Newsletter 093, 21 July 2014


Eight ways climate change is making the world more dangerous

The Guardian / Suzanne Goldenberg / 14 July 2014
Disasters including storms, floods and heatwaves have increased fivefold since the 1970s, UN finds

Forget the future. The world already is nearly five times as dangerous and disaster prone as it was in the 1970s, because of the increasing risks brought by climate change, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organisation.

The first decade of the 21st century saw 3,496 natural disasters from floods, storms, droughts and heat waves. That was nearly five times as many disasters as the 743 catastrophes reported during the 1970s – and all of those weather events are influenced by climate change.

The bottom line: natural disasters are occurring nearly five times as often as they were in the 1970s. But some disasters – such as floods and storms – pose a bigger threat than others. Flooding and storms are also taking a bigger bite out of the economy. But heat waves are an emerging killer.


Next up: Regional flood risks

Unbroken frigid temperatures this past winter kept snow and ice from melting so that when the heavy spring rains came in April, people in eastern Ontario worried about the risk of area rivers and lakes flooding their banks. We are used to seeing media reports of flooding in Manitoba and Alberta, but it hit close to home last April when the overwhelmed Gananoque River system flooded a campground and cabins on Singleton Lake.

Those who monitor and manage the region's watersheds were kept busy this spring, checking floodplain maps, coordinating their plans, and drawing down lakes earlier than usual to have storage for melt water and rain. Sean Watt, water resources engineer with the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA), will explain flooding risks associated with our watersheds at our next presentation.


WHEN: Saturday, July 26, 2:00 pm
WHERE: Training Room, Fire Station 2, 360 Laurier Boulevard, Brockville

August 23 (Saturday): Brockville Veggie Garden Tour
September 28: [TBA]
In the works: Emergency preparedness; A discussion on GMO foods

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


Call for veggie garden sites

TB is organizing a Brockville Veggie Garden Tour as its August presentation. We hope to offer a range of veggie garden types, from community gardens and institutional gardens (businesses, agencies, faith groups, etc.) to permaculture gardens, forest gardens, healing gardens, accessible gardens, raised bed gardens, hydroponic gardens, straw bale gardens, wall gardens and container gardens. If you have one of these within city limits, or know of one which might be available for visits through 6 hours on Saturday, August 23, please let us know at Deadline for entry is July 31.

Cascaded TB rain barrels

TB rain barrels now available

Thanks to the donation of used, food-grade barrels by locally-owned and operated Burnbrae Farms, Transition Brockville now has a supply of rain barrels available for sale. You can reduce your watering costs and support the work of Transition Brockville at the same time by purchasing one of our flexible barrels for the unbeatable price of $50.

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


Kingston Climate Action Plan receives support

City of Kingston / Press Release / 24 June 2014
"The creation of the Kingston Climate Action Plan is an important accomplishment towards sustainability of our city," said Mark Gerretsen, Mayor of Kingston. "This plan, made possible through a grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), will go a long way in our efforts to address ...

Two Rivers Food Hub

REAL Update / July 2014
The Two Rivers Food Hub project is the culmination of many years of work supporting local food and farming in our area. Its goal is to create a viable and sustainable food hub in the Smiths Falls area within this next year. The group is currently at a critical juncture, pulling together grant applications to help pay for...

Manufacturing Energy Roundtable

City of Brockville / Economic Development / 02 July 2014
Shell Canada Ltd. and the Economic Development Office recently hosted a forum on energy with 25 of the major manufacturing energy users in the Brockville area. The session was focused on establishing a dialogue on best practices among small, medium and major manufacturers as well as the Br...

TransCanada buys town's silence for $28K

Climate Progress / Emily Atkin / 05 July 2014
A small town [near] Ottawa, Canada will be receiving $28,200 from energy company TransCanada Corp. in exchange for not commenting on the company's proposed Energy East tar sands pipeline project, according to an agreement attached to the town council's meeting agenda on June 23. Under the term...

TransCanada proposes Eastern Mainline Project

St. Lawrence News / Doreen Barnes / 26 June 2014
TransCanada personnel held an Eastern Mainline Project open house at the Brockville Convention Centre recently to inform those locally of this proposed undertaking. The suggested plan is to construct a new natural gas pipeline approximately 370 kilometres with 36 inch diameter pipe along the ex...

Getting to a zero carbon lifestyle

EcoGen Build / Chris Weissflog
Construction has finally begun on our new home [just outside of Merrickville]. It will give us the zero carbon lifestyle that we've been working towards for years. We are pulling together everything we've learned to get as close as we can to our goal. Built-in features will not only zero our home's carbon footprint; they will ...


