Transition Brockville

Newsletter 098, 15 December 2014


New G20 rule: Cyprus-type bail-ins
to hit depositors AND pensioners / Ellen Brown / 02 December 2014
It was all so fast, they may not have known what they were endorsing when they rubber-stamped the Financial Stability Board's "Adequacy of Loss-Absorbing Capacity of Global Systemically Important Banks in Resolution," which completely changes the rules of banking.

Russell Napier, writing in ZeroHedge, called it "the day money died." In any case, it may have been the day deposits died as money. Unlike coins and paper bills, which cannot be written down or given a "haircut," says Napier, deposits are now "just part of commercial banks' capital structure." That means they can be "bailed in" or confiscated to save the megabanks from derivative bets gone wrong.

Rather than reining in the massive and risky derivatives casino, the new rules prioritize the payment of banks' derivatives obligations to each other, ahead of everyone else. That includes not only depositors, public and private, but the pension funds that are the target market for the latest bail-in play, called "bail-inable" bonds ...


In 2015

January 25: Hugh Campbell: Growth - A Reality Check
In the works: A discussion on GMO foods. Emergency Preparedness: Fire Chief Chris Dwyre expects to offer a City-sponsored talk later this spring.

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


Welcome to new City Council members

The new roster of City Councillors took their seats on December 1. All Councillors have been subscribed to this Transition Brockville newsletter to keep them informed of local sustainability concerns and developments.

SC meetings open to all

The TB Steering Committee meets at 7:00 pm on the second Monday of the month at Bud's on the Bay, 17 Broad Street. Our SC meetings are open. If you'd like to participate in some broad-ranging discussions on resilience and sustainability, please consider attending. The next SC meeting will be on January 12, 2015.

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

Brockville: Emissions drop still goal

Recorder and Times / Ronald Zajac / 21 November 2014
While they have to adjust their target upward, city officials say they remain serious about reducing Brockville's carbon footprint. "We've done a lot of work to reduce (it)," city manager of strategic initiatives Lesley White said, after councillors this week agreed to adjust Brockv...

The City of Cornwall Water Blueprint

St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences
The Blueprint is a Cornwall water brand that speaks to integrated urban water management and awareness. These issues are particularly acute given Climate Change challenges and the need for innovative and adaptive approaches. Initially, a key component of the Blueprint strategy is to address ...

Lake-effect snow and the climate change connection

MPR News / Paul Huttner / 19 November 2014
Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive. How can you have more snow, earlier in the season with a warming climate? An oversimplified explanation goes like this: • Warmer climate = warmer water in Lake Erie • Arctic warming = a wavier jet stream pushing unseasonably cold arctic air mass into th...

Creating regional resilience in New England

New England New Economy Transition / 15 March 2014
Our lives are currently lived within a global economic system that is unjust and unsustainable. Those of us involved in the Transition effort, along with many others in our region, understand that we are living in, and must respond to, an era of "new normals" caused by climate change and dee...

Renewed Québec-Ontario partnership leads to results

Government of Ontario / Press Release / 21 November 2014
Québec Premier Philippe Couillard and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne led a joint meeting of cabinet ministers in Toronto today and took action in several key areas including the signing of three sectoral MOUs and a declaration on the Francophonie [...] Leading from the centre of Canada...

Wynne drops main climate change requirement for Energy East

Globe and Mail / Adrian Morrow / 03 December 2014
Ontario and Quebec will not take into account the vast majority of climate change effects when deciding whether to support the Energy East pipeline. This marks a significant victory for TransCanada, which is proposing the $12-billion project, and for Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, who met with ...

Energy East will have 'negative' impact on natural gas consumers

Financial Post / Yadullah Hussain | 31 October 2014
Union Gas said it is disappointed with TransCanada Corp.'s decision to submit its Energy East application with the National Energy Board (NEB) without resolving its concerns with its natural gas customers. The Chatham-Kent, Ont.-based natural gas distribution company said it "remains con...

OEB won't probe Bruce nuclear overhaul

Toronto Star / John Spears / 27 November 2014
The multi-billion-dollar plan to overhaul six reactors at the Bruce nuclear generating station won't be submitted to the Ontario Energy Board for scrutiny. Nuclear critics had called for public examination of the project, expected to cost in the range of $15 billion. An energy official confirmed...

Without consent, our sustainable energy future looks dark

OSEA / Kristopher Stevens / 09 December 2014
Consent is important in any relationship, especially when your community is about to host a project in its backyard and when billions of ratepayer dollars are involved in secret negotiations. In Ontario's electricity sector two issues are demanding to be discussed. The first relates to knowing ou...

