Transition Brockville

Newsletter 099, 19 January 2015


2014 is the hottest year on record

Climate Progress / Joe Romm / 16 January 2015
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) officially declared 2014 the hottest year in 134 years of record keeping.

NOAA reported that this was the hottest December on record and that 2014 as a whole was 1.24F (0.69C) above the 20th century average: "This was the highest among all years in the 1880-2014 record, surpassing the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.07F (0.04C)."

As the NOAA data makes clear, human-caused global warming has seen no "hiatus." In fact, as the top figure shows, the decade of the 2010s is on track to be the hottest decade on record. The 1980s were the hottest decade on record at the time. Then they were beat by 1990s, which in turn were beat by the 2000s for the title of hottest decade. Each decade this century is likely to be the hottest on record – unless we slash carbon pollution ASAP...


A reality check on world growth: It's no holy grail

As the price of oil tumbles, the stock markets gyrate, and more and more dire news about climate change enters the mainstream media, people can feel hard-pressed to keep up with events and see them in a global perspective. Why is it all happening? Why can't the economy grow like it used to?

Hugh Campbell, a founder of Transition Brockville, will take a comprehensive look at the challenges facing us in his talk "Growth – A Reality Check," at the next Transition Brockville presentation.

Campbell has been exploring the state of the world since his retirement in 2007 from a career spanning electronic engineering, production management and international development. He and other Brockvillians formed Transition Brockville, whose mandate is to explore the larger trends affecting the global community and to consider how our own families and communities can best deal with those trends.

In his talk, Campbell will be focusing on energy (particularly fossil fuels), the environment and the economy, sometimes called the three E's.

"I'll demonstrate that compound growth (or exponential growth) is not entirely the golden grail that our financial planners and economists have led us to believe it is," Campbell says. He will show that we've reached the point in many cases where growth – and change – happens rapidly. He will also point out how compound growth is ultimately unsustainable on a finite planet with finite resources.

"Great changes are now inevitable for all of us who in our lives have only known growth in the economy and in material well-being," says Campbell. "There are productive ways households and communities can mitigate those changes, and ways to adapt to them. But understanding the terrain is essential if we're to navigate through it."

WHEN: Sunday, January 25, 2:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Public Library, 23 Buell Street, Brockville

Later Presentations

February 22: Bob Thomson: The Degrowth Movement
March 22: [TBA]

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


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 February 9, 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

Angels spreading their wings in Brockville

City of Brockville / 12 December 2014
The year 2014 concludes with one of the stronger periods for Angel investment for local community projects. Angel investment is considered "patient equity capital" for local community projects requiring investment to complete commercial bank financing. The Brockville Angel Network is comprised of approx...

SLC Cornwall e-waste challenge to Brockville and Kingston

SLC Green Team / Press Release / 16 December 2014
Cornwall's St. Lawrence College Green Team is challenging St. Lawrence campuses in Brockville and Kingston to compete in a Tri-Community Electronic Waste Recycling Challenge to see which community can raise the most electronic waste over the course of the next two months. The Tri-Community Elec...

[ TB: Is it true that no-one at SLC Brockville has picked up on this challenge? ]

Big Brock Trail boost

Recorder & Times / Ronald Zajac / 17 December 2014
Brock Trail supporters are feeling more than a little of that Christmas glow after getting an unexpected present recently. The volunteer committee working to expand and upgrade the citywide trail applied to the Carolyn Sifton Foundation hoping for a $50,000 grant. They learned recently...

Kingston identifying where energy is being consumed across city

Kingston Whig-Standard / Paul Schliesmann / 05 January 2015
Kingstonians pay about $600 million a year for energy, largely petroleum products used by individuals, businesses and governments for heating and transportation. Overall, the city emits 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide due to that energy use. The statistics are found in a report...

Open letter to Premier Wynne re: Bruce Power deal

Ontario Clean Air Alliance / 13 January 2015
Dear Premier Wynne: Since December 2013 the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and Bruce Power have been secretly negotiating a long-term electricity supply contract to finance the re-building of the aging Bruce B Nuclear Station reactors. If this deal is signed it will be largest private sector co...

Carbon pricing coming to Ontario, strategy to be unveiled this year

Globe and Mail / Adrian Morrow / 13 January 2015
The Ontario government is closing in on a plan to put a price on carbon emissions after nearly seven years of delays. The Liberals have promised to make corporations and consumers pay for burning carbon – an effective way to battle global warming – since 2008, but have put off making a deci...