Low Great Lakes water could cost big: study

Inside Brockville / 26 June 2014
If the low water levels recorded in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River in recent years continue for sustained periods, the long-term impact on the region's economy could reach more than C$20 billion by 2050, according to a new report. The study, conducted by the Mowat Centre for the Council of the Great L...

Great Lakes & St Lawrence Cities Initiative Conference begins

City of Thunder Bay / Press Release / 18 June 2014
Among the topics covered will be: The effects of climate change on Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin municipalities, as well as the innovative ways municipalities have adapted. The transportation of fossil fuels through the Great Lakes region, and the impact on municipalities. ...

Ontario must do more to meet climate change goals: watchdog

CTV News / Keith Leslie / 09 July 2014
In his annual report, called Looking for Leadership, the Costs of Climate Inaction, [Environment Commissioner Gord] Miller said Ontario will meet its 2014 targets for greenhouse gas emissions but won't be able to do the same in 2020 because it has done so little to address the issue. "The biggest section...

The next step for Ontario's energy mix

Ottawa Citizen / Mark Winfield, Pierre Olivier Pineau / 23 June 2014
The central issue facing Ontario's electricity system is whether to attempt to refurbish the Bruce and Darlington nuclear power plants. The track record of previous nuclear repair efforts has been one of delays, massive cost-overruns and even project failures. The situation h...

Toronto will feel like North Miami by 2100: climate change report

Ottawa Citizen / Lauren Strapagiel / 10 July 2014
According to the report, Chicago will be more like Texas by 2100, where the summer high is around 33.9°C. Portland and Seattle will feel like southern California, Omaha will feel like where Texas meets Mexico and Wichita, Kansas will feel like southern Arizona. Some projected temperatures did...

The value of trees in the City of Toronto

TD Bank / Craig Alexander, SVP & Chief Economist / 09 June 2014
Highlights Urban forests are made up of the trees, shrubs and other flora and fauna that line the streets, parks and ravines of our cities. Urban forests do more than beautify the scenery. They represent an important investment in environmental condition, human health and the ...

Grain farmers press for delay on insecticide ban

Globe and Mail / Erik Atkins / 07 July 2014
A group representing Ontario grain farmers says the provincial government's plan to restrict the use of an insecticide blamed for a growing number of bee deaths will hurt them financially, and could lead to increased spraying of pesticides that are more damaging to the environment and humans. The ...

See also: Insecticides put world food supplies at risk, say scientists

Electric vehicle owners in the Niagara Region now have access to electric vehicle charging at a retail store location. Graham Keene's Canadian Tire has just installed the first of several charging stations at Canadian Tire stores in Niagara, catering to retail/auto service customers and travelers. Canadia...


Fires in NW Territories in line with 'unprecedented' burn

Climate Central / Brian Kahn / 17 July 2014
Of the 186 wildfires in the Northwest Territories to-date this year, 156 of them are currently burning. That includes the Birch Creek Fire complex, which stretches over 250,000 acres. The amount of acres burned in the Northwest Territories is six times greater than the 25-year average to-date according to data from the Canadian Inte...

Smoke from Canada's copious wildfires as seen from space

io9 / George Dvorsky / 11 July 2014
Canada is currently experiencing one of its worst wildfire seasons ever. The active fires blazing in British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and Alberta are spewing tremendous amounts of smoke into the atmosphere, affecting weather patterns in both Canada and the United States. This gorgeous shot w...

The shocking truth about B.C.'s carbon tax: It works

Globe and Mail / Ross Beaty, Richard Lipsey, Stewart Elgie / 09 July 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper repeatedly claims that a carbon tax would "destroy jobs and growth." Yet the evidence from the province that actually passed such a tax – British Columbia – tells a different story. The latest numbers from Statistics Canada show tha...

Montreal to be one of five hubs for UN's Future Earth project

Montreal Gazette / Karen Seidman / 07 July 2014
Montreal has been selected as one of five global hubs for a United Nations project called Future Earth, an ambitious 10-year initiative to build and connect international research on the environment and sustainable development — and to find ways to intensify and accelerate the impact of that rese...

Insurers zero in on flood-prone areas

CBC News / 02 July 2014
The Insurance Bureau of Canada, which represents property insurers across Canada, has been dealing with worsening weather events for more than a decade, according to Bill Adams, IBC vice-president for the Western and Pacific region. There's been a 12 per cent increase in the amount of rain in Canada since 1950, and ext...