Smart grid report from Ontario Environmental Commissioner

Government of Ontario / 15 October 2014
Ontario's Environmental Commissioner today released Smart from Sunrise To Sunset, to alert the public and decision makers to the ability of the Smart Grid to change how they think about electricity. The report is a non-technical primer that describes how a 24-hour day will be different with the widesp...

Ontario's LTEP: A One Year Review

Ontario Clean Air Alliance / 10 November 2014
Recommendations: The Government of Ontario can implement Conservation First, lower our electricity bills and create a more open and transparent energy decision-making process by taking the following actions: Pay electricity consumers up to the same price to conserve a kWh that it pays electri...

Wind turbines have little effect on home and farm values: study

National Post / Colin Perkel / 08 December 2014
Wind turbines generally have little effect on the value of nearby properties with possibly isolated exceptions, a recent study of thousands of home and farm sales has found. The surprising findings, published in the Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, come amid an already fiery debate ov...

Ontario to restrict use of pesticide linked to bee deaths

Globe and Mail / Eric Atkins / 25 November 2014
The Ontario government plans to restrict the agricultural use of a class of pesticides linked to the widespread declines in honeybees and other pollinators. The move is hotly opposed by the province's chemical and agriculture industries, which say neonicotinoid pesticides are vital tools to pr...

New guidelines to address firefighting problem with solar panels

Globe and Mail / Richard Blackwell / 25 November 2014
A year ago, fire trucks arrived on the scene of a blaze at a cheese and deli-meat distribution facility just outside of Philadelphia. But firefighters had to keep their distance because of worries that the thousands of solar panels on the roof were still generating power, putting them at risk...

Poll: Canada's climate change consensus confronts Keystone

Universite de Montreal / Press Release / 20 November 2014
Despite the fact that 81% of Canadians accept that temperature on Earth is increasing, Université de Montréal researchers have revealed that Canadians are generally misinformed about the science of climate change and are divided over the construction of new oil pipelines. The researcher...

60+ groups call for a climate review of Energy East

Yahoo Finance Canada / 11 December 2014
Today, over 60 environmental and community groups from across Canada sent a letter to Peter Watson, head of the National Energy Board, demanding that the NEB include climate change in its review of the Energy East project. This letter comes in addition to 60,000 messages sent from people all across Canada ...

To the Government of Canada: We are the Canadian Youth Delegation, supported by more than sixty environmental non-profits, labour groups, and youth organizations. We are youth from across Canada who are attending the upcoming UN international climate change negotiations (COP 20) in Lima, Peru. As we prepare for o...

Canada's acidic lakes are becoming 'jellified'

UPI / Brooks Hays / 19 November 2014
The acidification of lakes in Canada in recent decades, caused mostly by industrial pollution, is pushing freshwater habitat into "an entirely new ecological state," researchers say. As acid levels increase and calcium levels drop, lakes are finding themselves playing host to a proliferation of small jelly-li...

Project seeks to harness – and harvest – the force of Fundy

Globe and Mail / Jane Taber / 16 November 2014
Estimates are that 14 billion tonnes of water is funnelled through the passage with the incoming tide, and the central part of the province tilts slightly under the weight. The wall of water can rise as high as 16 metres, or five storeys. So strong are the tides that any new device has to be built t...

Hottest October and year-to-date on record globally: NOAA

Climate Progress / Joe Romm / 20 October 2014
It has been the warmest January-October on record and last month was the hottest October on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported Thursday. And while you wouldn't know it from the cold temperatures in large parts of this country, NOAA's State of the Climat...

Warmest oceans ever recorded

Science Daily / University of Hawaii - SOEST / 14 November 2014
"This summer has seen the highest global mean sea surface temperatures ever recorded since their systematic measuring started. Temperatures even exceed those of the record-breaking 1998 El Niño year," says Axel Timmermann, climate scientist and professor, studying variability of ...

Much of Antarctica now under threat of melt / 05 December 2014
Antarctica, the coldest place on Earth, may well seem impregnable to this warming. But like any other fortress, it has its vulnerable spots. In this case, a weak underbelly. For in study after study, we keep finding evidence that warm waters are rising up from the abyss surrounding the chill and frozen continen...

Our changing world, by the numbers

CTV News / Seth Borenstein / 02 December 2014
The numbers are stark. Carbon dioxide emissions: up 60 percent. Global temperature: up six-tenths of a degree. Population: up 1.7 billion people. Sea level: up 3 inches. U.S. extreme weather: up 30 percent. Ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica: down 4.9 trillion tons of ice. "Simply put, we are ...

Risk from extreme weather set to rise

BBC News / Roger Harrabin / 26 November 2014
The Royal Society warns that the risk of heatwaves to an ageing population will rise about ten-fold by 2090 if greenhouse gases continue to rise. They estimate the risk to individuals from floods will rise more than four-fold and the drought risk will treble. The report's lead author Prof Geor...

