Newsletter 087, 17 February 2014


NOAA: 2013 tied for fourth-warmest year on record

The Guardian / AP / 21 January 2014

Last year was tied for the fourth-warmest year on record around the world. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday released its global temperature figures for 2013. The average world temperature was 58.12F (14.52C) tying with 2003 for the fourth-warmest since 1880. NASA, which calculates records in a different manner, said Tuesday that 2013 was the seventh-warmest on record, with an average temperature of 58.3F (14.6C). Both agencies said nine of the 10th warmest years on record have happened in the 21st century. The hottest year was 2010.


Next up: Practical Tools for Sustaining Our Hearts and Minds in Changing Times

Accepting that climate change is real - and caused largely by our emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels - leads inevitably to awareness that we all face a serious crisis. The changes we can expect to see in the global climate, in resource shortages, in reduced economic well-being, and in loss of biodiversity are so sweeping that thinking about them can affect our emotional and mental state.

Carol Williams s
To help people begin to find ways to cope with the challenge of changing times, Transition Brockville has invited Carol Williams to give a workshop at our next presentation. Williams, a teacher, author, and member of Merrickville-Wolford's Environmental Advisory Committee, will introduce the concept of "inner transition," that is, being able to come to terms with the changes ahead so that one can move forward and act with hope and purpose.

In her workshop, "Practical Tools for Sustaining Our Hearts and Minds in Changing Times," she will invite participants to use a simple exercise to confront their anxieties and then will show how these can be countered. Williams encourages all who attend this free, public workshop to bring a climate change article that disturbed them, perhaps that opened their eyes to a future likely to be very different from one they had anticipated for themselves. She will help participants use this negative-seeming article to find a way to see the future in a more hopeful light. Even a list of words associated with the issues of climate change and resource shortage will work. Based on this individual exercise, Williams will also lead small and large group discussions. Her goal is to help participants face tough issues without shutting down or becoming either defensive or overwhelmed. She will suggest books and websites where support can be found.

All those who believe this free workshop might help them as they start to adjust to the challenges ahead are encouraged to come to the library on Sunday afternoon. No registration is required. Refreshments will be served.

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

Later Presentations

March 23: Diana Beresford-Kroeger, botanist/author: Signing of The Sweetness of a Simple Life
April 27: [TBA]

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


Brockville Solid Waste Information Guide

Over the past few weeks, Brockville households have been receiving the latest edition of the City's Waste Collection Calendar and Solid Waste Information Guide. As well as the standard waste collection calendar for 2014/2015, the guide is packed with tips on how we can reduce our waste and avoid the use of landfill sites -- thereby helping to keep the City's budget in line.

Amongst the many tips is a referral to the free Brockville Reuses goods exchange service, which is provided at no charge by IWasteNot Systems of Mallorytown and managed by Transition Brockville.

Also shown is a photo of the Butler's Creek Community Garden (BCCG) at peak season in 2013. Located on the grounds of the Gord Watts Municipal Centre, the success of the BCCG was greatly helped by the use of top-quality compost from the City's nearby leaf compost yard. The BCCG is a pilot project of the City of Brockville, the Volunteer Centre of St. Lawrence-Rideau and the Food Matters coalition. Transition Brockville is a founding member of the Food Matters coalition.

The Solid Waste Information Guide is available online here.

BCAC e-Bike Presentation Available

At the TB/BPL presentation on Sunday, January 26, Tim Webb of the Brockville Cycling Advisory Committee gave a very informative talk on e-bikes, describing the various models available and their benefits and disadvantages, as well as the laws that apply to e-bike use. Tim's complete presentation in PDF format -- including a list of further resources - can be downloaded here.

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

Our Top 50 Article Tags


Here's How Climate Change Has Impacted [Our] City

Climate Progress / Emily Atkin / 14 February 2014
Climate change does not manifest itself as one hot day, nor does it disprove itself with one freezing night. In fact, it is characterized by swaths of peer-reviewed data that have shown clear warming trends at every corner of the globe - not just outside our windows - over the last 125 years. Nowhere does this fact manifest itself more than in a newly updated interactive map from the weekly science and technology magazine New Scientist...

