Newsletter 094, 18 August 2014


Extreme weather becoming more common

The Guardian / Damian Carrington / 11 August 2014
Extreme weather like the drought currently scorching the western US and the devastating floods in Pakistan in 2010 is becoming much more common, according to new scientific research.

The work shows so-called "blocking patterns", where hot or wet weather remains stuck over a region for weeks causing heatwaves or floods, have more than doubled in summers over the last decade. The new study may also demonstrate a link between the UK's recent flood-drenched winter and climate change.



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Next up: Brockville Veggie Garden Tour

Got a green thumb? Looking for inspiration to get started as a vegetable gardener? Want to show your kids where some of their food comes from? Could you use some tips to make your own veggie gardens even better?

Transition Brockville's first-ever, free, self-guided vegetable garden tour runs next Saturday with six garden locations in the city, all south of Highway 401. Look for the distinctive carrot signs marking locations of the tour gardens.

You can visit gardens in any order you like. Or you can drive to the parking lot at Leeds-Grenville Mental Health, unload your family's bikes, and follow a family-friendly cycling route that takes in all six gardens.

Our tour brochure is available for download here, and will also be available at the six gardens and at the Brockville Public Library, Leeds County Books, and Ritchie's Feed and Seed garden centre on County Road 29.

WHEN: Saturday, August 23, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

September 28: [TBA]
October 26: [TBA]
In the works: Solid waste management and recycling; 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.


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

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The City of Brockville is extending their Conventional Transit Hours to accommodate an evening service effective July 2, 2014. Expanded Hours: 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm Mon-Fri (No evening service Sat, Sun, or Stat Holidays)...

City opting for CRCA risk management planning and enforcement

Brockville This Week / Alanah Duffy / 24 July 2014
Brockville will likely join several other municipalities in the area and transfer its risk management planning and enforcement over to the Cataraqui Regional Conservation Authority (CRCA). The recommendation by staff to transfer enforcement and jurisdictional rights to the CRCA was discusse...

Bicycle-powered concert comes to Brockville

St. Lawrence News / Doreen Barnes / 14 August 2014
So you have an appreciation for all types of music, in different forms, but have you heard the 2014 Tune Your Ride Tour play? On Saturday, Aug. 23, a bicycle-powered travelling concert will be presented from 6 to 8 p.m., at Hardy Park bandshell in Brockville. Musicians Abigail Lapell, Ben Herm...

Augusta Twp energy plan adopted

Brockville This Week / 24 July 2014
An energy conservation and demand management plan submitted by CAD Pierre Mercier has won the endorsement of Augusta council and will be posted on the township website, in addition to annual records of energy consumption, as required by the province under the Green Energy Act. Notable improvements in recen...

Area concern over declining honeybees

Recorder & Times / Meggie Sylvester / 13 August 2014
"In my opinion, the decline has a lot to do with neonicotinoid pesticides. I think there's a lot of evidence to support that," Baker said. In fact, Baker was contacted by local organic farmer Angela Peladeau who, over her 12 years of agricultural experience, began witnessing a signifi...


Canadians are facing a "new breed" of storms, and governments should change the way they plan for the kind of wild weather that caused a flash flood in Burlington, Ont., on Monday, says Dave Phillips, Environment Canada's senior climatologist. "These [once in] 50-year floods are occurring every 10 years, because our ...

OPA and the Conservation First Framework

Ontario Power Authority / 13 August 2014
The Ontario Power Authority (OPA), in response to a direction from the Minister of Energy, is implementing a new six year conservation framework. The Conservation First Framework is designed to reduce electricity consumption by 7 terawatt-hours (TWh) or seven billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) by December 31, 20...

Solar power surging to forefront of Canadian energy

Globe and Mail / Richard Blackwell / 26 July 2014
The action on large solar projects is taking place only in Ontario, where pro-renewable-energy government policies essentially subsidize solar installations. That has not been duplicated in any other province. Without government support, solar projects elsewhere will likely be small scale, until ...

Ontario is looking to build greater flexibility and resiliency into its power system with the addition of new projects to test storage technologies. Ontario's grid operator, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), has selected storage technologies from five companies that can offer ancillary services to suppo...

