Newsletter 090, 19 May 2014


Ontario: Power at half the cost of nuclear rebuilds

Ontario Clean Air Alliance
We're asking the four major parties in the Ontario provincial election whether they support signing a long-term agreement to import low-cost water power from Quebec. We know such power would cost half as much as power from a rebuilt Darlington Nuclear Station and that Quebec has enough power available to replace almost all the power coming from Darlington today.

Take action now ...

You can ask the question of candidates in your riding by posting the mini-poster in our pamphlet – Water power form Quebec can save Ontario more than $1 billion a year – on your door or mailbox (see image to left). You can also distribute pamphlets to your neighbours, your friends and your co-workers to help get the word out about a real solution to lowering electricity bills. Order yours today or contact us to find out about helping with our volunteer distribution drive!

[ TB: We have a supply of these pamphlets. If you'd like one for your door or a bundle to distribute down your street, please contact us at ]



Next up: Dirt! The Movie plus soils workshop with organic gardener Dave Alguire

Get the dirt on soil at our next presentation, featuring Dirt! The Movie, followed by a wide-ranging Q&A workshop on soils presented by Soperton gardener Dave Alguire.

The documentary illustrates how precious soil is and how rapidly human activities such as industrial agriculture and resource extraction are destroying that thin layer of life-giving soil on which the planet's billions of humans depend. The message is that we ourselves are dirt; if we destroy the soils, we destroy ourselves. The film concludes by showing the ways people all over the world are learning to repair and honour the soil.

Following the film, people will have the chance to view soil, compost and related displays set up by Alguire. Then, in response to questions from the group, Alguire will give practical tips on amendments we can use to improve soil. He'll bring samples of different kinds of soils, along with sedimentation samples of the soils in jars, so people can see the layers of silt, sand, soil and organic matter.

He'll also have a microscope and slides of soil to show the complex composition of soil and the life within it. He can discuss the mineral and organic components of good soil. "Basically, I'll cover anything about soil that comes up," he promises.

All those who want to improve the quality of the soil in which their flowers and vegetables grow are encouraged to attend. Fresh, buttered popcorn will be served during the film.

Please note the change in venue for this one presentation.

WHEN: Sunday, May 25, 2:00 pm
WHERE: St. Paul's Anglican Parish Hall, 12 Pine Street, Brockville

June 22: Shelley McCaffrey, Leeds-Grenville Mental Health: Social enterprises
July 26 (Saturday): [ TBA ]
August 23 (Saturday): [ TBA ]
And in the works: Regional flood risks and adaptation; Emergency preparedness

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


Help with spring cleaning

Brockville Reuses is your local household goods exchange. As well as free listings for your give-away goods and plants, the site's Recyclopedia provides recycling and disposal information on a vast number of items. You might want to bookmark this!

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 presentation to your board of directors or group members, or an informal neighbourhood discussion. Contact us at

Our top 50 article tags


Delayed Keystone fuels push for Energy East pipeline

Bloomberg / Rebecca Penty, Jeremy van Loon / 14 May 2014
Delays by the U.S. in reviewing Keystone XL are helping build momentum for an oil pipeline to Canada's East Coast. TransCanada Corp. (TRP), the company proposing the $5.4 billion conduit to connect Alberta's oil sands with U.S. Gulf Coast refiners, may have an easier path to approv...

Causes of spring flooding

Recorder & Times / Wayne Lowrie / 08 May 2014
Officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority and Fortis Inc., who spent two hours answering questions from residents, had three main messages: The flooding was the result of a rare combination of weather events. First came ice early in the winter...

Kudos to local cyclist Alan Medcalf for community service

Transition Brockville / 25 April 2017
Local cyclist and chair of the City's Cycling Advisory Committee Alan Medcalf was given the "Wheels of Change" advocacy award at the Ontario Bike Summit held in mid-April in Toronto. The award was bestowed by the Share the Road coalition: We also recognized Alan Medcalf from Brockville, Ontario, with...