The federal government is calling for an investigation of a propane supply crisis that has seen prices for the fuel more than double since the fall. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says he will ask the National Energy Board and Competition Bureau to review the price increases and propane shortages t...

Line 9: Journey along the pipeline

Toronto Star / 29 January 2014
It was called Line 9. In 1976, it went into operation, flowing crude oil from west to east, feeding a half-dozen hungry oil refineries in Montreal. More than two decades later, Enbridge reversed the flow as a glut in overseas markets led to lower prices. Foreign oil has been glugging down Line 9 from Montre...

Renfrew County passes active transportation motion

Daily Observer / Sean Chase / 22 January 2014
Admaston/Bromley Mayor Raye-Anne Briscoe, chair of the finance and administration committee, readily admitted residents continue to smoke, drink and eat too much, but Active Transportation will lead to healthier communities. To support that notion, Michael Nolan, director of paramedic services, to...

Yesterday at the official Sustainability CoLab Launch in Toronto, Kingston was chosen as one of three communities in Ontario to pilot the Sustainability CoLab initiative. With funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the non-profit Sustainability CoLab initiative aims to create a provincial network of ...

Belleville: City working to be healthy

Belleville Intelligencer / Jason Miller / 28 January 2014
In the recent survey of 498 city residents, the group uncovered that 88 per cent of those polled agreed it's important for the city to invest in infrastructure that provides opportunities for Active Transportation, said Tanya Hill, a member of the group. "Resident have told us that t...


Zoning in on Energy Savings

Ontario Power Authority / ARC Vol 2 No 1 / February 2014
With the help of a grant from the OPA's Conservation Fund, faculty and students of Ryerson University and the University of Toronto (U of T) have come together with a team of housing and design industry professionals to retrofit an 1870s single-family home. Old homes are generally con...

Electricity Costs: Facts and Myths Debunked

Ontario Citizens' Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy
Based on numbers from the Environment Commissioner, the price paid for solar and wind energy under the Feed-In Tariff program (FIT) adds less than $1.50 to the average monthly household electricity bill. The microFIT portion of the program represents less than a fraction of 1¢. The an...

Toronto Launches Innovative Energy Retrofit Financing Program

Ecology Ottawa / Roger Peters / 26 January 2014
Last week, the City of Toronto launched its innovative new Home Energy Loan Program (HELP). This financing program is unique in Canada in that loan payments to the City can be made over a period of up to 15 years as a special (local improvement) charge indicated on the property tax bill. There are ...

Ontario Wind Energy Contribution Doubles

CanWEA / Press Release / 09 January 2014
The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) is pleased the 2013 Ontario Electricity Data report of Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) confirms that the production of wind energy in Ontario has doubled over the past four years and that wind energy is poised to reach critical mass ...

Wind Turbines and Property Values

SWITCH / Newsletter / 11 February 2014
The increasing development of wind energy in North America has generated concerns from nearby residents regarding potential impacts of wind turbines on property values. Such concerns arose in Melancthon Township (in southern Ontario) following the construction of a large wind farm. A recent paper uses d...


Propane shortage, price spike a hidden energy crisis

Ottawa Citizen / Elizabeth Payne / 04 February 2014
Last week, federal Energy Minister Joe Oliver called for an investigation into the propane supply crisis. McTeague said the government should have acted more quickly, and should do more, including controlling exports of propane to insure Canada has adequate domestic supplies, and setting up a p...

Canada's role in an arid future

Vancouver Sun / P McMartin / 08 February 2014
Could this be climate change migration in the making? The Dust Bowl in reverse, with millions of people fleeing from California rather than to it? Fleeing here? That particular apocalyptic scenario is easy enough to imagine. In his 2013 book - American Exodus: Climate Change and the Coming Flight ...

California's drought to increase food prices up to 20%

CTV News / Staff / 05 February 2014
It's not just farmers that are feeling the impact of California's record-breaking drought, as experts warn that food prices in Canada could be poised to increase by as much as 20 per cent. Canada imports more than $5 billion worth of produce from California yearly, and much of those fruits and vegetables c...