Guelph community garden project grows kids' knowledge

Guelph Mercury / Rob O'Flanagan / 24 July 2014
Twenty kids, one good-sized garden, so much to learn. A large garden plot on Upper Grand District School Board property in west side Guelph is beginning to yield a strong harvest of practical knowledge for a group of youth. The Village Gardeners farming cooperative was formed to teach kids how...


Canadian cities lead on climate action

Georgia Straight / David Suzuki / 22 July 2014
Amid the dire warnings about global warming's impacts, what's often overlooked is that actions to reduce or prevent them will lead to livable communities, improved air quality, protection of natural spaces, and greater economic efficiency, to name just a few benefits. So it's not surprising that tangible positive action on climate change is happening in Canada’s cities. Plenty of examples can be fou...

Impacts of developing the oil and gas industry

Pembina Institute / Sarah Dobson / 27 March 2014
How important is the oilsands sector to Canada's GDP? While Statistics Canada does not track the oilsands specifically, GDP data shows the unconventional oil and gas sector, which consists primarily of oilsands, contributed 2.0 per cent to national GDP in 2013. So the oilsands are important, but far less impo...

Transition Winnipeg: Make climate change a civic election priority

Winnipeg Free Press / Aldo Santin / 28 July 2014
Transition Winnipeg is formally releasing its first report, Winnipeg's Great Transition -- Ideas and Actions for a Climate-Resilient, Low-Carbon City, this morning at Mountain Equipment Co-Op's third floor public meeting space. It's a slick, professional document outlining alternative growth strat...

Vancouver's PNE exhibition aims to drop the waste

The Tyee / Jesse Donaldson / 11 August 2014
The PNE already has a number of waste-reduction initiatives in place, including low-flush urinals, energy-efficient lighting, and a new $300,000 climate-control system for the Pacific Coliseum. It's encouraged vendors to source local food products, and mandated the use of environmentally-friendly clean...

Vancouver worried B.C.'s water is becoming a hot commodity

Vancouver Sun / Kelly Sinoski / 25 July 2014
As demand increases in the drought-stricken U.S. and among water bottling companies and resource-based industries, Metro Vancouver worries B.C.'s pristine water is at risk of becoming a hot global commodity. The provincial government is in the midst of overhauling its 1909 Water Act in a bid to r...


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Climate records shattered in 2013

Discovery / Becky Oskin / 19 July 2014
The annual State of the Climate report compiles climate and weather data from around the world and is reviewed by 425 climate scientists from 57 countries [...] Here are the highlights from the report: Sea level continued rising: Boosted by warm Pacific Ocean temperatures (which causes water to expand) and melting ice sheets, sea level rose 0.15 inches (3.8 millimeters), on par with the long-term trend of 0.13 inches (3.2 mm) per year over the past 20 years. Antarctic sea ice hit another record high: On October 1, Antarctic sea ice covered 7.56 million square miles (19.5 million square kilom...

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Siberian craters and methane release

Climate Progress / Ari Phillips / 01 August 2014
Russian scientists have determined that a massive crater discovered in a remote part of Siberia was probably caused by thawing permafrost. The crater is in the Yamal Peninsula, which means "end of the world." It caught hold of the media spotlight in mid-July when it was spotted by oil and gas workers flying over the area. At roughly 200 feet wide and seemingly bottomless, speculation abounded about the cause with the Siberian Times reporting that, “theories range from meteorites, stray missiles, a man-made prank, and aliens, to an explosive cocktail of methane or shale gas suddenly exploding.”...

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For Californians now used to watching storm systems veer far to the north, carrying their precious load of moisture away from the state, the water scarcity situation grew more dire last week as nearly 82 percent of the state slipped into extreme and exceptional drought. These two aridity ratings are the highest levels provided by the US drought monitor. The other 18% of the state not covered by these two extremes merely sweltered under severe drought conditions. To the east and north, other states quietly slipped into total drought coverage as well. Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico show 100 perce...

Earth has hottest June on record

NOAA National Climatic Data Center / July 2014
Global Highlights: The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for June 2014 was the highest on record for the month, at 0.72°C (1.30°F) above the 20th century average of 15.5°C (59.9°F). The global land surface temperature was 0.95°C (1.71°F) above th...

Companies proclaim water the next oil

The Guardian / Suzanne McGee / 27 July 2014
"Is now the time to buy water?" enquired the email that showed up in my inbox earlier this week. Its authors weren't worrying about my dehydration levels. Rather, they were urging me to think of water in quite a new way: as a commodity to invest in. Making money from water? Is this what Wal...