Residents of a vast swath of the southern Prairies are in a state of emergency after torrential rains led to flash floods that inundated homes and washed out roads and bridges. Rapidly rising rivers and creeks combined with overland flooding have led many residents to abandon their homes and to give up on efforts...

Federal climate change report warns of economic, health impacts

Toronto Star / Les Whittington / 24 June 2014
Canadians can expect more floods, storms and other damaging extreme weather events as global warming inevitably gets worse, says a federal government report that also says governments are lagging in efforts to adapt to this climate change shift. The 292-page report, released with little fanfare on...


May was hottest on Earth since records began

The Guardian / Adam Vaughan / 24 June 2014
Last month was the hottest May globally since records began in 1880, new figures show. The record heat, combined with increasingly certain predictions of an El Nińo, means experts are now speculating whether 2014 could become the hottest year on record. Data published by the US National Oceanic a...

The amount of CO2 in our air just reached a new record

Climate Progress / Emily Atkin / 01 July 2014
On Monday, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii told Climate Central that June would be the third month in a row where, for the entire month, average levels of carbon dioxide were above 400 parts per million (ppm). In other words, that?...

World Council of Churches pulls fossil fuel investments

The Guardian / Adam Vaughan / 11 July 2014
An umbrella group of churches, which represents over half a billion Christians worldwide, has decided to pull its investments out of fossil fuel companies. The move by the World Council of Churches, which has 345 member churches including the Church of England but not the Catholic church, was welcome...

The phenomenon of "dark snow" is being recorded from the Himalayas to the Arctic as increasing amounts of dust from bare soil, soot from fires and ultra-fine particles of "black carbon" from industry and diesel engines are being whipped up and deposited sometimes thousands of miles away. The result, say s...

Connecting the dots between oil, debt, interest rates and risk

Of Two Minds / Charles Hugh Smith / 30 June 2014
The bottom line is the Fed can only keep the machine duct-taped together by suppressing the market's pricing of risk. One of the Grand Narratives of our era is the substitution of debt for income: as earned income and disposable income have stagnated for 40 years, the gap between the rising cos...

As the world struggles with how to deal with the slow motion apocalypse of global climate change it becomes more and more apparent that we are trapped in "the kind of thinking" that got us here. While I don't want to wear out Einstein's quotability, his other little piece of wisdom that we need to keep top...

Report: World's oceans on brink of collapse

Common Dreams / Nadia Prupis / 24 June 2014
The world's oceans face irreparable damage from climate change and overfishing, with a five-year window for intervention, an environmental panel said Tuesday. Neglecting the health of the oceans could have devastating effects on the world's food supply, clean air, and climate stability, among other ...

A world without water

Financial Times / Pilita Clark / 14 July 2014
Nearly 20 years after the World Bank began warning of a looming water crisis, the combination of a surging population, a growing global middle class and a changing climate is straining water supplies. For companies – from multinational corporations to small businesses – this amounts to higher co...

California severe drought intensifying

The Guardian / Rory Carroll / 04 July 2014
California's drought is intensifying, turning more farms to dust, fanning fires, draining fountains and driving "unbelievable" prices at water auctions. A map released by the US Drought Monitor on Thursday classified nearly 80% of California as in "extreme" drought, the second highest of five...

Arizona could be out of water in six years / Colin Schultz / 20 June 2014
Arizona is bone dry, desiccated by the worst drought ever seen in the state's 110-year long observational record. The Grand Canyon State has been in drought conditions for a decade, and researchers think the dry spell could hold out for another 20 to 30 years, says the City of Phoenix. That peopl...

Lessons for climate change in the 2008 recession

International New York Times / Henry M. Paulson Jr / 21 June 2014
It is true that there is uncertainty about the timing and magnitude of these risks and many others. But those who claim the science is unsettled or action is too costly are simply trying to ignore the problem. We must see the bigger picture. The nature of a crisis is its unpred...

AGW will have broad psychological effects, report finds

American Psychological Association / 10 June 2014
Climate change will have significant negative impacts on Americans' health and psychological well-being, due to an increase in the frequency and severity of climate-related natural disasters and other climate-related changes in the environment and weather. Likely effects, which will increase as...

Answers to four tough questions

Club Orlov / Dmitri Orlov / 17 June 2014
How can we communicate the reality of collapse to family and friends in ways that are constructive rather than destructive and find helpful ways to reflect our "endarkenment" in our everyday behavior? How can we form personal relationships with people that can survive the disappearance of offic...


Distributed energy: Powering the electricity grid together

Mother Earth News / Kale Roberts / August/September 2014
"Distributed energy" refers to electricity generation from many small-scale (often renewable) sources tied into the grid to meet the power demand of local communities — such as solar arrays or small wind turbines powering individual houses. This network is contrary to the conventiona...