Promoting Eastern Ontario's craft beers, wines and farms

Ministry of Rural Affairs / Press Release / 31 March 2014
Ontario is helping the Gananoque Brewing Company and neighbouring agricultural communities showcase and celebrate their products through a special harvest festival. The province is providing $111,000 through the Local Food Fund to help organize and promote the Gananoque Brewing Company...

Food bridges generational gap

Cornwall Standard-Freeholder / Todd Hambleton / 05 May 2014
They'll be using food to bring the generations together, at the Seaway Valley Community Health Centre in Cornwall. Guy Lauzon, the Member of Parliament for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, was at the centre on Monday morning to announce $25,000 in financial support for "The Cooking C...

Today Peterborough transitioner Cheryl Lyon flies to Montpellier, France, to present a paper on the challenges and accomplishments of Transition Town Peterborough. The occasion is an international academic conference, Resilience 2014, which takes place on May 4-8. The way Cheryl tells it, when her son Christopher ...


Ticket idling cars at drive-thrus, Mayor McCallion urges

Toronto Star / Sam Grewal / 07 May 2014
Your morning cup of takeout coffee could get a lot more expensive in Mississauga, if Mayor Hazel McCallion has her way. She wants to see the city's idling bylaw enforced at all drive-thrus to deal with the traffic and pollution problems they cause. "If you went into a lot of those drive-thrus you...

What can we do about grid loss?

Clean Technica / Roy L Hales / 27 April 2014
The world's transmission lines are believed to have dropped approximately 1.4 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity last year. That's around 1.2 trillion metric tons of CO2 dumped into the atmosphere. Though it is unlikely these loses can be eliminated in the near future, there are ways to reduce them. Losses of 5–7% or so are the norm today in the United States, BC, and Ontario...

Today, Trees Ontario, along with volunteers, community members and planting partners dug, stomped and planted thousands of seedlings in nine separate communities across Ontario during a series of half-day tree planting events. Now in its sixth year, the annual Community Planting Weekend was hosted by Trees Ontar...

Province has eliminated coal-fired generation

Ministry of Energy / Press Release / 15 April 2014
Ontario is now the first jurisdiction in North America to fully eliminate coal as a source of electricity generation. The Thunder Bay Generating Station, Ontario's last remaining coal-fired facility, has burned its last supply of coal. Operated by Ontario Power Generation, Thunder Bay Generat...

Planning need for 'wild weather'

Fort Frances Times / Duane Hicks / 25 April 2014
Municipalities need to plan for frequent extreme weather events in the future lest climate change has a big impact on their budgets. That's the message meteorologist Graham Saunders delivered yesterday to regional leaders gathered here for the annual general meeting of the Northwestern Ontar...


US climate report: Implications for Canada

Toronto Star / Raveena Aulakh / 06 May 2014
Most of the Canadian population lives within 100 miles of the U.S. border, [climatologist Andrew] Weaver pointed out. "You can look at what is being said for the northwest region, the great plains region, the Midwest region and the northeast region and extend it 100 miles and you get pretty close to ...

Thunder Bay launches national Cycling Education Toolkit

Thunder Bay Health Unit, EcoSuperior / Press Release / 02 May 2014
A new, locally-developed Toolkit gives Canadian communities step-by-step guidance on starting up their own cycling education programs. Creating "Community Cycling Education Programs: The Toolkit" was officially released during a media event held at the Thunder Bay District...

Sketchy claims for wood energy exports

The Tyee / Robert McClure / 24 April 2014
Eight words in a 927-page document. That's all it took to launch a European policy with big implications for B.C. That policy counts burning wood to produce energy as equivalent, climate-wise, to solar and wind power. This despite the fact that burning wood releases the very same greenhouse gasses as any...

A rising tide: the case against Canada as a world citizen

The Lancet / Chris David Simms / Volume 2, Issue 5, May 2014
During recent years, Canada's reputation as a global citizen has slipped, in recent months more precipitously than ever before, and in new directions. The Climate Action Network recently ranked Canada 55th of 58 countries in tackling of greenhouse emissions. Results of other analyses s...


