Newsletter 086, 20 January 2014


November was the hottest ever, U.S. scientists say

Globe and Mail / Marcia Dunn / 17 December 2013

Government scientists reported Tuesday that last month set a heat record. They say it was the warmest November on record, across Earth, since record-keeping began in 1880. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says average global temperature, for water and land surfaces combined, was 56.6 degrees (13.7 Celsius). That's 1.4 degrees (0.78 degrees Celsius) above the 20th-century average.

It was the 37th consecutive November with above-average temperatures. The last below-average November was in 1976. It was also the 345th straight month with above-average temperatures. That's almost 29 years.


Next up: The Emergence of E-Bikes

If you're not as young as you used to be, but you're looking for a way to get around town that doesn't increase your carbon footprint, consider using an e-bike - a bicycle, tricycle or scooter that's power-assisted by a small electric motor.

That's what Brockville's Tim Webb decided to do back in 2010, when he needed a vehicle to run errands in town but didn't want to get a second car. A retired military veteran and award-winning chef, he wanted to reduce his carbon footprint, but an injury from his military years left him with too little endurance to use a conventional bike. Now a member of the City's Cycling Advisory Commitee, Webb has become a dedicated advocate of e-bikes in their several forms and will discuss active transportation and the emergence of e-bikes in detail at our next presentation.

While e-bikes are an excellent option for people who find walking or regular cycling too strenuous, they also appeal to younger people. Anyone 16 or older can use an e-bike, which still requires no license, no registration and no insurance. E-bikes can be ridden in the rain and on the streets.

In his talk on Sunday, Webb will discuss e-bike styles, including emerging styles such as the Copenhagen Wheel and the YikeBike, as well as the pros and cons of each. In addition, he'll get into legal issues involving e-bikes and will talk about Brockville's cycling by-laws. Webb will give a slide presentation and take questions from the audience. If weather permits, he'll bring his e-scooter so people can have a good look at it. Refreshments will be served, courtesy of foodcoreLGL.

WHEN: Sunday, January 26, 2:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Public Library, 23 Buell Street, Brockville

Later Presentations

February 23: Carol Williams: Inner Transition
March 23: [TBA]

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


Community Outreach

Members of our Steering Committee are available to speak to groups throughout the community, whether it be a lunch-and-learn at your place of business, a formal presentation to your faith group, or an informal neighbourhood discussion. Contact us at

Local Business Directory

One of the most popular features of the TB website is our searchable Local Business Directory, which we set up to encourage patronage of locally owned businesses. Would you like to list your business with this free service? Would you like us to add any others? Contact us at

Our Top 50 Article Tags


The provincial government is supporting a new program launched by members of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative in an effort to adapt their municipalities to climate change. The one time, $145,000 grant will help develop the Municipal Adaptation and Resilience Service or MARS program. The goal of ...

3.5 years after Enbridge's tar sands pipeline disaster / Sonia Grant / 14 January 2014
As communities in Ontario and Quebec await the National Energy Board's (NEB) decision on the Line 9 reversal, new details about the devastating impacts of Enbridge's now infamous 2010 Kalamazoo River spill in Michigan raise a series of unanswered questions about the health impacts of exposure to spil...

New Energy East Website

SWITCH / Newsletter / 24 December 2013
The Ontario Energy Board has launched an OEB Energy East website. The site is the first part of a consultation with Ontario residents on TransCanada Ltd.'s Energy East Pipeline project. TransCanada's proposed project involves converting an existing natural gas pipeline to carry crude oil through northern and eastern Ontario, constructing a new section in easter...


Ontario strikes a good balance on planning for energy future

Toronto Star / Marlo Raynolds / 07 January 2014
Put yourself in the position of being responsible to satisfy: more than 4 million customers who want the lights to go on 100 per cent of the time and power never to cost more than last year; hard-working electrical workers wanting job security and more jobs; people living anywhere near or who can see any...

Paved Shoulders Private Members Bill Passes 2nd Reading

Norm Miller MPP / Press Release / 12 December 2013
This afternoon, Parry Sound - Muskoka MPP Norm Miller's private members Bill 137 passed second reading with the support of all three parties, and moved on to committee, and is one step closer to becoming law. The bill, if enacted, would require a minimum one-metre paved shoulder on designate...

Ontario wines soon to appear at farmers' markets

Ottawa Citizen / Rachel Collier / 17 December 2013
Ottawa is buzzing over the provincial government's announcement that Ontario wineries will soon be able to sell their goods at farmers' markets. Robin Turner, president of the board of the Ottawa Farmers' Market, said Tuesday he is thrilled about the decision and is excited to have wine...