B.C. leads the country in climate change planning

Vancouver Sun / Kelly Sinoski / 03 February 2014
B.C. is leading the way in planning for climate change, followed by Ontario and Quebec, according to a new national report. The National Municipal Adaptation Project notes Canada's major cities recognize the importance of adaptation and "are moving ahead," says Kevin Hanna, an associate p...


Severe floods 'threaten UK food security'

The Guardian / Jamie Doward, Toby Helm, Damian Carrington, Robin McKie / 08 February 2014
Defra has estimated that 35,000 hectares of high-quality horticultural and arable land will be flooded at least once every three years by the 2020s. This could rise to around 130,000 hectares by the 2080s if there is no change to current flood defence provi...

UK storms and floods show climate change is upon us

The Guardian / Nicholas Stern / 13 February 2014
The record rainfall and storm surges that have brought flooding across the UK are a clear sign that we are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. Many commentators have suggested that we are suffering from unprecedented extreme weather. There are powerful grounds for arguing that t...

The Oceans Warmed up Sharply in 2013

Skeptical Science / Rob Painting / 30 January 2014
Because the oceans cover some 71% of the Earth's surface and are capable of retaining heat around a thousand times that of the atmosphere, the oceans are where most of the energy from global warming is going - 93.4% over recent decades. So greenhouse gases emitted by human industrial activity no...

Arctic Sea Ice Freefall is Mirror Image of Carbon Dioxide Ascent

Earth Policy Institute / Emily E. Adams / 23 January 2014
The amount of Arctic sea ice has plummeted in recent decades - a bold manifestation of the rise in temperature resulting from the rapid increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. After staying below 300 parts per million (ppm) for some 800,000 years, the concentration of CO2 in t...

N. Calif. drought threatens farmers, ag workers, cities - and you

Al Jazeera America / Haya El Nasser / 14 January 2014
Fall planting of lettuce in Fresno County, which provides 95 percent of the nation's head lettuce, was half what it was the previous year, he said. For Del Bosque, the hardship has been worsened by previous cuts in water supply. He had to deal with an 80 percent reduction in 2013 and sai...

Low on natural gas, California told to power down

AP / Michael R Blood / 07 February 2014
Water isn't the only resource running short in California. The drought-stricken state is also low on natural gas. With a move that usually comes in the height of summer when temperatures are soaring and air conditioners blasting, Californians were urged to voluntarily cut their electricity use after fri...

'Dress rehearsals' for frequent future blackouts

The Guardian / Terry Macalister / 26 January 2014
China, Brazil and Italy have all had significant power failures in the past decade but these are just "dress rehearsals for the future" in which the lights will go out with increasing frequency and severity, predicts a new paper, Blackouts: a sociology of electrical power failure. The authors,...

Water shortages could disrupt Britain's electricity supply

The Guardian / Terry Macalister / 16 February 2014
Parts of Britain may be under water after the worst floods in half a century, but a team of top academics from Newcastle and Oxford University is warning that the country is at risk of water shortages that could shut down power stations and paralyse electricity supplies...

US Army colonel: World is sleepwalking to a global energy crisis

The Guardian / Nafeez Ahmed / 17 January 2014
A conference sponsored by a US military official convened experts in Washington DC and London warning that continued dependence on fossil fuels puts the world at risk of an unprecedented energy crunch that could inflame financial crisis and exacerbate dangerous climate change [...] Participants, w...

Why can't others see the problem that is now at our door step?

Our Finite World / Gail Tverberg / 06 February 2014
The story is a complicated, interdisciplinary story. Economists have missed key points. Peak Oil advocates have missed key points. Excessive faith in substitution. Excessive faith in Energy Return on Energy Investment (EROI) or Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) analyses. Governme...


Living Off the Grid (And Without Propane)

Mother Earth News / William Kemp / October/November 2011
Twenty years ago, when my wife, Lorraine, and I decided to move off the grid, our motivation was simple. Lorraine wanted to move closer to her family, preferably to a piece of land large enough to offer some privacy and plenty of room to support her "addiction" to animals. A lot at the...

Have Your Nursery Plants Been Treated With Bee-Killing Chemicals?