The peak oil crisis: Parsing 2014

Falls Church News-Press / Tom Whipple / 14 May 2014
High priced oil sent much of the global economy into the tank where it still struggles to eke out small gains amidst incessant hopes for a rebound. Demand for the new high priced oil products fell in the advanced countries – partially from gains in efficiency and partly because large segments...

This planet comes with limits

CNN / Carl Safina / 08 May 2014
Economists and Growthers say, "Look, we haven't run out because technology saves us." Well, look, fracking is a symptom of hitting limits. Technology is forced to keep up with the pace at which we are running out. That you still have some checks left doesn't mean you're not going bankrupt. Fracking is postponin...

Industrial agriculture: Too big to succeed

IPS / Paul Weinberg / 08 May 2014
The other problem with global industrial food is that single crop farming undermines the soil's fertility and makes these kinds of operations especially vulnerable to storms, floods and drought, associated with climate change, adds [Sarah Elton, author of the book, Consumed: Food for a Finite Planet]. She c...

Less than a year after scientists first warned that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could rise above 400 parts per million and stay there, it has finally happened. For the first time in recorded history, the average level of CO2 has topped 400 ppm for an entire month. The high levels of carbon dioxide is...

World on pathway to 'danger,' US climate report warns

Globe and Mail / Seth Borenstein / 06 May 2014
The report says the intensity, frequency and duration of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes have increased since the early 1980s, but it is still uncertain how much of that is from man-made warming. Winter storms have increased in frequency and intensity and shifted northward since the 1950s, it says...

Youth anxiety on the rise amid changing climate

Globe and Mail / Gayle MacDonald / 01 May 2014
Child psychiatrists, psychologists and educators say they've seen an escalation in the anxiety levels of today's youth, who are constantly exposed to doomsday talk about the destruction of our planet. But despite the fact that we live in a world with more volatility and fear, experts say there i...

U.S. billion-dollar weather-related disasters of 2014

Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog / 01 May 2014
The January 5 - 8 "Polar Vortex" winter weather outbreak, which Aon Benfield estimated caused $3 billion in damage. The California drought, with $3.6 billion in agricultural damages so far, as estimated by the California Farm Water Coalition. Severe weather outbreak of April 27 – 30, which Aon Benfield estimated caused $1+ billion in damage....

Hedge funds issue global warming rallying cry

CNBC / Lawrence Delevingne / 26 April 2014
The concern of the hedge fund managers over climate change is two-fold: One, the general impact of global warming on the planet and its inhabitants, and two, how it will effect their investments. "You may not be interested in that topic, but it's in my view the elephant in the room that investors h...

Development in the Ecological Age

Kosmos / Charles Eisenstein / Spring-Summer 2014
To this day, the world financial system depends on the continuation of 'development.' Stripped of its techno-evolutionary gloss, what development really means is monetization. When a country speaks of 'developing' its 'forest resources,' what does it mean? It means to develop them as a...

U.S. unemployment

Zero Hedge / Phoenix Capital Research / 04 May 2014
Indeed, here are some staggering statistics that indicate just how messed up the US economy is right now. The labor participation rate is the lowest since 1978. There are over 90 million Americans without a job right now. An incredible 20% of all American families do not have a single...


Sustainable Events Workbook

Green Meeting Ninjas, Ryerson University / 2013
A sustainable event considers the triple-bottom-line impacts related to all aspects of an event, including the venue, food and beverage, reliance on transportation, materials, products, etc. Developing a sustainable event involves minimizing impact on the planet, equitably serving and working with ...

Flexitarian diet: For better health and a better food budget

Mother Earth News / Kim O'Donnel / June/July 2014
A 2012 NPR-Truven Health Analytics poll showed 56 percent of respondents said they eat meat no more than one to four times per week – a striking shift from the American tradition of meat three times a day, seven days a week. We're hardly breaking up with meat – at the current rate, we're still eating 8 ounces a day, substantially more...

