / 31 July 2013

A report published today by S&P Dow Jones Indices reveals that, despite strong double-digit gains in the equity markets last year, S&P 500(R) issues posted record pension and OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits) underfunding for fiscal 2012. The report, “S&P 500 2012 Pensions and Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB): The Final Frontier,” can be accessed in full by going to

Data shows that S&P 500 defined pensions reached an underfunding status of $451.7 billion in fiscal 2012, a $97 billion increase over the $354.7 billion posted in 2011 and a $200+ billion increase over the $245 billion posted in 2010. OPEB underfunded levels increased to $234.9 billion in 2012 from $223.4 billion in 2011 and $210.1 billion at the end of 2010. Combined, the amount of assets that S&P 500 companies set aside to fund pensions and OPEB amounted to $1.60 trillion in 2012, covering $2.29 trillion in obligations with the resulting underfunding equating to $687 billion, or a 70.0% overall funding rate.

[ Full Press Release ]

Markets – and information, preferences, knowledge and belief

FEASTA / Brian Davey / 10 August 2013

In this chapter it is my intention to explore what ought to be blindingly obvious – that the everyday life of many people precludes getting much information about ecological systems and nature, or forming deep “preferences” that would mean that they would seek to protect it. For billions of people nature and the eco-system have become “out of sight and out of mind”. The evolution of market society has progressively cut them off from the possibility of knowledge about the environment and nature. It has evolved institutions and practices that actively try to prevent them being adequately informed about the perilous state of the ecological system, actively try to mislead them about how dangerous things are, and actively encourages participation in a system of consumption that uses resources without considering ecological consequences. This is a system intent on shaping peoples’ values in an anti-ecological way.

While the economist priesthood tell us that what makes a market society so wonderful is that it caters to peoples’ preferences, allocating resources according to the signals in market valuations, the deeper reality is that the most powerful players seeks to shape what value we place on things in their own interests and in ways that are ecologically destructive.

[ Full Article ]

Are you ready to embrace the apocalypse?

The Guardian / Hal Niedzviecki / 15 August 2013

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future lately. I’ve got two daughters. The youngest turned two this spring, an occasion that gave me the opportunity to carve out the mental space to start a new writing project and reflect on what the world is going to look like in 40 years, when she’s my age. Most popular imaginings of the future veer to extremes: the future is going to be a hi-tech paradise of machine-human mindmeld; or it’s going to be an overpopulated disease-ridden desert of zombies and armed zones of privilege. The rhetoric around the future swirls endlessly but almost effortlessly gravitates to the hyperbolic of Hollywood and the hype of Silicon Valley.

But the more I look into how and why we think the way we do about the future, the more it has become clear to me that neither future scenario has been helping me find a way forward; I’m left still looking for a way to understand what comes next for a planet so obviously under severe stress it seems hardly histrionic to worry about what will be left for my daughters when they’re 40 and I’m on my way out.

[ Full Article ]

The Art of Social Enterprise: Business as if People Mattered

The current business-for-profit model rewards short-term thinking, narrow self-interest, and a social-and-environmental-costs-be-damned attitude. Non-profits, while more focused on the greater good, tend to be inherently resource-challenged and rely on increasingly scarce grants and donations to sustain their existence. Social enterprise is an exciting, blended model driven by the desire to create positive change through entrepreneurial activities.

The Art of Social Enterprise is a practical guide which supplies everything you need to know about the mechanics of social entrepreneurship including:

·        Startup – envisioning and manifesting intention

·        Strategic planning – balancing social and monetary value

·        Maintaining an even keel despite the inevitable challenges associated with being an entrepreneur.


This valuable resource also provides an unparalleled legal perspective to help you take advantage of established legal organizational forms, recent statutory creations, contract hybrids, certification programs and more.

Aimed at emerging as well as established social entrepreneurs, for-profit leaders who want to introduce an element of social responsibility into their companies, and non-profit organizations who want to increase their stability by generating income, The Art of Social Enterprise is the definitive guide to doing well while doing good.

[ Website ]  [ Order Online From Leeds County Books ]

In Vermont Boat Project, A New Model for Carbon-Free Shipping

Yale Environment 360 / Mat McDermott / 31 July 2013

This week a new sailing barge was launched on Lake Champlain that its backers hope will soon be in the vanguard of a new carbon-neutral shipping alternative. The 39-foot Ceres — built by volunteers from the Vermont Sail Freight Project and farmer Erik Andrus — is an update on the type of cargo vessels that once plied the inland waterways throughout the northeastern U.S. Like them, the Ceres will sail without any sort of motorized assistance.

With the Ceres, the Vermont Sail Freight Project, which is supported by the nonprofit Willowell Foundation, hopes to prove that carbon-neutral boats can be a viable shipping method for the 21st century, connecting small-scale farmers in Vermont and upstate New York with customers along the Hudson River south to New York City — all while reducing the substantial greenhouse gas emissions that come from conventional shipping of produce, which is dominated in the region by trucks.

[ Full Article ]

Goats keep weeds in check across U.S.