Peak oil and the cycle

Seeking Alpha / Brian Romanchuk / 10 December 2014
One of the things that are often misunderstood about "Peak Oil" is that it is not a prediction that oil prices will rise up in a straight line. Recent events have definitely thrown cold water on that interpretation. I will make a brief explanation why "Peak Oil" is not proven incorrect by the latest price swoon, and some comments on the economic effect of cheaper oil...

Pipeline alert from federal regulator is first of its kind

Inside Climate News / Elizabeth Douglass / 17 November 2014
Reversing oil and natural gas pipelines or switching the product they're carrying can have a "significant impact" on the line's safety and integrity–and "may not be advisable" in some cases, federal regulators told pipeline companies in a recent advisory. The alert is the first tim...

The coming blackout epidemic

Motherboard / Nafeez Ahmed / 17 November 2014
The paper published this September in Routledge's Journal of Urban Technology points out that 50 major power outages have afflicted 26 countries in the last decade alone, driven by rapid population growth in concentrated urban areas and a rampant "addiction" to high-consumption lifestyles depen...

Full scale of plastic in the world's oceans revealed

The Guardian / Oliver Milman / 10 December 2014
More than five trillion pieces of plastic, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 tonnes, are floating in the world's oceans, causing damage throughout the food chain, new research has found. Data collected by scientists from the US, France, Chile, Australia and New Zealand suggests a minimum of...

Pesticide-fueled toxic slugs are a nightmare for farmers

Motherboard / Becky Ferreira / 05 December 2014
It's long been known that neonicotinoids, the most widely used insecticides in the world, contribute to a host of environmental problems, including honey bee colony collapse disorder. But according to a study published Thursday in the Journal of Applied Ecology, neonicotinoids are harmful for ano...

The myth of human progress

Alternet / Chris Hedges / 25 November 2014
The human species, led by white Europeans and Euro-Americans, has been on a 500-year-long planet-wide rampage of conquering, plundering, looting, exploiting and polluting the Earth–as well as killing the indigenous communities that stood in the way. But the game is up. The technical and scientific forc...

Webinar series: The Case for Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Green Communities Canada / GCNews 854 / 17 November 2014
Green Communities Canada has launched a webinar series that gives you access to some of the leading Canadian voices on urban stormwater adaptation. "Sometimes it's most helpful to hear directly from the experts," explains Clara Blakelock (right), GCC Coordinator of Water Programs....

Interested in growing your own vegetables? Starting in January, Athens Garden Club will host a workshop series on vegetable gardening, presented by master gardener Jeremy Dutton. Jeremy is head gardener at the successful community garden in Perth, and an experienced market gardener. See UPCOMING EVENTS for details.

10 reasons why you feel so good in nature

EcoWatch / Kris Abrams / 26 November 2014
Earth, rivers, mountains and trees! Silent canyons, babbling creeks and growing green gardens! If you spend time in nature, you've probably noticed that you feel happier out there than in here. But why? One of the better known theories, the "biophilia hypothesis," suggests that we love nature be...

Solar-powered emergency lighting

Mother Earth News / Steve Sorell / December 2014/January 2015
Ice storms frequently come through our area, so I wanted affordable emergency lighting in case of a power outage. I settled on a 3-watt LED light bulb, wired to a 12-volt, 8-amp-hour lead-acid battery. The light was $32 and the battery was $20. The battery will run for about 32 hours ...

How to commute by bike in winter

Mother Earth News / Rails-to-Trails Conservancy / 14 February 2013
After an awesome spring, summer and fall of bike commuting, I, too, was worried that winter would put the kibosh on what had become a really enjoyable part of my day. Not that I was worried about the cold, so much. What I really didn't want to do was have to buy a whole rack of b...

82 Sustainable gardening tips

Mother Earth News / Shelley Stonebrook / October/November 2011
Most gardeners have sustainability on their minds. After all, growing your own food is a huge step toward leading a sustainable lifestyle. Organic, chemical-free methods are inherently more sustainable – for human health, wildlife, the soil and the water supply – than non-organic...

Don't give up on composting this winter!

REAL Update / December 2014
The whole composting process really slows down over the winter months, often completely freezing up, but that doesn't mean you have to stop adding fresh materials to your composting unit. Ideally you have stockpiled a few bags of leaves and can add some of these with each input of food scraps. You will be thankful y...

Sustainability of heating with wood

Mother Earth News / Andrew Jones / November 2014
Want to heat your rural home without gas or coal? In Wood Heat (Firefly Books, 2014), author Andrew Jones provides a useful guide to using wood to heat your home. Jones dissects the environmental and economical upsides and downsides of heating with wood while providing advice and instructions that...

By the year 2050, Canada can expect a 100% increase in wildfires. By the year 2050, Canada can expect 50% more ice storms, but 50% less snowfall across the prairies, leading to drought. By the year 2050, Canada can expect double the number of storms with heavy precipitation, with periods of drought in between. Fo...