OEB grinches out on energy conservation

Ontario Clean Air Alliance / Angela Bischoff / 06 January 2015
Just before Christmas, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) quietly undermined one of the most important climate change initiatives in Ontario by putting arbitrary limits on programs designed to help us use natural gas more efficiently. It's never good news when a regulatory decisio...

Open message from the President and CEO of IESO

Independent Electricity System Operator / 05 January 2015
With the beginning of a new year, comes the opportunity for a new perspective on the path ahead. For us, this is especially true in 2015. On January 1st, employees of the Independent Electricity System Operator and Ontario Power Authority came together to create a united organization...

The Avocado Project - Waterloo's newest sustainable co-op

On Co-Op / Newsletter / 11 January 2015
Break out the guacamole! The Avocado Project - a new retail co-operative that aims to make sustainable shopping a breeze - will be coming soon to the Waterloo region. The co-op connects enthusiasts with products that are well-designed, easy to use and focused on sustainable living. Their ultimate goal ...

Northern solar bonds to bring investment to Timiskaming

ON Co-op / Newsletter / 16 December 2014
A group in Timiskaming, Ontario is hoping to appeal to green investors with an interest in community energy. Green Timiskaming is a nonprofit co-operative energy project that plans to raise money through selling Northern Solar Bonds, a way for co-operatives to raise money and invest in local projects. Mos...

Climate change and fertilizer runoff spell bad news for Lake Erie

PBS NewsHour / Rebecca Jacobson / 07 January 2015
It's been a rough four years for Lake Erie. In 2011, there was a record-setting algae bloom on the lake. The following year Lake Erie experienced its largest ever "dead zone," an area of oxygen-depleted water that chokes fish and plants. Then in August 2014 a toxic algal bloom near Toledo, ...

Ontario is taking action to strengthen bird, bee, butterfly and other pollinator health to ensure healthy ecosystems, a productive agricultural sector, and a strong economy. The province will consult on a proposal to reduce the use of neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed. If approved, new rules on the use of n...

Call for Action: Neonicotinoids pesticide

Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) / 15 December 2014
If you haven't sent a one-sentence e-mail to the Ontario government supporting a ban on bee-killing "neonic" pesticides, please take a moment to do so now. All you need to do is: Click on THIS LINK Click on the "submit comment" button on the right-hand side Write a comment...

Life on Earth at risk, say scientists

The Guardian / Oliver Milman / 15 January 2015
Humans are "eating away at our own life support systems" at a rate unseen in the past 10,000 years by degrading land and freshwater systems, emitting greenhouse gases and releasing vast amounts of agricultural chemicals into the environment, new research has found. Two major new studies by an...

Indiana Jones of collapsed cultures: Western civilization is a bubble

PBS NewsHour / Ted Fischer, Arthur Demarest / 22 December 2014
Arthur Demarest: No society can sustain unlimited growth – none ever has. History demonstrates that expectations of infinite growth lead to collapse. Unfortunately, millennia of evidence also indicates that needed attempts to stabilize such societies run counter to the expectations...

More than half of all industrial CO2 pollution emitted is from '88 on

Union of Concerned Scientists / Peter Frumhoff / 15 December 2014
The GCP estimates that in 2014, we will release a record 37 gigatons (GT) of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from burning coal, oil, and natural gas, and manufacturing cement. That's a 2.5 percent increase over emissions in 2013, itself a record year. This brings the total indu...

Rate of carbon emission at more than 30 billion tons of CO2 each year vs the PETM – which was the most recent hothouse extinction 55 million years ago. It's enough to push an atmospheric temperature rise on the scale of a mass extinction over the course of decades rather than millenia. It's also worth not...

Satellite provides sharper picture of shrinking ice sheet

Climate News Network / Tim Radford / 27 December 2014
Greenland's ice sheet shrank by an average of 243 billion tonnes a year between 2003 and 2009 – a rate of melting that is enough to raise the world's sea levels by 0.68 mm per year. In what is claimed as the first detailed study, geologist Beata Csatho, of the University of Buffalo i...

Critical glaciers melting under "continuous warming": Study

Common Dreams / Nadia Prupis / 24 December 2014
Glaciers in China are disappearing quickly, an environmental institute in Lanzhou confirmed on Wednesday. Scientists with the Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute conducted a lengthy survey of southern glaciers, which provide vital drinking water to India, and f...

