Transition Brockville

Newsletter 101, 16 March 2015

January 2015: Mostly hotter

Robert Scribbler / 17 February 2015
Spatial assessment of hot and cold anomalies showed much of the world with hotter than normal temperatures. In the Northern Hemisphere, cooler temperatures were primarily confined to the Northeastern US, Eastern and Northeastern Canada, and a region through Baffin Bay, Eastern Hudson Bay, and the adjacent Canadian Archipelago.


The greening of a retail business

Westport grocer Neil Kudrinko has so greatly reduced his operation's greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage over the past decade that he's now winning awards from the North American grocery industry.

After tracking his family-owned grocery's energy consumption and refrigerant losses over several years, he set to work replacing inefficient compressors and heating/cooling systems, improved the insulation of the building envelope, and retrofitted his freezers with LED lights. Outside, he installed off-grid solar parking lot lighting and incorporated groundwater bioswales in the parking lot plan to capture and filter stormwater. He figures he's reduced his energy costs by a quarter and lowered his carbon emissions by 62 percent.

Not only good for the environment, Kudrinko views these initiatives as strategic protection against energy price shocks, legislative and regulatory changes, and shifting competitive forces in the marketplace. A role model for others in the grocery business, he's been winning awards since 2012 for his sustainability efforts, the most recent being the Generation Next Award from Canadian Grocer last November in Toronto.

Kudrinko will describe the ongoing transition of Kudrinko's Ltd. into a truly "green grocer" at our next presentation.

WHEN: Sunday, March 22, 2:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Public Library, 23 Buell Street, Brockville

Later Presentations

April 26: David Hahn, Wintergreen Renewable Energy Co-op: Investing in local renewables
May 24: Kurt Liebe, Ferme MiKu Valley Farm: Permaculture – What is it?

Also: Brockville Fire Chief Chris Dwyre has advised us that his department will be holding a public information session on Emergency Planning around the time of Emergency Preparedness Week, May 4 - 10. As well as standard household preparedness measures, we expect to learn about community-level response to the increasing risks of spills of diluted bitumen into our watersheds from breached pipelines and rail accidents as well as the movement of hazardous materials through the Seaway.

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


Action Item indicators

We continue the use of Action Item indicators in this issue of our newsletter. A click on the indicator will load a web page where you can take some action pertaining to that specific news item.

SC meetings open to all

The Transition Brockville 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 April 13, 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


LG Warden Gordon: "There is no global warming"

Brockville This Week / Nick Gardiner / 26 February 2015
Not only does the Warden question the "settled science" of climate change, he argues carbon taxes have failed badly where they have been attempted in Europe, where some countries are re-thinking policies that have curtailed development and taken money out of the pockets of hard-pressed indi...

Brockville eyed as e-car 'hub'

Recorder & Times / Ronald Zajac / 06 March 2015
McFarlane, who works in the high-tech sector, has owned a Chevy Volt since June, has become an advocate for that make, even helping sell them as a technical consultant. And this week he appeared before Brockville council's planning committee urging the city to set up more electric car char...

Finding safe passageways across the 401

A2A / Cameron Smith / December 2014
As the climate changes, it's going to become increasingly important for wildlife to be able to move to new areas, not only for the health of the creatures moving, but for ensuring that genetic diversity is maintained for each species. For the A2A Collaborative, this means there will have to be ways for wildl...

Smiths Falls' co-operative aspirations receive celebrity support

Inside Ottawa Valley / Stacey Roy / 18 February 2015
This week The Town That Grows organic food co-operative kicked off its online drive for committee members with a special message of support from Noam Chomsky, an American professor who Carol Anne Knapp credits as being one of the grandfathers of the workers' social justice movement. "T...

NewCare Farms building organic yogurt site

Eastern Ontario AgriNews / Vol. 39, No. 3 / March 2015
At least half a century has come and gone since a rural route in the Township of South Dundas was the address of an honest-to-goodness milk processing plant. But the Biemond family is well on its way to changing that, with an 8,200-square-foot yogurt-making facility rising on their certif...

Local food is key to local good for downtown Cobourg

Northumberland News / Dominik Wisniewski / 19 February 2015
While the proposed Victoria Market Collective is seeking support from the Town of Cobourg to secure a retail location downtown, its completion could have far-reaching benefits to the community. In exchange for the provision of space, be it purchased or re-purposed, and/or the donatio...