Canada's carbon emissions projected to soar by 2030

The Guardian / Stephen Leahy / 14 January 2014
Canada's carbon emissions will soar 38% by 2030 mainly due to expanding tar sands projects, according to the government's own projections. In a new report to the United Nations, the Harper administration says it expects emissions of 815million tonnes of CO2 in 2030, up from 590Mt in 1990. Emissio...

More than $100 million being cut from water protection / Mike DeSouza / 27 December 2013
More than $100 million in cuts are underway at the federal department in charge of protecting Canada's water and oceans, despite recommendations from top bureaucrats that it needs to increase spending for both environmental and economic reasons. According to internal federal briefing notes obtain...

Higher insurance premiums expected after months of wild weather

Globe and Mail / Jacquiline Nelson / 07 January 2014
Insurers are expected to increase homeowners' premiums by hefty amounts as the industry seeks to protect itself against the steepening costs of severe weather. Some property and casualty (P&C) insurers are already charging more for home insurance following a particularly expensive year fo...

Neonicotinoids blamed for bee deaths could affect humans

Toronto Star / Alex Ballingall / 20 December 2013
Neonicotinoid pesticides that are widely used on crops in Canada could have adverse affects on the human nervous system, the European Food Safety Authority declared this week. The chemicals, used to treat corn, soybean and canola seeds, have previously been blamed for mass honey bee deaths in...


Global disaster losses from 1980-2012

World Bank / 18 November 2013

Planet likely to warm by 4C by 2100, scientists warn

The Guardian / Damian Carrington / 31 December 2013
Temperature rises resulting from unchecked climate change will be at the severe end of those projected, according to a new scientific study. The scientist leading the research said that unless emissions of greenhouse gases were cut, the planet would heat up by a minimum of 4C by 2100, twice ...

Are We Falling Off the Climate Precipice?

Common Dreams / Dahr Jamail / 17 December 2013
Consider this timeline: * Late 2007: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announces that the planet will see a one degree Celsius temperature increase due to climate change by 2100. * Late 2008: The Hadley Centre for Meteorological Research predicts a 2C increase by 2100. * Mid-...

Former Mobil VP Warns of Fracking and Climate Change

truthout / Ellen Cantarow / 19 July 2013
Ellen Cantarow: You've been on both sides now - promoting fossil fuel development for your whole life until your retirement and now trying to fight fracking. Do you think the anti-fracking movement and other environmental movements are the main hope now? Louis Allstadt: I think the main question is how...

Former BP geologist: peak oil is here and it will 'break economies'

The Guardian / Nafeez Ahmed / 23 December 2013
A former British Petroleum (BP) geologist has warned that the age of cheap oil is long gone, bringing with it the danger of "continuous recession" and increased risk of conflict and hunger. At a lecture on 'Geohazards' earlier this month as part of the postgraduate Natural Hazards for Insurers c...

New research points to risk peak oil presents to business

The Guardian / Alison Kemper, Roger Martin / 09 January 2014
The most recent issue of the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions A focuses on the future of oil supply. You can read the introduction here, it's a thought provoking read. It's clear that we are moving toward more and more unconventional liquid fuels, produced at greater costs fr...

Crash on demand

Holmgren Design / David Holmgren / 12 December 2013
I believe that actively building parallel and largely non-monetary household and local community economies with as little as 10% of the population has the potential to function as a deep systemic boycott of the centralised systems as a whole, that could lead to more than 5% contraction in the c...

Crash on Demand? A Response to David Holmgren

The Automatic Earth / Nicole Foss / 10 January 2014
It is our view at TAE that for a time energy limits are not likely to manifest, as lack of money will be the limiting factor in a major financial crisis. At the present time, with modestly increasing energy supply, the delusion of far greater increases to come, and falling demand, energy is alr...

World braces for retirement crisis

AP / Paul Wiseman, David Mchugh, Elaine Kurtenbach / 29 December 2013
A global retirement crisis is bearing down on workers of all ages. Spawned years before the Great Recession and the financial meltdown in 2008, the crisis was significantly worsened by those twin traumas. It will play out for decades, and its consequences will be far-reachi...


When Canadian prisoners were farming, they were gaining transferrable employment skills, contributing to their own keep by producing food for the prison populations, producing food for local food banks AND benefitting from therapeutic interactions with animals. When surveyed, 92% of Canadians agreed that the farms should stay open. A co-op ...