Warming oceans less able to store organic carbon, study suggests

The Carbon Brief / Robert McSweeney / 06 January 2015
The oceans' ability to store carbon may be reduced by global warming, a new study suggests. The research finds that warmer ocean temperatures limit how much organic carbon is being transported into the deep ocean. This could cause a positive feedback loop, the authors suggest, with carbon ...

Pope Francis's edict will anger deniers and US churches

Observer / John Vidal / 27 December 2014
He has been called the "superman pope", and it would be hard to deny that Pope Francis has had a good December. Cited by President Barack Obama as a key player in the thawing relations between the US and Cuba, the Argentinian pontiff followed that by lecturing his cardinals on the need to clean up Vat...

Scientists say fossil fuels must go untapped

National Geographic / Christina Nunez / 07 January 2015
Canada's tar sands need to stay in the ground, the oil beneath the Arctic has to remain under the sea, and most of the world's coal must be left untouched in order to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2C, a study released Wednesday says. The research, unlike other bleak...

Arthur Berman on the break-even price of U.S. shale plays

OilPrice / James Stafford, Arthur Berman / 04 January 2015
We've done real work to determine the EUR (estimated ultimate recovery) of all the wells in the core of the Bakken Shale play, for example. It's about 450,000 barrels of oil equivalent per well counting gas. When we take the costs and realized oil and gas prices that the companies in...

Peak oil and peak water explained

Truthloader / 23 July 2013
Peak oil is something you often hear, but have you ever heard of peak water? Water shortages, and more specifically, fresh water shortages, are likely to become more commonplace in the future. Truthloader took a look into the two terms and what they mean.

Corn ethanol: A lump of coal in your Christmas stocking

Environmental Working Group / Mike Lavender / 18 December 2014
Earlier this week, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a prestigious scientific journal, published a paper by University of Minnesota researchers Christopher W. Tessum, Jason D. Hill and Julian D. Marshall, which concluded that, "powering vehicles with corn ethanol… increases monetized environmental health impacts by 80 percent or more relative to using conventional gasoline"...

We are in perpetual denial about our food, but meat is bad news

The Guardian / George Monbiot / 16 December 2014
What can you say about a society whose food production must be hidden from public view? In which the factory farms and slaughterhouses supplying much of our diet must be guarded like arsenals to prevent us from seeing what happens there? We conspire in this concealment: we don't want to know. We...

How to work: the most important self-reliance skill ever

Mother Earth News / Steve Maxwell / February/March 2015
In my experience, most dreams don't die because of a lack of practical homesteading skills or passion, but rather become casualties of the failure of knowing to work efficiently to get enough of the right kind of work done. Bills pile up, gardens don't get planted, roofs continue to le...

Cut your grocery bill in half

Mother Earth News / Barbara Pleasant / February/March 2009
Everybody eats, and what you eat is getting more expensive all the time. By September 2008, food prices had risen 13 percent in just three years – to about $165 a week, or $8,580 a year on average for two-income families that include two to three people. Can you really cut a grocery bi...

8 steps to cut out wasted energy in the kitchen

Mother Earth News / Jennifer Tuohy / 23 December 2014
The kitchen is one of the largest consumers of energy in the home. If you are looking to reduce your carbon footprint, the room where you cook is a great place to start. Of course you've probably already read all about buying Energy Star appliances and the money and energy savings those offer...

Best grow lights for starting seeds indoors

Mother Earth News / Barbara Pleasant / 07 November 2014
Suitable supplemental lighting is better for starting seeds than the light coming through most windows would be. A setup of lights will allow you to grow a much wider range of vegetable varieties, which will make your garden even more interesting and fun. Until recently, most seed starters ...

Community energy: Power from the people

Mother Earth News / Greg Pahl / February/March 2015
When you pay for the energy you use, where does your money go? Chances are it goes out of town, out of state, or even out of the country. Wouldn't it be great if you could keep your energy dollars close to home, help create new local jobs and business opportunities, and provide greater energy...

7 steps toward shared prosperity

Yes! Magazine / Fran Korten / 10 December 2014
I have been struck that even as the New Economy movement diversifies, its advocates are converging regarding the actions to take, including: Place ownership in the hands of real people, not globalized corporations; Localize control of food, energy, land, housing, retail; Ad...

Charlene Chu, a senior partner at Autonomous Asia, talks about the outlook for China's banks and economy. She speaks with Angie Lau on Bloomberg Television's "First Up."