Peak Moment TV to broadcast shows in Potsdam area

North Country Now / 20 February 2015
How can we independently and interdependently provide for our own food, shelter, clothing, energy, transport, technology, commerce, communication, and spiritual well-being? Now in its seventh year locally, the Peak Moment TV programs explore locally reliant living for challenging times. Programs are underw...


Ontario's Municipal Energy Plan (MEP) program

Government of Ontario / 14 January 2015
Ontario is supporting local energy planning through the Municipal Energy Plan (MEP) program. Launched in 2013, the MEP program supports municipalities' efforts to better understand their local energy needs, identify opportunities for energy efficiency and clean energy, and develop plans to meet their goa...

Ontario makes a move to ban microbeads

Environmental Defense / 10 March 2015
Great news from Queen's Park yesterday! MPP Marie-France Lalonde introduced a private member's bill to ban the manufacture and sale of products with microbeads in Ontario. The ban would come into effect within two years of the bill passing. The proposal is not only overdue but makes a lot of sense. Pl...

The current waste management system is broken garbage is increasing, costs are sky-rocketing, and there is no incentive for producers to create less waste. Across Canada more than $1 billion of valuable materials are thrown away every year. The solution is Individual Producer Responsibility.

Keep Our Lakes Great

Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) / 30 October 2014
As the federal NDP Critic for the Great Lakes, I have taken particular interest in several issues that threaten this largest surface freshwater system on earth. In the past decade, several issues have become more and more prevalent when discussing the Great Lakes including: Algae Blooms ...


Conservatives look at geoengineering to stop global warming

The Straight / Travis Lupick / 26 June 2013
On June 5, 2012, then–Environment Canada deputy minister Paul Boothe convened a meeting to discuss geoengineering, according to documents posted online by Mike de Souza, a Postmedia national political reporter. Geoengineering, which has been advocated by Straight columnist Gwynne Dyer in the past,...

Feds quietly canvass provinces for climate change measures

Yahoo News Canada / Bruce Cheadle / 03 March 2015
Provincial governments confirm Environment Canada has been collecting greenhouse-gas reduction measures from across the country as the federal government works toward an end-of-March deadline to ante up for the summit in Paris. "Canada is actively preparing its intended nationally determined c...


First direct observation of CO2's increasing greenhouse effect

Science Daily / Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory / 25 February 2015
The influence of atmospheric CO2 on the balance between incoming energy from the Sun and outgoing heat from Earth (also called the planet's energy balance) is well established. But this effect has not been experimentally confirmed outside the laboratory until now. The resea...

California has about one year of water left

LA Times / Jay Famiglietti / 12 March 2015
Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in eme...

Baked Alaska: canary in the climate coal mine?

Slate / Eric Holthaus / 11 March 2015
Alaska is heating up at twice the rate of the rest of the country–a canary in our climate coal mine. A new report shows that warming in Alaska, along with the rest of the Arctic, is accelerating as the loss of snow and ice cover begins to set off a feedback loop of further warming. Warming in wintertime has been the most dra...

How we've turned the eastern Pacific into a death trap

Robert Scribbler / 27 February 2015
The 2013 event was so severe that in the end 70 percent of the 50,000 sea lion pups born that year had died. The 2014 event was rather less severe, accounting for 'only' twice the normal loss rate. But 2015 has so far been so deadly that even 2013's staggering number of sea lion pup losses could be excee...

Land, ocean carbon sinks weakening, making climate action urgent

Climate Progress / Joe Romm / 12 March 2015
We are destroying nature's ability to help us stave off catastrophic climate change. That's the bombshell conclusion of an under-reported 2014 study, The declining uptake rate of atmospheric CO2 by land and ocean sinks, as coauthor Dr. Josep (Pep) Canadell recently explained to me. Based on actu...

Arctic sea ice 'thinning dramatically,' study finds

Live Science / Laura Geggel / 04 March 2015
Arctic sea ice – the ice that freezes and floats on Arctic waters – is thinning at a steadier and faster rate than researchers previously thought, a new study finds. Using modern and historic measurements, the researchers got an extensive view of how the thickness of Arctic sea ice has changed o...

Changes in the pattern of the jet stream are halting severe weather patterns for days, or even weeks, and increasing the likelihood that large loss events will occur, according to a report released by Munich Re on Tuesday. Intense flood events, longer crop-destroying droughts and more destructive winter storms...