Homemade bath products: Shampoo, deodorant and toothpaste

Mother Earth News / Hannah Kincaid / December 2014/January 2015
"People are exposed to cosmetics ingredients in many ways: breathing in sprays and powders, swallowing chemicals on the lips or hands, or absorbing them through the skin. Biomonitoring studies have found that cosmetics ingredients, such as phthalate plasticizers, paraben preserva...

  A year in the life of Earth's CO2

NASA Goddard / 17 November 2014
An ultra-high-resolution NASA computer model has given scientists a stunning new look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe.

  Emergency! This family is prepared, part 1

Peak Moment TV / 07 December 2014
"We base our emergency kit around our camping gear," says Tim Beale, showing us a carefully packed wheeled tote. His partner Ann Pacey lists essential areas to address, starting with financial records and ending with communications - including a plan to get back in touch with loved ones after an emergency. T...

  Crash Course, Ch. 24: The impacts of waste

Peak Prosperity / 05 December 2014
There are a hundred flashing red warning signs coming to us from the environment, the Earth, and all of its supporting ecosystems. Either we get off the 'growth at any cost' express train or we risk wrecking important, valuable, essential and beautiful species, ecosystems and support systems that we rely ...

  ARES: Using trains to store renewable energy

Big Picture Agriculture / 21 November 2014
Just like hydro power uses gravity to make energy, this rail car, a box full of rocks, and the power of gravity can be used to store energy from renewable power such as wind and solar, which could help stabilize the power grid.

  Depleting global aquifers

CBS 60 Minutes / Lesley Stahl / 16 November 2014
Lesley Stahl reports on disturbing new evidence that our planet's groundwater is being pumped out much faster than it can be replenished

  Flash floods hit Genoa

15 November 2014
Amazing flash flooding in Genoa in 2014, following days of heavy rain. One of the biggest rivers that flow through the Italian city of Genoa overflowed.

TB Steering Committee

Transition Brockville
WHEN: Monday, January 12, 7:00 pm
WHERE: 2nd Floor, Bud's on the Bay, 17 Broad Street, Brockville

Join the TB Steering Committee for in-depth discussions on many aspects of local sustainability and resilience.

Co-op Connections Kingston Conference

ON Co-op
WHEN: Wednesday, January 14, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
WHERE: Kingston District Shrine Club, 3260 Princess St, Kingston

Objectives: 1. Share co-op stories 2. Build knowledge and skills 3. Develop co-ops and co-op networks

More info:

"Head In the Tar Sands"

Transition Kingston
WHEN: Wednesday, January 14, 7:00 pm
WHERE: Ongwanada Resource Centre, 191 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston

A talk by Greenpeace energy expert Keith Stewart

Vegetable Gardening Workshop: Location Planning and Catalog Reading

Athens Garden Club
WHEN: Saturday, January 17, 9:00 am - 12 noon
WHERE: Athens District High School, Athens

First of a series of five workshops to be presented by master gardener Jeremy Dutton. Jeremy is head gardener at the successful community garden in Perth, and an experienced market gardener. He is also an excellent workshop presenter – knowledgeable, humorous and well-organized. A useful information handout package is included. The five workshops will focus on each stage of the vegetable gardener's year and the workshop dates are spaced to fit this sequence:

January 17: Location Planning and Catalog Reading
March: Starting Seeds, and Early, Mid and Late Garden Plans
April: Soil and Garden Preparation
May: Growing Techniques
September: Harvesting, Preserving, and Garden Cleanup

Cost: $15 per workshop, OR $60.00 for all 5 workshops.

To attend the January workshop, or the whole series, please register before December 20. First: contact Jean at 613-924-1944, or, to reserve your spot. Then: mail your payment to: Jean Brassington, Secretary, Athens Garden Club, Box 164, Athens, ON, K0E 1B0

Note: If you wish, you can register now for the first workshop and then register for subsequent workshops on January 17. There will be NO REFUNDS after payment, but substitutions are acceptable. Simply pass your ticket/receipt to some one else who would like to attend.

TB Steering Committee

Transition Brockville
WHEN: Monday, February 9, 7:00 pm
WHERE: 2nd Floor, Bud's on the Bay, 17 Broad Street, Brockville

Join the TB Steering Committee for in-depth discussions on many aspects of local sustainability and resilience.

Brockville Seedy Saturday

John Defayette and the Brockville Public Library
WHEN: Saturday, February 14, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Public Library, 23 Buell Street, Brockville

Seed exchange for veggies and ornamentals. Participation by Butler's Creek Community Garden, Athens Garden Club, City of Brockville and the Brockville Horticultural Society.

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.

Charles Darwin

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