  John Lanchester in conversation with Michael Lewis

Commonwealth Club of California / 14 October 2014
John Lanchester, Author, How to Speak Money: What the Money People Say – And What It Really Means, in conversation with Michael Lewis, Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair; Author, Moneyball, Liar's Poker and F...

  Techno fix - Why technology won't save us or the environment

People Power Television / 13 August 2014
You might not want to pin your hopes on nanotechnology, genetic engineering, or miracle drugs, says Michael Huesemann, author of Techno-Fix: Why Technology Won't Save Us Or the Environment. As much as we'd like to believe that technological innovation will let us magically continue our lifestyle a...

  It's time to become more resilient and more engaged

Peak Prosperity / 15 June 2014
Things are changing quickly and nobody knows how much time we have before the next economic, ecological or energy related crisis erupts. Nobody knows when, but we do have a pretty good idea of what is coming.

  Losing our Energy Slaves

Jack Alpert / 16 October 2014
"Houston, we have problem."

  Abrupt climate change: Past, present, and future

AGU Fall Meeting / December 2014
Climate is changing as humans put more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. With CO2 levels today around 400ppm, we are clearly committed to far more climate change, both in the near term, and well beyond our children's future. A key question is how that change will occur. Abrupt climate changes a...

  Storms of Right Now

The Radio Ecoshock Show / 17 December 2014
Dr. James Hansen wrote his pivotal book Storms of My Grandchildren. But in 2012, the Atlantic experienced the largest storm ever recorded. It was Hurricane Sandy, the most expensive storm ever, causing billions of dollars in damage. Manhatt...

  Bill Moyers' last show: The Children's Climate Crusade

Moyers & company / 01 January 2015
The new legal framework for this crusade against global warming is called atmospheric trust litigation. It takes the fate of the Earth into the courts, arguing that the planet's atmosphere – its air, water, land, plants and animals – are the responsibility of government, held in its trust to insur...

British Columbians, brace yourselves for a possible mass migration of Californians to our coastline. According to several scientists, the Pacific Northwest is one of the safest places to live as far as climate change is concerned. [ SOURCE ]

More Canadians are riding bicycles than ever before, but did you know that riding your bike in Canada is now almost as heavily regulated as driving your car? Whether you are one of more than 200,000 Canadians who commute by bike, the parent of a child with her first two-wheeler, a veteran racer, or a recreational rider, the chances ...

  Why is Japan's population so slender? Serious 'eating education'

CBC News / Danielle Nerman / 12 January 2015
In most Canadian schools, home economics class is an elective. In Japan, it's mandatory for boys and girls from Grades 5 to 12. Tadaharu Minamino was the first male home economics teacher in Osaka Prefecture. He says making every student take the class has changed Japanese society, for the bett...

  How to choose the best seeds for your garden

Mother Earth News / 27 December 2013
New year is the perfect time to start choosing the vegetables, herbs and fruit to grow in 2014 but working out which varieties are best for your garden can be daunting.

  Ten things learned living off-grid in Canada

The Tyee / Phillip Vannini, Jonathan Taggart / 29 December 2014
Our encounters with off-gridders young and old, far and near and rich and poor inspired us to reflect not only about off-grid life in itself, but also to question our collective, modern, on-grid way of life. The lessons we learned are about disconnection as much as they are abou...

Native shrubs and trees of eastern Ontario

Athens Garden Club
WHEN: Tuesday, January 20, 7:00 pm
WHERE: Athens District High School, Athens

Internationally-known speaker and expert in his field, Dr. Richard Wilson, chief forestry pathologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, will talk about native shrubs and treeds of the eastern Ontario woodlands. Wilson will outline the perils those trees and shrubs face from disease, insect infestations and the effects of global warming. He will also offer advice on how individuals can preserve native forests. All are welcome to attend. Admission is free for OHA members; non-members are requested to make a donation of $3.00.

Industry Briefing: Focus on Energy

Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium
WHEN: Thursday, January 22, 8:30 am - 11:30 am
WHERE: Brockville Firehall Station 2, Laurier Blvd, Brockville

The EMC is hosting a free presentation "More Power to You! Energy Market Outlook, Cost Management Strategies and Carbon Footprint". Learn how small, medium and large manufacturers are utilizing energy purchasing strategies for better cost management, as well as how energy best practices are helping to turn efficiency into profitability, as they seek to "fill bigger shoes,with a smaller carbon footprint."