Agriculture's consumption of earth's resources

Washington Park Profile / Greg Wright
While chemical pesticides have received most of the publicity, it is my opinion, based on my own experiences and research, that agriculture's misuse of resources is as serious a threat to our future as climate change. In 1900 the average farm raised five crops. Today that number is barely over one. There a...

Who controls our food?

New Internationalist / Nick Dearden / 04 March 2015
A new report from Global Justice Now, From The Roots Up, shows that not only can small-scale organically produced food feed the world, but it can do so better than intensive, corporate-controlled agriculture. As a matter of fact, it already is feeding millions of people. In Tigray, Ethiopia,...

Can we earn a living on a living planet?

On the Commons / Chuck Collins / 17 February 2015
Is there a program that grows the good parts of the economy–and raises the standards of living in communities that have been excluded from prosperity–while shrinking the destructive growth? Can we redefine growth in a way that could satisfy the job seekers and the planet savers? I spent mu...

The degrowth alternative

Great Transition Initiative / Giorgos Kallis / February 2015
Advocates of degrowth refrain from offering any one blueprint to replace today's growth-centric "free" market. Their objective is to open up conceptual space for imagining and enacting diverse alternative futures that share the aims of downscaling affluent economies and their mat...

Bigger than science, bigger than religion

Yes! Magazine / Richard Schiffman / 18 February 2015
It is no secret that the Earth is in trouble and that we humans are to blame. Just knowing these grim facts, however, won't get us very far. We have to transform this knowledge into a deep passion to change course. But passion does not come primarily from the head; it is a product of the heart. And the heart is not aroused by the bare facts alone. It nee...

Individuals, businesses, and communities can respond to the challenges of our changing climate. This framework can guide you through the process of planning and implementing resilience-building projects. Every community and business faces some risk of climate-related disruptions to their operations. For some, it's not a question of "if" bu...

7 reasons bikes are for everyone–not just "cyclists"

Yes! Magazine / Christine Grant / 24 October 2012
Traveling the world's great bicycle cities, I fell in love with cycling. The ease, safety, convenience… (dreamy sigh) But as my six-month love affair came to an end, I began to realize the reason for my infatuation: cities like those in Denmark and Holland simply make themselves lovable. They...

The myth about warming up your car on a cold day

Globe and Mail / Peter Cheney / 26 February 2015
Extended-idle warm-ups were once encouraged due to lubrication technology. Old-school oils didn't work well in low temperatures. Modern synthetic oils can flow well at temperatures as low as - 40 C. Use remote starters wisely. Many drivers start their engines far ahead of time so their car wi...

First-aid tips for gardeners and farmers

Mother Earth News / Linda B White, MD / April/May 2015
Hauling compost, digging garden beds and wrangling ornery livestock are just a few of the farm and garden tasks that can be hard on your body. Even the healthiest homesteaders are susceptible to bee stings and sunburns. Fortunately, your kitchen and backyard are probably already stocked with...

The many benefits of grass-fed meat

Mother Earth News / Richard Manning / April/May 2015
This story hinges on two numbers: 5.0 and 6.8. At 5.0 – the figure that dominates today's industrial food chain – both you and the environment suffer. For humans, it means more obesity, more diabetes, more heart disease, more weakened immune systems, more feeble brains and dementia, m...

The power of barter and seeing holistic value

Mother Earth News / John Atwell / 15 February 2015
Before the advent of the coin in any realm, there was barter. A return to this most ancient of transactional activity between people is one of the more interesting and profitable aspects of the finances of simpler living in the current era, in my opinion. "What is so special about trading goo...

Remembering how to weep

On Being / Zubin Mistri / 22 February 2015
Grief is one of the most natural and universal experiences we have as human beings. Our hearts ache when we lose what we love. Of course, we're heartbroken by deaths, changes in relationships, illness, and the myriad transitions of life. Beyond these, we're all wounded by the widespread destruction ...

Choosing voluntary poverty

Mother Earth News / Kyle Chandler-Isacksen / 21 January 2015
Being poor, for most folks, is truly awful. But that is very different from choosing voluntary poverty. Voluntary Poverty needs to be a lifestyle choice rooted in care for the earth and each other with a great awareness of our serious global challenges and our roles in causing them. An...

Peak Moment TV / 08 March 2015
"Nature has been healing itself for a very long time, [but] there are ways for us as human beings to ally with the different organisms and try to facilitate their work." Leila Darwish, author of Earth Repair, provides a grassroots guide to healing toxic and damaged landscapes. She talks about involving the loca...