Why the food industry is not your friend

Globe and Mail / Dr. Yoni Freedhoff / 07 May 2014
Don't kid yourself, the food industry is not your friend. That's not a mean-spirited statement, it's just the truth. To follow a course of action divorced from profits and consistent instead with ethics or morals or health is a luxury denied to corporations by their fiduciary responsibiliti...

The best homemade tomato cages

Mother Earth News / Jennifer Kongs / April/May 2011
You'll enjoy a bigger tomato harvest if you use stakes or tomato cages to help your plants grow vertically, saving space in the garden while keeping fruits off the ground, preventing rot. Store-bought tomato cages tend to be flimsy and too small. For a sturdier option, consider building your ...

How to use mulch

Mother Earth News / Ruth Stout / February/March 2004
'Mulch Queen' Ruth Stout claimed to have smashed saloons with Carry Nation in Prohibition-era Kansas and worked au natural in her roadside Connecticut garden, but her labor-saving, soil-improving, permanent garden mulching technique is what earned her lasting fame. Stout was born in 1884 and li...

Pressure canning basics: Fearless food preservation

Mother Earth News / Tabitha Alterman / June/July 2013
If you really want to save money and become more self-sufficient, eventually you'll graduate to pressure canning. With a pressure canner, you can preserve all kinds of low-acid foods (pH higher than 4.6), from green beans, venison and tuna to chicken soup, chili and spaghetti sauce. Two rea...

Solving basement water problems

Mother Earth News / Harold W. Dickinson / May/June 1986
Once you've determined where the water in your basement is coming from, follow the key numbers to find solutions appropriate to your problems. Try the lowest-numbered solutions first, and move on to more drastic measures – such as digging up the foundation and installing a drain – o...

What would a Transition hospital look like?

Transition Culture / Rob Hopkins / 07 May 2014
Our theme for May is 'Transition and Health'. This month we'll be looking at how public health professionals are already responding to challenges of climate change and resource depletion and at how a more Transition-inspired approach might help to deepen that. We'll be talking to nurses and doc...

Craftsmen provide quality and local trade

Mother Earth News / Linda Holliday / 02 April 2014
Clothespin maker Herrick Kimball of Monrovia, New York, doesn't aspire to be the clothespin baron of the world. He wants only to make the best product possible, one he can proudly put his name on. Herrick even helps others learn to make clothespins to sell themselves. His Classic American Clot...


  Youth-run community bike hubs

Evergreen Canada / 24 April 2014
Watch how youth in Toronto are working together to build leadership skills and promote sustainable transportation in the city through Evergreen's Community Bicycle Hub Program.

  Cycling safety videos for all!

Manitoba Cycling Assoc / Press Release / 29 April 2014
We are proud to share three cycling safety videos: Bike Helmets 101 Bike Handling Skills 101 Traffic Skills 101 The videos are currently available in English with plans to release the skills videos in French later this summer. Our goal is to make these videos accessible to everyo...

Jack Gibbons, Chair of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, addresses the opportunity to move Ontario to a 100% renewable electricity grid and save $1 billion / year by avoiding the Darlington nuclear rebuild. Water power imports from Quebec and conservation could replace Darlington and Pickering nuclear stations at a fraction ...

The modern world is totally dependent on a continuing supply of energy from oil and other fossil fuels. However, recent natural disasters, global political upheavals, price hikes in the cost of gas, heating oil and electricity, and the eye-watering cost of filling up a car are signposts toward an unexpected, different, energy-constrained future. ...

  Bruce Seifer: Creating a durable local economy

Peak Prosperity / Chris Martenson, Bruce Seifer / 20 April 2014
In a recent podcast with Michael Shuman discussing local economies, Shuman praised the progress made in Burlington, Vermont over the past 25 years -- largely led by a local activist named Bruce Seife...