Mastering Emotional Resilience

Peak Prosperity / Chris Martenson / 16 December 2013
For most people, it won't be economic hardship that harms them, but their own lack of emotional resilience that does them in. After the fall of the former Soviet Union, in the years that followed, more than half of all premature deaths that occurred were due to the effects of excessive alco...

Smart Choices for the Coming Bust - Part 1

The Automatic Earth / Nicole Foss / 04 January 2014
Yesterday we talked about why we are facing deflation and today I wanted to review and explain the suggestions we have made previously for dealing with a deflationary scenario. In short, this is the list we have run periodically since we started TAE (with one addition at the end): Hold no...

Seven Job Creation Strategies for Shareable Cities

Shareable / SELC / 23 December 2013
The sharing economy offers enormous potential to create jobs. Sharing leverages a wide variety of resources and lowers barriers to starting small businesses. Cities can lower the cost of starting businesses by supporting innovations like shared workspaces, shared commercial kitchens, community-financed start-u...

65 Tips to Save Money Through Self-Reliance

Mother Earth News / Kale Roberts / February-March 2014
Throughout the years, MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers have proved to be a clever lot. You've shown time and again that you can save a bundle when you apply resourcefulness and a little elbow grease to home economics. Frankly, our consumer culture pressures many of us to live above our means. The...

Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Nutrition Density Chart

The Dr. Oz Show / 17 September 2012
Nutrient-dense foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants - and are low in calories. This chart helps you identify these satiating foods, essential to weight loss and longevity, by breaking them down by numbers. The higher the score, the more nutrient-dense and healthy the food. ...

Nose-to-Tail Cooking: 4 Offal Recipes

Mother Earth News / Shannon Hayes / 03 January 2013
Nose-to-tail cooking includes using the offal of animals, parts often considered eccentric and formidable by even the most economical home cooks. Learn about how using these parts actually provide essential vitamins and nutrients, and try your hand at some delicious offal recipes to complete yo...

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 se...

Seed Starting Made Simple

Mother Earth News / Vicki Mattern / February/March 2012
You'll love the benefits of growing your own transplants. You can grow unique heirloom selections as well as the best varieties for your garden's conditions - which will boost your yields and reduce losses to pests, disease and severe weather. The potential money savings aren't s...

Your Best and Cheapest Home Heating Options

Mother Earth News / Dan Chiras / December 2012/January 2013
Heating our homes and businesses is expensive, and doing so is getting more costly each year. As costs rise and climate change complications increase, more and more of us are searching for cleaner, greener and more affordable home heating options. Fortunately, there are many. Choose car...

Make Removable Interior Storm Windows

Mother Earth News / Mark Clipsham / October-November 2010
Tired of your single-pane and leaky windows, but can't afford to replace them? Here's an easy way to dramatically improve the performance of your windows and reduce damaging condensation without spending much money: Make removable interior storm windows using wood casing, window film,...

Winter Biking

Mother Earth News / Rails-to-Trails Conservancy / 14 February 2013
It's that time of year again - when an extra 20 minutes in bed in the morning is harder to resist, when it's usually dark when you leave the house and dark when you get home, and when biking to work doesn't seem so attractive given the winter elements. After an awesome sprin...


NRC: Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change (2013)

ClimateState / Chris Machens / 03 January 2014
This report summarizes the current state of knowledge on potential abrupt changes to the ocean, atmosphere, ecosystems, and high latitude areas, and identifies key research and monitoring needs.

The wacky winter weather around the globe may be due to polar ice caps impacting the jet stream. Ted Chernecki has more.

The Energy of Nations and the prospect of economic catastrophe

Business Green / James Murray / 15 January 2014
[Leggett's] central hypothesis is that the oil and gas industry is afflicted by the same kind of systemic risk and self-deluding behaviour that characterised the financial sector pre-2008 and that the financial sector has not been adequately reformed to minimise a repeat of the last financial crash...

The Amish continue to intrigue their technology-current neighbors by keeping alive ways and beliefs that many modern Americans regard as irretrievably lost to progress. In this colorful, award-winning documentary, newly revised and augmented, Mennonite historian John L. Ruth takes us sympathetically into the Amish mindset.

Food For Change is a feature-length documentary about the history of the co-op movement and food co-ops today. The goal of the film is to raise awareness nationally about the cooperative economic model, promote cross-sector cooperative collaboration, and provide cooperative education to co-op members, college students and the general public. Th...

Keynote presentation by Rob Hopkins at the Building Resilient Communities Convergence 2013 held October 11-13 in Hopland, CA

Tompkins County, NY is one of the cloudiest, least windy places in the country, and yet its residents are proving that they can meet their energy needs through totally renewable resources. From solar and wind to biodiesel and geothermal, Empowered: Power from the People tells the story of one community's role in the energy independence revolu...