Village medicine

Club Orlov / A Canadian MD / 08 July 2014
I am a family physician in Canada with an interest in what the future of medicine in Western societies might look like. I don't subscribe to the mainstream narrative of ever more technically exotic and complex medicine, such as nanosurgery, individualized genetic medicine and growing replacement body p...

A reader asks: How to find shelter from the coming storms?

Of Two Minds / Charles Hugh Smith / 11 July 2014
Don't count on pensions maintaining their current purchasing power as the promises issued in previous eras are not sustainable going forward.
  • Lower the cost of one's lifestyle.
  • Establish roots in a community of like-minded people.
  • Lessen your dependence on anything that requires de...

Garden management: Keeping up with your summer garden

Mother Earth News / Barbara Pleasant / June/July 2009
Like many gardeners, I'm more of a planter than a picker. I'd rather poke bean seeds into the ground than gather my 10th basket of squash, which leads to trouble when time gets tight in mid summer. Sound familiar? You can use the garden management guidelines below to keep your summer gard...

Glossary of natural garden pest control solutions

Mother Earth News / Barbara Pleasant, Shelley Stonebrook / June/July 2014
A good overarching mantra to guide you in your natural garden pest control efforts can be summed up in two words: Look closely. Examine your plants regularly, noting what kinds of insects you see. Observe whether you see just a few of a particular kind of insect or whether...

A fresh perspective on Senior Organic Gardeners

COG Down to Earth / Wesley Petite / Summer 2014
The Senior Organic Gardeners (SOG) program helps to develop growth on many levels. People living in a Seniors' Residence are given the opportunity to interact with trained gardeners, plant visually stimulating and aromatic plants, and enjoy the sweet feeling of dirt between their fingers as they ...

When to harvest garden-fresh produce

Mother Earth News / Kris Wetherbee / August/September 2004
The secret to enjoying garden-fresh produce at its prime is knowing when to harvest. If you've ever eaten a melon that lacked sweetness or green beans that were fibrous and tough, you know how crucial timing can be. Just as different vegetables have their own distinct needs for plantin...

Home canning: Putting food by the old-fashioned way

Mother Earth News / Tabitha Alterman / June/July 2012
More and more people are deciding to learn how to can food at home. The University of Missouri Extension, for example, has doubled its available food preservation classes. Fran Blank, a food preservation instructor with more than 40 years of experience, says she has been amazed in recent year...

Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they're all about repairing things (together). In the place where a Repair Café is located, you'll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need. On clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, appliances, toys, et cetera. You will also find repair specialists such as...

Saddle up with your pannier!

Ontario By Bike Network / E-News & Updates / 15 July 2014
Whether commuting, heading out for a multi-day excursion, or simply taking supplies for a day out on our bikes, we all need a little extra storage. What's worse, is that in these muggy summer days throwing on a backpack can leave your back all sticky and sweaty. It can also heat up your c...

Group rides for seniors

Transition Brockville / 15 June 2014
Two group leaders from the Shepherd's Welcome Centre, Kay and Ken Carlson, have organized regular group bike rides for seniors through the Centre's summer hiatus period. Weather permitting, there are rides on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays beginning at 8 a.m. Seniors wishing to join the ride may either meet the group on Monday mornings at the Metro parking lot, or call Kay at 613-342-8551 for further details.


  The Making of Humans

Orphan Wisdom
The relentless pursuit of self reliance and self improvement is rooted in our lost connection to common stories, homeland and ancestors that bind and unite us. The times now demand that we recognize the world's suffering in our own.

  Moyers: Time to get real on climate change

Moyers & company / 09 May 2014
This week, as the White House issued a landmark report detailing the frightening effects of global warming on our country and President Obama took to the airwaves to drive home that message, Bill Moyers talks with a scientist who has sounded the alarm for decades.

  Jim Puplava's Big Picture: Peak oil – delayed but not resolved

Financial Sense / James J Puplava CFP, John Loeffler / 28 June 2014
Jim lays out the issue of Peak Oil in depth, and quotes studies that believe it could still arrive by the end of this decade.

The above video is a condensation of the 4.5-hour long full Crash Course video series. The data and analysis underlying the material represent over a decade of intensive research and study. Over that decade, its forecasts have proved increasingly valid...

A talk by Cara Pike of Climate Access, delivered to the University of Alberta Student Sustainability Summit on January 24, 2014. The talk was co-sponsored by Alberta Climate Dialogue and the University of Alberta Office of Sustainability.