  Why local ownership matters

Local Bites / 28 April 2014
In this episode, Local Bites interviews Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance to talk about the multiple social, economic and environmental benefits of local business ownership and community-scaled ...

  Living in the Anthropocene

Sea Change Radio / Alex Wise, Richard Heinberg / 22 April 2014
This week on Sea Change Radio, we discuss the Anthropocene with Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute. Along with host Alex Wise, Heinberg looks at why the terminology debate is more than just sem...


In To Texts: Sustainability

WHEN: Tuesday, May 20, 7:00 pm
WHERE: From Here to Infinity Gallery, 213 King Street West, Brockville

Building on the previous themes of this series we present ideas that bring together Nature, Art and Culture. Our featured artists are a couple: Paul Rampone who works with re-cycled wood and his wife Cindy Martin, an artist who works on canvas, with re-purposed silver and other metals. Our feature poet is Kingston's poet laureate Eric Folsom who is known for the high quality of his writing, his knowledge of Kingston's history and his continued interest in new literary voices. We look forward to seeing you there. Presented by the Brockville Poetry Guild.

Canadian Tire gardening seminar series

WHEN: Wednesday, May 21, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm and following weeks
WHERE: Canadian Tire Brockville Garden Centre, Parkedale Avenue, Brockville

May 21 - Annuals, Vegetables and Herbs: Learn how to select, grow, care for and use these wonderful plants in your garden - how herbs can be used in companion planting to improve your gardens - disease and pest control - and how and when to harvest and preserve vegetables and herbs.

May 28 - Perennials: Learn how to select, grow, care and use of perennials in your garden - integrated pest management - use of perennials in specific garden styles and how to locate them for maximum impact - and winter care of perennials.

June 4 - Shrubs and Trees: Learn how to use trees and shrubs as anchors and foundations in your garden design - select and care for shrubs and trees as well as learn about their nutrient requirements - and about disease and pest control issues and prevention tips.

June 11 - Pruning Techniques: The what, where, when and why of pruning will be discussed and demonstrated - learn how to select and care for your pruning tools and about the importance of using the right tool for the job.

June 25 - Waterwise Gardens: Learn about the types and use of watering systems - about how and when to water, rate of application, pH and temperature of the water - and how to create and maintain gardens that require lesswater and still look amazing!

July 2 - Pond and Bog Gardens: Learn how to create and maintain pond and bog gardens of various sizes and types - about plant selection, supplies, materials and site selection - and about disease and pest prevention and remediation.

July 9 - Fall and Winter Gardens: Learn about fall cleanup, plant division and protection - how to stretch the gardening season and create winter interest - how to extend your vegetable garden season and harvest - and about disease and pest prevention.

Maria Breton, plant physiologist and certified Landscape Designer will be giving this series, and will remain available for Q&A until 5 pm. Cost: Free! Small donation requested to Brockville's Canadian Tire Jumpstart Chapter.

BDHS Plant Sale

WHEN: Saturday, May 24, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Senior Citizens Inc., 15 Elm Street, Brockville

Available for purchase: perennials, annuals, herbs, vegetables, shrubs, ground cover, tubers and much more from the Brockville and District Horticultural Society (BDHS). In addition, there will be books on gardening, gently used gardening tools and accessories. While purchasing plants, ask our members about the organization, their meetings, guest speakers, garden tours, floral designing, the exchange of ideas and discounts at specific gardening suppliers.

Downtown Brockville Sidewalk Sale

WHEN: Saturday, May 24
WHERE: Downtown Brockville

Stroll down King Street and take in all that Downtown Brockville has to offer. Our streets are paved with super savings, fun, and entertainment for the whole family. Come on down and enjoy live music exhibits by local artisans, an inflatable jumper and much more! Now more then ever discover why Downtown Brockville is the destination to eat, shop, stay and play.