Abstract Anthropologist Joseph Tainter has posited a theory on the role of energy in describing the ability of a society to organize itself and solve social and environmental problems. Accordingly, in order to solve new problems and maintain existing services, societies tend to become more complex. In order to be...


Schools: Improve your energy grade with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

NRCan Heads Up: Building Energy Efficiency Newsletter / Volume 1, Issue 5
School districts in Canada stand to save millions in energy costs – money that could be reinvested in school programs. And the good news is that ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager can help make it happen. With the free, online energy management tool facility managers can benc...

Back to the Garden

OnEarth / Michael Ellick / 25 June 2014
I couldn't help noting a poignant irony in the stylized symbols — doves, olive branches, rushing springs — that we churchfolk are forever emblazoning onto our sacred objects. These symbols were now laid out before me: metaphors, respectively, for Christian ideals of spirit, grace, and the rebirth...

Youth prepping

Peak Oil / Ghung / 07 August 2014
The first rule of prepping is to develop skills. I encourage my kids and grandkids to be generalists; goes to thinking systemically. Many folks in our global economy are specialists who will be in trouble when their specialty becomes unviable (think office drones and service industries). I see a majority of disp...

Agrihoods: Neighborhoods with local food at the hub

Mother Earth News / Edward T. McMahon / August/September 2014
Sibella Kraus, president of the nonprofit group Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE) in Berkeley, Calif., says, "Urban agriculture is not just a way to grow vegetables, but also a way to strengthen community." This is exactly what Marja Preston, senior director of development ...

Mycorrhizal fungi: The underground secret to a better garden

Mother Earth News / Douglas H. Chadwick / August/September 2014
Plants routinely face a challenge absorbing enough of certain key elements, such as phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium and iron. Fungi don't face this obstacle; they produce specialized acids and enzymes that break the bonds that bind those nutrients to soil and organic compounds. Al...

A strap-on stool for garden work

University of Wisconsin
Stoop labor is unavoidable on many nurseries, since at times plant care and other tasks need to be done by hand. If you spend too much time stooping, kneeling or squatting, you may experience fatigue, muscle soreness or injuries now than can contribute to worse injuries later in life. One alternative is to use an adjusta...

Preserving food for winter storage

Mother Earth News / Mary Lou Shaw / 11 January 2013
"It's convenient to have a root cellar or a basement where canned goods can be stored, but if you have neither, you can still put aside local garden produce to eat in the wintertime. It's meaningful and satisfying to do just one or two new things each year that will get you closer to self...

Learn to cook on a budget

St. Lawrence News / Doreen Barnes / 14 August 2014
Once a month volunteers come together to provide free cooking classes for the public. This class takes place at the First Presbyterian Church, Brockville, and is called Cooking on a Budget. This idea came from a very enthusiastic group of ladies, Theresa Sosnowski, Jeanette Mattioli, Amanda...

Make a biogas generator to produce your own natural gas

Mother Earth News / Paul Scheckel / August/September 2014
You can use many household organic "waste" materials to produce your own natural gas for cooking, lighting, and space and water heating. This gas, known as "biogas," can also replace fossil-based natural gas to fuel an engine or an absorption cooling system, such as a gas refriger...


  Beyond Storms & Droughts: The Psychological Impacts of Climate Change

ecoAmerica and the American Psychological Association / June 2014
The third National Climate Assessment, published in May 2014, went a step beyond weather-related impacts. It also emphasized the impacts that climate change will have on society, including how climate change is expected to disrupt food production, damage infrastructure, displace c...

  Dying wisdom

The Extraenvironmentalist / Episode 80 / 05 August 2014
Though death is an inevitable part of life, do we really act as if we know we're going to die? In a culture that glorifies youth and technology, the true acknowledgement of death can come as an affront to our perceived ability to negotiate with limits. Can we each acknowledge the role o...

It's not very often that we get to announce that one of our members published a book, which is why we are very happy to present and recommend to you The Decision-Maker's Guide to Long-Term Financing for entrepreneurs and businesspeople within small to medium-sized enterprises - to help them with their fundraising process, s...

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.

  A place for food in public spaces - Part 1

Community Food Centres Canada / 08 July 2014
A place for food in public spaces - Part 1 from Community Food Centres Canada on Vimeo.


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.


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