  The scythe, the grass rake and the broadfork

Peak Moment TV / 05 July 2014
Watch Brian Kerkvliet cut thick grasses easily and quickly with his hand-built scythe — a far cry from a noisy weed whacker! He demonstrates three tools whose design he has honed over the years: the scythe, grass rake and U- bar or broadfork.

  Think Small Family stickers

GrowthBusters / 01 July 2014
The world is overpopulated, but there is something we can do about it. Choosing a small family will make a difference, and it's the cool thing to do.

  A look at the SkillShare Faire

Peak Moment TV / 04 May 2014
Organizers from Transition Whatcom, near Bellingham, Washington, are reviving old skills and showcasing new ones in a festive event including local music, local food, and activities for children.


Brockville Museum's children's summer programs

WHEN: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings, from 10:00 am to noon
WHERE: Brockville Museum, 23 Henry Street, Brockville

Tea is the Key - August 5 to 7
Think you know how to throw a party? You've never been to a party until you've been to one hosted by the Victorians! Discover how the Victorians planned and hosted Garden Tea Parties, and help plan the event of the summer. Take charge and plan games, food and entertainment in preparation for hosting our own authentic Garden Tea Party.

From Scratch - August 12 to 14
Calling all food lovers! Spend three days with us and learn how to bake bread, make jam and churn butter all from scratch! Using local ingredients, discover the methods used by the pioneers. Tasty treats abound!

Ages 6 to 11. Members $30/non-members $35. For more information or to register, contact Emily Thurgood at or 613-342-4397. Registration forms available at the Brockville Museum, 5 Henry Street, Brockville

UCLG Household Hazardous Waste Day

WHEN: Saturday, August 16, 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
WHERE: Frankville/Toledo Patrol Garage 331 County Rd. 29, and South Leeds Patrol Garage, 2714 Outlet Rd. (North of Lansdowne)

GBC Harvest Festival begins

WHEN: Friday, August 22
WHERE: Gananoque

"The GBC Harvest Festival will be a month-long celebration of local food, beer and the people who make our region great: farmers, food processors, brewers, chefs, artisans and artists," said Scott Peterson, Chairman of the Gananoque Brewing Company. "We are pleased to being a lead role in bringing people together to get this done."

The festival will take place over four weeks (five weekends) from August 22 to September 21 to coincide with local hop picking and the harvesting of local crops. The festival is designed to draw local and regional tourists to the area, providing visitors with greater local choices in food. Activities will include farm visits, hop picking, visits to a working mill, expanded farmers' markets throughout the region, plus a local music festival. The festival will work closely with chefs and hospitality workers to promote local menu options. Details will be announced in the coming months.

Brockville Household Hazardous Waste

WHEN: Saturday, September 6, 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
WHERE: Centennial Youth Arena, 138 Broadway Avenue, Brockville

This event is for residents of Brockville to drop off free of charge, material generated from their individual households. Car pool with your neighbours to reduce the environmental impact.

More info: City of Brockville

UCLG Hazardous Waste Day

WHEN: Saturday, September 27, 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
WHERE: South Grenville Patrol Garage, 2320 County Rd. 21, Spencerville

WHEN: Saturday, September 27, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
WHERE: North Grenville Patrol Garage, 720 County Rd. 44, Kemptville

Green Energy Doors Open 2014

WHEN: Saturday, October 4
WHERE: Throughout Ontario

This is OSEA's 3rd annual, province-wide, single-day showcase event for sustainable energy projects. Registrations to become a sponsor or an event host have opened and we are seeking participants! Find out more about the benefits of hosting and sponsoring. This years' event is looking to be even bigger and better than our 2013 edition. Green Energy Doors Open (GEDO14) will include event hosts from every corner of Ontario, and representatives from every sub-sector of our growing sustainable energy economy.

More info:

Managing Energy 2014

WHEN: Monday, October 6
WHERE: Four Points by Sheraton Kingston, King Street East, Kingston

Managing Energy 2014 is a conference and exhibition for Southeastern Ontario's energy management professionals. This intensive day of speakers, panel sessions and networking will focus on practical strategies and will provide energy managers with the tools they need to:
  • Reduce energy consumption and lower costs for their organizations
  • Better understand the energy landscape
  • Identify new opportunities for savings
  • Get the most out of energy intelligence software
  • Gain the latest industry perspective
  • Discover emerging market trends
  • Be aware of regulatory changes that could impact business
  • Navigate current challenges
  • Identify future opportunities
More info and registration:

CARP's Health and Lifestyle Expo 2014

WHEN: Saturday, October 18, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Country Club, Brockville

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.