Plugging in to Electric Vehicles – With David Behn of EVCO

WHEN: Wednesday, May 28, 7:00 pm
WHERE: Room 201, Jack Purcell Community Centre, 320 Jack Purcell Lane, Ottawa,

Is this the beginning of the end of gas-guzzling vehicles? Join Transition Ottawa and David Behn, 20+ year member of the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa (EVCO), to get up to speed on electric vehicles in Canada. David will share with us how the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa came about, its current activities and photos of members' vehicles. Come learn how electric vehicles came to be and the vehicles we can now buy in Canada. We'll also explore hydrogen fuel cell powered electric vehicles, hydrogen as fuel, and how fuel cells work along with design challenges to overcome to bring these vehicles to market. We'll also discuss the potential environmental impact of electric vehicles. We'll take a quick look at a Carleton student enclosed electric pedal trike research project as inspiration for bringing innovation into universities and schools. Please bring your electric vehicle if you have one for a short show and tell after the formal discussion (this part could run a bit later than usual, tailgate style in the parking lot).

Looking forward to seeing you there. RSVP appreciated. All are welcome. There is no fee for this meet up. Donations are encouraged and will go towards room rental fees, equipment rentals, guest speakers, and other Transition Ottawa initiatives. Organized by Transition Ottawa Meet Up.

More details and RSVP: Transition Ottawa.

Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit

WHEN: Thursday, May 29 - Friday, May 30
WHERE: Almonte Old Town Hall, 14 Bridge Street, Almonte

Are you interested in living in a healthy active community? One that is safe for walking and cycling? Learning how towns are transforming themselves into a more livable place? Are you an engaged citizen interested in living in a town like this? Learn about these simple concepts that make towns healthier, more vibrant and stronger economically. Perhaps you're a downtown business person, discover the economic potential of pedestrian and cycle friendly communities? Or a town planner or staff person, learn best practice techniques of others building healthier towns. Maybe you're a resident that wants to be able to get around your community more easily and safely on foot or on a bike. Join us at the Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit.

More info and registration:

1st Annual Prysmian Group Community Wellness Day

WHEN: Saturday, May 31
WHERE: 137 Commerce Drive, Johnstown

The event is a celebration of wellness in our community and will have a race/run/walk event, a kid's race, a barbecue lunch, music, games, awards and draws. Everyone is invited to attend. All proceeds will go to Prysmian's three key charities: Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Leeds Grenville, Leeds Grenville Mental Health Vocational Programs and FoodForAll food bank. Francois Guay, Human Resource Manager for Canada's Prysmian operations, says that wellness is one of the keys to community productivity and happiness. He says Prysmian is proud to be able to launch this event and help make our community stronger in the process. Ten dollar bracelets will include admission to the race/walk, lunch and access to the grounds and vendors. Wellness vendors, local businesses or charity groups can setup a table at the event by registering with Nikki Amlin at 613-925-6071 or via email at

Grain Chain - A Farm to Fork Tour

WHEN: Saturday, June 14, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
WHERE: 5 Henry Street, Brockville

Explore local heritage wheat production and its many products. We will stop and chat with a heritage wheat farmer, indulge in a "local flavours" lunch, tour a working 200 year old flour mill, stop at a unique farmer's market, and end the day with a delectable surprise.

$70 with $5 discount for Brockville Museum members. Non-refundable payment in full is required to reserve your seat. More info: Brockville Museum, 613-342-4397

Art in the City Studio Tour

WHEN: Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22
WHERE: Downtown Brockville

Stimulate your artistic senses at the 8th annual ART in the City Studio Tour being presented in the heart of Heritage Brockville this summer. Art lovers, tourists and cultural enthusiasts from far and wide are invited to partake in the stunning walking tour. This FREE tour takes place through the picturesque home and garden laden streets of downtown Brockville to various displays in art studios and at the Brockville Museum. The tour features hundreds of breathtaking works of art in a variety of media, technique, colour and form created by local artists who are driven by the awe inspiring ambiance of the 1000 Islands region.

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.


Mini-icons by Yusuke Kamiyamane. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.