Mother Earth News / Cheryl Long / February/March 2014
Unless you're buying certified organic transplants this spring, you may be introducing persistent neonicotinoid insecticides into your garden - and thus into your food. As MOTHER EARTH NEWS has reported, neonics are potent systemic pesticides that spread through plants and contaminate pol...

Homemade Laundry Soap Recipe

Mother Earth News / Lisa Ifland / February/March 2014
After learning more about the chemicals in commercial cleaners and the harm they can do long after they go down the drain, I decided to start making my own household cleaners. During some online research, I found a great homemade laundry soap recipe. It has only three ingredients: 2 cups b...

Decoding Seed Packets

Every Last Morsel / Todd Jones / 21 January 2014
It's that time of year again. Seed catalogs are starting to pile up everywhere throughout the house. And I mean everywhere. I don't think there's a single room that doesn't have at least one catalogue. Each of them is filled with sticky notes, folded pages, and pen marks. Mostly I've scr...

Disaster proofing done locally

The Grid / Pamela Young / 16 January 2014
Extreme weather and natural disasters have wreaked havoc in communities, levelling homes and destroying neighbourhoods. To mitigate damage in future events, the recent Designing Recovery Competition staged by the American Institute of Architects challenged firms to design a disaster-resistant, environmen...


The film features thought leaders and activists in the realms of science, economics and spirituality discussing how we can evolve and take action in the face of climate disruption. The film includes interviews with activists Bill McKibben, Joanna Macy, Roger Payne, Herschelle Milford, Quincy Saul, and more.

Audio: The socio-economic impact of depleting fossil fuel resources

Progressive Radio Network / Progressive Commentary Hour / 10 February 2014
Interview with Kurt Cobb and Nate Hagens. Kurt Cobb is an author, speaker, and columnist who speaks and writes frequently on peak oil, energy and the environment. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Science Monitor and has written columns for the Paris-bas...

Creating a cooperative -- that is what some young people are doing to get out of the unemployment trap. In this report from Sweden, Generation Y reporter Nuno Prudêncio says in doing so, they are also contributing to the social economy sector.

This is Nicole Foss's plenary talk at ISEC's Economics of Happiness conference held in Byron Bay, Australia in March 2013. Nicole is co-editor of The Automatic Earth financial blog.

Video: Take a street and build a community

TEDxTalks / 24 January 2014
How well do you know your neighbours? Suburban life is often isolating and rarely a true community experience. This is not the case in Hulbert Street. Shani Graham helped lead a sustainable-living revolution that ultimately resulted in strong neighbourly relationships, the fences pulled down and the establishme...

We're overusing the earth's finite resources, and yet excessive consumption is failing to improve our lives. In Enough Is Enough, Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill lay out a visionary but realistic alternative to the perpetual pursuit of economic growth - an economy where the goal is enough, not more. They explore specific strategies to conserve n...

In this conversation we learn why at the end of the day it's much more satisfying to do physical labor rather than to "blink your existence into cyberspace" and the many ways we can be good stewards of the land.


Webinar: OPA modules on Long Term Energy Plan

WHEN: Tuesday, February 18, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
WHERE: Online

The Ministry of Energy has released Ontario's updated Long-Term Energy Plan, Achieving Balance (the 2013 LTEP), which encourages conservation and lays out a plan for clean, reliable and affordable energy for Ontarians, where and when they need it.

The OPA has also developed a series of modules to provide a detailed breakdown of the facts and figures underpinning the report. The modules were developed in conjunction with a summary of the assumptions used in the development of the LTEP. All six documents are posted with supporting material at To supplement the release of the LTEP modules, we will be holding a webinar which will feature a brief overview of the modules as well as answer questions that that have been submitted.

Book Launch: The Market Gardener - A Handbook for Successful Micro-Scale Organic Farming

WHEN: Thursday, February 20, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
WHERE: Woodside Hall, Dominion-Chalmers United Church, 355 Cooper St, Ottawa

Join Just Food and Jean-Martin Fortin in celebrating the publication of his new book. Learn about the low-tech, high-yield methods of production that make Jean-Martin's bio-intensive market garden productive and profitable. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing after the presentation.