Grass, Soil, Hope / Courtney White / 02 January 2014
Grass, Soil, Hope tackles an increasingly anguished question: what can we do about the seemingly intractable challenges confronting us today, including climate change, global hunger, water scarcity, environmental stress, and economic instability? The quick answers are: Build topsoil. Fix cree...

If current trends continue, scientists warn that within a few decades at least HALF of all plant and animal species on Earth will disappear forever. Call of Life: Facing the Mass Extinction is the first feature documentary to investigate the growing threat to Earth's life support systems from this unprecedented loss of biodiversity. ...


Food charter presentation

WHEN: Tuesday, January 21, 7:00 pm
WHERE: Athens District High School, Athens

Maria Breton will give a 15 minute talk concerning the Food Charter that is being developed for Eastern Ontario. A food charter is a document developed by the community describing local values and priorities concerning food. Also presenting will be Prescott-based digital photo artisan Mike Laking, who will take those in attendance on a pictorial tour of the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens. The Athens Garden Club welcomes the public to attend their presentation.

Phil Chadwick - Weather of Ontario

WHEN: Wednesday, January 22, 2:00 pm
WHERE: Wedgewood Retirement Resort, 15 Market Street East, Brockville

Is the weather a mystery to you? Do you know the significance of cumulus clouds - white puffy clouds - with regards to the weather forecast? Are Ontario weather patterns changing? These questions and more will be answered by Ontario meteorologist Phil 'the Forecaster' Chadwick, in his co-authored book, Weather of Ontario. Chadwick, a severe-weather specialist will talk about forecasting techniques, equipment and global warming. He will share his knowledge on how significant the weather is in our daily lives. Presented by the Thousand Islands Writers Festival.

Mac Johnson Winter Fun Day

WHEN: Saturday, January 25, 10:00 am
WHERE: Mac Johnson Wildlife Area, Brockville

Enjoy the festivities at our 12th annual Winter Fun Day at Mac Johnson Wildlife Area. Enjoy dog sled races by the Mush Larose Association - Training Division, skating on the pond, cross-country skiing, free snowshoeing for children, lunch and refreshments. Mac Johnson Wildlife Area: Take Highway 29 north of Brockville to Tincap, turn east on Debruge Road and drive 2 km to the main entrance. Enjoy 11 km of hiking and cross-country ski trails, a Nature Centre, picnic facilities and a skating rink. Fee: $5 per car. More info: 613-546-4228 or

Pizza, Flat Bread, Focaccia Bread Workshop

WHEN: Saturday, January 25, 11:00 am
WHERE: Heritage Harvest Farm, 76 Crystal Rd, Jasper

Explore the versatility this technique allows you. Learn to create dinners and lunches that are healthy, easy, and leave you feeling like you just came from your favorite bakery. What you'll learn in our Pizza, Flatbread and Focaccia Bread Workshop: basic supplies and concepts of bread making; tips and techniques for crafting perfect doughs; the versatility of your basic artisan dough and how to turn it into something special; the importance of proper measuring, mixing, handling and proofing to ensure delicious results; how to ensure your dough is tender and tasty; transforming your basic dough into so much more with a few alterations; how to make warm healthy bread/dough for your family with no kneading required and only 5 minutes of working time. Cost: $40 plus tax. More info:

The Cost of Silence? Prison Farm Arrestees Appeal and the Trend towards Silencing Public Voices in Canada

WHEN: Thursday, January 30, 7:00 pm
WHERE: Memorial Hall, Kingston City Hall, Kingston

Save Our Prison Farms is organizing this public event to focus on the suppression of civil dissent in Canada today. Panelists include Robert Lovelace, Queen's Indigenous Studies department, Aric McBay, local author and activist, Lisa Gibson, an organizer with the Meyers farm protest (Trenton) and Clarke Mackey, a co-producer of the documentary on the prison farm campaign. Portions of the documentary will be shown during the event. All welcome. Free admission, with donations accepted to help cover costs.