USA Today / Jordan Friedman / 15 August 2013

Goats are helping the USA go green. Cities, residents and even airports are bringing in herds to clear overgrown parcels of land as an alternative to using chemicals. The animals grabbed national headlines this past week as the Historic Congressional Cemetery in Washington brought them in to help trim down a 1.5-acre, overgrown area the cemetery owns. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport turned to goats recently, along with sheep and llamas, to feast on plants on 120 acres in the northeastern corner of the airport.

[ Full Article ]

Why are young adults returning to downtown?

Better! Cities & Towns / Robert Steuteville / August 2013

Much has been said about Millennials — the generation born from 1980 through the late 1990s, sometimes called Gen Y and Echo Boomers — choosing downtown living. Two-thirds of this cohort believes it is important to live in walkable neighborhoods, the consultant Robert Charles Lesser & Company has reported. As downtowns revive, Millennials often account for the lion’s share of the market.

In June we reported that the nation’s Driving Boom, which last six decades, is over — largely because Millennials are driving less. “Between 2001 and 2009, the average yearly number of miles driven by 16- to 34-year-olds dropped a staggering 23 percent,” wrote Brad Plumer in The Washington Post. Rising costs of driving, barriers to teenagers getting licenses, technology that makes car-free living easier, and preference toward urban living are reasons for the trend, the article explained.

[ Full Article ]

One Small Step: The Big Benefits of Walking to Work

LiveScience / Chad Brooks / 08 August 2013

Commuters who trade in their car for a pair of comfortable shoes will do more than just save money on gas, new research finds.

A study by researchers at Imperial College London and University College London discovered that people who walk to work are roughly 40 percent less likely to have diabetes compared with those who drive to work. Using data from a survey of 20,000 people across the U.K., researchers examined how various health indicators were associated with people’s method of getting to work. They found that people who cycled, walked and used public transportation were less likely to be overweight compared with those who drove or took a taxi.

[ Full Article ]

Walking to School Improves Students’ Concentration

Mother Earth News / Rebecca Martin / 15 February 2013

Exercise is as important as diet in improving concentration among school children, a Danish study has discovered.

Researchers in Denmark examined the habits of nearly 20,000 children between the ages of 5 and 19 as part of the study. Participating students answered a few questions about how they got to school, and then performed a simple cognitive task (such as assembling a puzzle). The kids who had cycled or walked to school performed better than those who had been driven by their parents or ridden public transportation. Most surprisingly to researchers, the exercise helped improve concentration for about four hours after the walkers or cyclists arrived in the classroom.

[ Full Article ]

10 Nutrition Tips to Boost Health and Flavor in Fresh Food

Mother Earth News / Jo Robinson / August/September 2013

I’ve spent the past 10 years combing through scientific studies for little-known, but important nutritional information about fruits and vegetables. I’ve discovered a great deal of valuable research that has yet to filter down to consumers.

Some of the findings are surprising — and incredibly easy to put to use. Who would have thought you could double the amount of antioxidants in lettuce simply by tearing it into bite-sized pieces a day or so before you eat it? Or that you’ll get even more of the bionutrient lycopene from a watermelon if you leave the melon on the kitchen counter rather than storing it in your refrigerator?

You may need to learn a few new tricks and change some habits, but you’ll be well-rewarded for your effort in the form of boosted flavor and better health. Plus, you don’t have to spend any extra time or money. Here are 10 nutrition tips to take full advantage of all the health benefits fresh produce has to offer.

[ Full Article ]

Build a Root Cellar: A Complete Guidebook

Mother Earth News / Vicki Mattern / August/September 2011

Root cellars — a common feature of early American homes — are gaining new favor as food and energy prices surge, and also as homeowners discover how much better locally grown produce tastes. Whether you garden or buy in bulk at your local farmers market, you can enjoy fresh carrots, cabbage, beets, potatoes, apples, grapes and lots more year-round if you create a space with the right temperature and humidity. You can go so far as to make an insulated room in your basement — complete with ventilation controls — or you can simply start with a barrel buried in the ground.

No matter the type of root cellar you choose, The Complete Root Cellar Book by Steve Maxwell and Jennifer MacKenzie is a comprehensive guidebook that will help you construct and use these smart, money-saving structures.

[ Full Article ]  [ Order Online From Leeds County Books ]

Expert Advice: 10 Ways to Live with Less

Remodelista / Sarah Lonsdale / 31 May 2013

When Bea Johnson, her husband, Scott, and their two children moved from a large house to a temporary apartment while they were looking for a new home in Marin, they put much of their belongings in storage and lived with just the necessities. Doing so proved to be an epiphany when they realized that they really did not need all the stuff that they had accumulated. This was also the genesis for Bea’s move to embrace simplicity; soon after, she started her Zero Waste Home to document her travails. She points out that it was a slow process to begin with, but once she started paying attention to consumption and the way her family lives, the easier it became. Here she tells us how we can do the same with 10 ways to live with less.