Cost: $5, no registration required. For more details:

Escott's Seedy Saturday

WHEN: Saturday, February 22, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
WHERE: Springfield House - 2nd floor, 1365 County Road 2, Escott

3rd Annual Seed Sale and Swap
Bringing passionate gardeners together
Refreshments - Guest Speaker
Info: Escott Branch LTIPL 613-659-3800 or

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. 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:

Brockville Railway Tunnel: It's Past, Present & Future Use

WHEN: Sunday, February 23, 2:00 pm
WHERE: Mallorytown Community Centre, 76 County Rd 5, Mallorytown

Brian Porter and Doug Grant present the fascinating history of the tunnel and the plans for its restoration by the Brockville Railway Tunnel Committee will be covered. The tunnel was inducted into the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame in 2013. Small admittance fee. Sponsored by the 1000 Islands River Heritage Society.

Brockville Zoning By-law - Public Open House 2

WHEN: Wednesday, February 26, 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
WHERE: Memorial Centre Community Hall, Brockville

A Zoning By-law is a detailed regulatory document that outlines the types of land uses that are permitted and the height, size, character and location of buildings and structures. The Zoning By-law applies to all lands in the City of Brockville. In order to ensure conformity to the Official Plan, some zoning changes are being proposed. Your participation in this meeting is requested to provide your comments on the Draft Zoning By-law. Your input will be considered for incorporation into the next version of the Zoning By-law.

Please note that the Draft Zoning By-law will be available for download on the City's website during the week of February 10th, 2014. Hard copies of the Draft Zoning By-law will also be made available upon request. Additionally, a Summary Report has been prepared to describe the key changes that are proposed in the Draft Zoning By-law. The Summary Report will also be available for download on the City's website during the week of February 10, 2014 and will be made available at the Open House.

The meeting will include:
. An opportunity to review the Draft Zoning By-law, discuss the document with staff and Planning consultants, and provide your written comments;
. A presentation by our Planning consultants describing the Draft Zoning Bylaw and how it differs from the current Zoning By-law; and
. A question and answer period.

Why Should We Care About Energy East?

WHEN: Wednesday, March 12, 6:30 pm
WHERE: Station Theatre, Smiths Falls

Are you concerned about: possible spills, water quality, tar sands expansion, the approval process, climate change, oil and gas shortages, exporting Canadian resources, profits of foreign-owned companies, green energy and indigenous communities?

Find out about Trans Canada's proposed pipeline. Three guest speakers will share their insights:
. Andrea Harden, Council of Canadians
. Ian Angus, Sustainable North Grenville
. Ben Powless, formerly of Ecology Ottawa

Particular questions may be sent in advance to: Admission is free, donations are welcome. Presented by REAL. See for more information.

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:

Co-op Connections - Eastern Ontario Conference

WHEN: Tuesday, March 18, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
WHERE: Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, 299 Montreal Road, Ottawa

Connect your co-op. Build the movement. Workshops:
. Sharing our Stories
. Leveraging our Co-op Identity & Building Strategic Partnerships
. Connect your co-op to the classroom
. Starting a Co-op
. Government Relations and Advocacy
. Raising Capital Through Member Investments
. Co-ops and the Media

More info here and here.

Documentary: Bottled Life - The Truth about Nestlé's Business with Water

WHEN: Saturday, March 22, 2:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Public Library, 23 Buell Street, Brockville

Presented by the Brockville chapter, Council of Canadians, on the occasion of World Water Day.

GreenProfit Symposium

WHEN: March 24 to March 25
WHERE: St. Lawrence College / Four Points By Sheraton, 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:

SNG Annual Sustainability Fair

WHEN: Sunday, April 27, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
WHERE: North Grenville Municipal Centre, Leeds and Grenville 44, Kemptville

Sustainable North Grenville was created to help raise awareness about sustainability issues in North Grenville, and to share information with those who would like to see our community become more sustainable. Our signature annual event is the North Grenville Sustainability Fair, a fun, family friendly event held in the spring every year in celebration of Earth Day. This year, we are hoping that you and your groups and networks will come and bring your ideas about sustainability, community and environmental awareness and participate in this year's edition.

More info:

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.