Registration by email is required. Contact Mohammed Abo El Ella at or Cori Hanna at

Watersheds Gala

Centre for Sustainable Watersheds
WHEN: Thursday, January 22, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
WHERE: Code's Mill on the Park, Perth

Celebrating the future of our freshwater featuring keynote address by freshwater advocate Maude Barlow, author, co-founder of the Blue Planet Project, and National Chairperson of the Council for Canadians. With Master of Ceremonies Michael Runtz, leading Canadian biology instructor at Carleton University, naturalist, nature photographer, and natural history author. Join us for an evening with water leaders, guests, drinks and hors d'oeuvres, celebrating the Future of our Freshwater in Canada!

Tickets: $50 per person (tax receipts are available for 50%). More info at or call 613-264-1244.

Webinar: Energy Management Systems

WHEN: Tuesday, January 27, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
WHERE: Online

Take advantage of this opportunity to hear first-hand how your company could benefit from adopting energy management systems (EnMS) best practices. To help you capitalize on the ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems Standard, the Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation (CIPEC) through Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan) Office of Energy Efficiency invites you to participate in this free Webinar. You will discover how Energy Management System best practices can help you improve energy performance, reduce energy costs and improve your competitiveness and marketability as an energy efficient leader.

Contact: Francis Charette, Program Officer, Industry and Transporation Division, Natural Resources Canada at 613-996-7744 or

26th Annual Winter Environmental Conference

Save the River
WHEN: Saturday, February 7, 9:30 am
WHERE: 200 Riverside Dr, Clayton, NY

Oil and Water – Oil shipments on the St. Lawrence River are an unpleasant reality. But, with increased extraction, volatile products – including heavy oil and bitumen from the Alberta tar sands, pressure to transport these cargoes on and near the River has also increased dramatically. With a totally different toxicity level and heavy enough to quickly sink to the bottom of the River, these cargoes pose new and alarming challenges to keeping the River safe. A panel of experts will examine the implications of moving these new, toxic cargoes on and near the St. Lawrence River.

No Small Threat - Last year's conference attendees learned first hand about how tiny plastic particles, called microbeads are making their way from over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and personal care products into our freshwater Lakes and Rivers. These tiny particles attract other chemical pollutants and are eaten by fish and move up the food chain. Following last year's conference a state-wide ban was proposed, but notenacted by the New York State legislature. Since then, high levels ofmicrobeads have been found in the St. Lawrence River. Researchers will present the most current information on microbead pollution and why it is such a persistent threat to our waters.

State of the River - Scientists from the US and Canadian sides of the River will present information on how invasive species and other changes to the aquatic environment are impacting the River's native fish and wildlife populations. Updates will be given on water levels and the status of our current efforts to get Plan 2014 implemented. And participants in our In the Schools program will share their experiences and how they are implementing the program in their classroom.

More info:

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.

Eco Farm Day - Healthy Land, Healthy People, Healthy Profits

Canadian Organic Growers Ottawa-St Lawrence-Outaouais Chapter
WHEN: Saturday, February 28, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
WHERE: Ramada Inn Cornwall, 805 Brookdale Avenue, Cornwall

A winter day full of food, friendship and inspiration – it's Eco Farm Day 2015 and it's a highlight of the season for organic (and organic-curious) farmers and gardeners in eastern Ontario and western Quebec. You'll start the day at the keynote presentation, Healthy Land, Healthy People, Healthy Profits: Holistic Management for Sustainable Agriculture, delivered by Tony McQuail and continue with interactive workshops, break for a feast of local foods, and have plenty of opportunity to visit with old friends and new, as well as investigate the products and services of the exhibitors and sponsors at our trade show.

The focus is on practical techniques and management skills that work in our area. Workshop topics include beekeeping, pork production from farrow to finish, open pollinated field corn, small-scale organic certification, root cellars, and more – all with an emphasis on sustainable organic stewardship of land, food and fibre.

Registration, including lunch, is $60 (before Feb 14) or $75 at the door, with a $10 discount for COG and Organic Meadows members. A sliding scale down to $25 is available for limited-income individuals.

More info:

Vegetable Gardening Workshop: Starting Seeds, and Early, Mid and Late Garden Plans

Athens Garden Club
WHEN: Saturday, March 28, 9:00 am - 12 noon
WHERE: Athens District High School, Athens

Second in a series of five workshops being 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 are focusing on each stage of the vegetable gardener's year and the workshop dates are spaced to fit this sequence:

January: 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

Registration: 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: 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.

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

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