Feature Documentary: Watermark

WHEN: Wednesday, February 5, 7:30 pm
WHERE: Brockville Galaxy Cinema, Parkedale Avenue, Brockville

A film of astonishing beauty and perspective, Watermark reunites award-winning documentary filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal with acclaimed environmental photographer Edward Burtynsky. While Manufactured Landscapes, their last project together, examined large-scale industrial terrain, Watermark follows Burtynsky's global photographic exploration of our most vital and compromised resource: water. Transporting us all over the world, Watermark reveals the extent to which humanity has shaped water, and how it has shaped us. It also captures the mesmerizing movement of water with aerial perspectives that allow us to witness the scale of what is before us. Avoiding didacticism, Baichwal and Burtynsky explore human reverence of water in its natural state, and the massive impact of human intervention in its lifecycles. Part wonder, part lament, Watermark is a poetic and thought-provoking reflection on this most precious resource. More info: or

The Future of Snow and Skiing in a Warming World

WHEN: Wednesday, February 5, 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
WHERE: Science and Technology Museum, 1867 Saint Laurent Blvd, Ottawa

You're invited to a thought-provoking evening with Olympians, snow experts and ski professionals in the run-up to the Olympics, the Canadian Ski Marathon and the Gatineau Loppet. Presented by Ecology Ottawa. More info here.

Workshop: Boosting yields and profits with increased soil and plant health

WHEN: Thursday, February 6, 9:00 am
WHERE: Kingston, ON (details upon registration)

A day with agronomist Joel Williams from London, UK. This workshop will make the connection between the theory, practice and benefits of developing a well functioning biological soil for greater crop success. Joel has a wide array of experience in all agricultural crops and an expertise in vegetables. A detailed workshop outline is available here. Cost: $40. Lunch: BYO, refreshments provided. Registration appreciated but not required. Presented by Food Down The Road.

Save The River's 25th Annual Winter Environmental Conference

WHEN: Saturday, February 8
WHERE: Clayton Opera House, 405 Riverside Drive, Clayton, NY

Each year the conference provides attendees the opportunity to hear from and engage with knowledgeable and recognized speakers about topics of significance to the health of the St. Lawrence River. This upcoming anniversary conference will feature two women with unique and critical perspectives on the current and future uses and protection of the River. Maude Barlow is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and founder of The Blue Planet Project. She is the recipient of numerous environmental awards and has served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly. Betty Sutton is the tenth Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. Since being sworn in August 2013, Administrator Sutton has traveled the length of the Seaway meeting with a range of stakeholders. She has spoken frequently about the need to balance the economic interests of the shippers, industries and ports who use the Seaway with the environmental impact of those uses on the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes. Additional speakers will update attendees on emerging science about water quality issues in the Great Lakes and River, and share news about critical River fisheries and Save The River's In the Schools program. More info here.

Eco Farm Day 2014: Getting to the Roots - Successful Organic Farming

WHEN: Saturday, February 22
WHERE: The Ramada Inn, 805 Brookdale Ave, Cornwall

The organic industry in Canada is one of the most dynamic sectors in the food industry, with annual retail sales of organic food reaching almost $3 billion in 2012. This year's Eco Farm Day is focused on the successful organic farming we need to meet this growing demand. The program includes in-depth workshops and sessions geared towards successful production, storage, marketing, and stewardship of the land and animals we work with. We're presenting dynamic conversations between members of the organic community, and we're throwing the doors wide open for you to share your ideas and experience. Eco Farm Day is going to be your best opportunity all year to learn from the experiences of other farmers in the region. Canadian Organic Growers is pleased to be working with other regional organizations like Organic Meadow and the University of Guelph's Alfred Campus who are sponsoring portions of the Eco Farm Day conference program. More info:

Introduction to Permaculture - Sustainable Design and Gardening

WHEN: Saturday, March 15 to Sunday, March 16
WHERE: Heritage Harvest Farm, 76 Crystal Rd, Jasper

Permaculture is a design system that creates sustainable environments. This system can be applied to gardens and landscapes as well as business models, buildings and even our personal lives. What you will learn in Introduction to Permaculture: ethics and principles; the design process; design strategies and how to apply them to everything; examples of permaculture; the permaculture networks in our area and how to connect with them. Throughout this course we will be submersed in both classroom work as well as outdoor hands-on learning. We have 36 acres of diversified land to observe, explore and learn from. You will leave this class with an understanding of exactly what permaculture is and how it can help you in many areas of your life. We have timed it so that you may apply what you have learned to your gardens and landscapes this coming season. Maximum of 15 participants. Cost: $130.00. More info:

GreenProfit Symposium

WHEN: March 24 to March 25
WHERE: Kingston

After three successful years, big changes are coming to the GreenProfit Conference in 2014. SWITCH and the Sustainable Energy Applied Research Centre (SEARC) are bringing a bigger and better sustainable energy event to Southeastern Ontario. The GreenProfit Symposium is a new event that combines the SWITCH GreenProfit Conference and the SEARC Sustainable Energy Symposium. Keynote Speaker: Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. More info and registration:

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.