[ Full Article ]


Ocean Apocalypse

Jeremy Jackson addresses the U.S. Naval War College, January 7, 2013

Americans bidding farewell to suburbs

The proverbial American dream of white picket fences in suburbia seems to have lost its luster as a radical new housing trend shows families staying put in the city

A guide to carrying your child on a bicycle


Events currently showing on the Transition Brockville Event Calendar


WHAT: Workshop: Environmental Farm Plan - Day 1 of 2

WHEN: Wednesday, August 21, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

WHERE: Chesterville Legion Hall, 167 Queen Street, Chesterville

Environmental Farm Plans (EFP) are assessments voluntarily prepared by farm families to increase their environmental awareness. Through the EFP process, farmers will highlight their farm's environmental strengths, identify areas of environmental concern, and set realistic action plans with time tables to improve environmental conditions. Farmers may choose to submit their action plan for an independent review.

More info and registration:


WHAT: Open House: Ontario's Long-Term Energy Plan

WHEN: Wednesday, August 21, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

WHERE: Westin Hotel, 11 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa

The Ministry of Energy is consulting with the public, energy stakeholders, and partners across the province through to the end of August. Your input on how the province shapes our energy future is very important for an environmental and economically sustainable energy system.

More info:


WHAT: Community Energy Retreat

WHEN: Thursday, August 22, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

WHERE: Desmarais Bldg, Rm 12102, U of Ottawa, 55 Laurier Avenue East,  Ottawa

Following on the footsteps of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson's recent commitment to renew the city's climate change action plan, the retreat will focus on the specific policies and programs municipalities can implement in order to be a leader in taking action on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

More info and registration:


WHAT: Brockville Farmers' Market 180th Anniversary

WHEN: Saturday, August 24, 10:00 am – 12 noon

WHERE: Market Street West, Brockville

Our Annual Customer Appreciation Day is Saturday August 24 and what better way to celebrate our 180th Anniversary of the Market than with our customers and the citizens who have supported us! The Farmers’ Market says thank you for your patronage and hope that you will come and celebrate with us. Our vendors will be serving free sweet corn from10:00 am to 12:00 pm with a special presentation at 11:00 am.


WHAT: Workshop: Environmental Farm Plan - Day 2 of 2

WHEN: Wednesday, August 28, 10:30 am

WHERE: Chesterville Legion Hall, 167 Queen Street, Chesterville

Environmental Farm Plans (EFP) are assessments voluntarily prepared by farm families to increase their environmental awareness. Through the EFP process, farmers will highlight their farm's environmental strengths, identify areas of environmental concern, and set realistic action plans with time tables to improve environmental conditions. Farmers may choose to submit their action plan for an independent review.

More info and registration:


WHAT: Brockville Household Special Waste Day

WHEN: Saturday, September 7, 8:00 am – 2:00 pm

WHERE: Centennial Youth Arena, First Avenue, Brockville

Please note that the Hazardous Waste day is only one option to deal with your hazardous waste. To see other options, please visit


WHAT: Workshop: Water Wise Gardening and Safe Food Preservation

WHEN: Saturday, September 7, 8:45 am – 12 noon

WHERE: Royal Canadian Legion, 141 Henry Street, Prescott

• Water Wise Gardening - As water becomes more and more a limited resource, the methods used for gardening need to be adapted. The topics of how, where and why to establish gardens that require less water will be discussed. Suggestions for water collection, such as rain barrel, will be offered.

• Safe Preserving - This workshop will teach you practical techniques to help preserve local harvest safely. You will also explore ways to make your harvest last through the winter months.

Donations of dry goods or cash for the Food Bank are welcome. Space is limited - Register Now! Registration: 

This event is hosted by the Food Matters Coalition. More info: Call Lynda Earl at 613-345-5685 x2215


WHAT: BPL Fundraiser with Journalist Craig Oliver

WHEN: Wednesday, September 11, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

WHERE: Auditorium, Brockville Collegiate Institute, 90 Pearl Street, Brockville

Tickets are available for $20 at the Brockville Public Library and at Leeds County Books.


WHAT: Harvest Sharing

WHEN: Tuesday, September 17, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

WHERE: Country Roads Community Health Centre, 4319 Cove Rd, Portland

Bring some of your harvest to share. Sample local goods. Find out what’s growing in your community. OPEN TO EVERYONE.

Registration: contact Kate at 613-272-3302 (x237), 1-888-998-9927 (x237) or


WHAT: Brockville Community Treasure Hunt

WHEN: Saturday, September 21, 9:00 am – 7:00 pm

WHERE: The curb in front of your house

Leave any unwanted but still useful items at the curb in front of your house by 9 a.m. Remove any uncollected treasures from your curb that evening. Residents who fail to remove uncollected treasures from the curb will be subject to fines of $70 to $5,000. Treasure Hunters: Take items placed at the curb only. Do not take any items from the lawn. All treasures claimed in an “as is” condition. The City provides this event as a public service and assumes no responsibility for the treasures collected.


* * *

It is not the strongest of the species that survives... nor the most intelligent that survives.

It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.