NOAA / 21 January 2015
Decades ago, the majority of the Arctic's winter ice pack was made up of thick, perennial ice. Today, very old ice is extremely rare. This animation tracks the relative amount of ice of different ages from 1987 through early November 2014. Video produced by the team, based on data provided by Mark Tschudi.

Talk Nation Radio / David Swanson / 25 February 2015
Richard Heinberg discusses our renewable future and how to get there. He is the author of ten books including Snake Oil (2013), The End of Growth (2011), Peak Every...

Currently humanity is on the worst case scenario of RCP 8.5 which takes us to 2C warming by mid century and 4C warming by the end of the century. As Professor Schellnhuber, from Potsdam Institute for Climate Research (PIK) said, "the difference between two and four degrees is human civilisation."

Holistic eco-nomics

Schumacher College / Fraser Durham / 2009
A short film about the interconnected issues of money, growth, poverty and climate change.

Peak Moment TV / 23 February 2015
Farm coordinator Scott Behmer gives us a tour of a derelict lot transformed into a small urban farm. In an area with widely diverse demographics, work trade volunteers help in the garden and take vegetables home with them. The children's garden has "See, Touch, Taste, and Mint" beds with plants highlighting ...

Verge Permaculture / 03 February 2015
What does permaculture look like in real life? Nestled in southeast Calgary is one of the city's original thriving permaculture projects - our home!

U.S. Naval War College / 03 February 2014
Author, researcher and marine biologist Jeremy Jackson gave a presentation titled "Sea Level Rise is Dangerous" at U.S. Naval War College (NWC), Feb. 3, addressing environmental changes and the implications of those events on people. "The threats to the ocean life that I love are, if anything, ...


Burritts Rapids Renewable Energy Association AGM

WHEN: Thursday, March 26, 7:30 pm
WHERE: Burritts Rapids Community Hall, Burritts Rapids

The Ontario Power Authority recently increased its Feed-In Tariff rate for purchasing hydro power from 13 cents to 24 cents per kWh, clearly making our community project financially viable, with the potential for a significant return to the village. This is attracting financiers, developers and turbine providers who would all like to work with our community. As the BRREA Board negotiates the permits, partnerships and contracts needed to make this project a reality, we need to know that the community is still behind us and that we are addressing all issues from interested people. The AGM will provide an opportunity for the community to voice their support and their concerns about the project.

When BRREA is awarded a Feed-In Tariff contract we will initiate an environmental assessment that will provide a key opportunity to address issues identified at this AGM and allow for further community input and participation. The AGM will include an election of Board members in accordance with the BRREA bylaws.

Nominations for Board members should be seconded by a BRREA member and forwarded to Muffy Koch, Chair of the Nomination Committee, at, by 24 March 2015. BRREA members are eligible to vote in this election. If you wish to become a member before the AGM, please ask them to send their name, physical address and request to Marianne Fizet at by 24 March 2015.

Kingston: GreenProfit Conference 2015

WHEN: Monday, March 30, 7:30 am - 4:30 pm
WHERE: Four Points by Sheraton, Kingston
  • Leading speakers and analysts from throughout the sustainable energy sector
  • A full program featuring six panel sessions and two keynote presentations
  • The presentation of the SWITCH Sustainable Energy Awards
  • Great opportunities to network and generate leads for your business
More info:

Transition Brockville Steering Committee

Transition Brockville
WHEN: Monday, April 13, 7:00 pm
WHERE: 2nd Floor, Bud's on the Bay, 17 Broad Street, Brockville

Sit in on a Steering Committee meeting for in-depth discussions on many aspects of local sustainability and resilience.

Athens: Soil and Garden Preparation

Athens Garden Club
WHEN: Saturday, April 25, 9:00 am - 12 noon
WHERE: Athens District High School, Athens

Third 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.

Earth Day

WHEN: Wednesday, April 22

Earth Day's 45th anniversary could be the most exciting year in environmental history. The year in which world leaders finally pass a binding climate change treaty. The year in which citizens and organizations divest from fossil fuels and put their money into renewable energy solutions. These are tough issues but we know what's at stake is the future of our planet and the survival of life on earth. On Earth Day we need you to take a stand so that together, we can show the world a new direction. It's our turn to lead. So our world leaders can follow by example.

More info:

Athens: Growing Techniques

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

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

Details are shown above.

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.