Transition Brockville

Newsletter 104, 23 June 2015

Hot Pacific Ocean runs bloody with record Red Tide

Robert Scribbler / 17 June 2015
Red Tide. It's what happens when massive algae blooms cover vast regions of ocean. The biological density of the blooms is so great that they can paint the waters affected a shade of brown or red. A bloody color indicative of clouds of dangerous microbes just beneath the surface. And today, a massive Red Tide – perhaps the largest ever recorded – now stretches from California to Alaska along a vast stretch of the North American West Coast already reeling under the ongoing and dangerous impact of a massive ocean heating event that researchers have called 'The Blob.'


Manager of Two Rivers Food Hub gives overview of this local food facility

Many people these days want to eat more locally-grown food, but it's hard to find local foods in the local supermarket. As the popularity of eating local grows, local food producers have to find ways to connect with these discerning consumers.

Making this connection harder is the fact that most of the small and medium scale infrastructure needed for a complete local food system, such as storage, warehousing and processing, has been dismantled over the last several decades as nationwide, centrally operated chains took over the food industry.

Fortunately, local farmers are innovative and have been taking advantage of market gardens, CSAs (community supported agriculture schemes), and such regional food distribution systems as Wendy's Mobile Market, based in Lyndhurst.

Now there's another option with a new twist, the Two Rivers Food Hub (TRFH), located in the former Rideau Regional Centre in Smiths Falls. The TRFH provides the physical and logistical connection between local producers and larger, more varied, markets that demand high volumes of produce (for example, institutional buyers).

TRFH's general manager, Bruce Enloe, will give an overview of the food hub and its services at our next presentation.

WHEN: Sunday, June 28, 2:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Public Library, 23 Buell Street, Brockville

Later Presentations

July 11: Launch of TB Sustainability Library in partnership with Leeds County Books
August 22 (Saturday): TBA

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


TB Sustainability Library

Thanks to a grant from the Brockville and Area Community Foundation, Transition Brockville is establishing a new lending library of sustainability-related books in partnership with local bookseller Leeds County Books. The TB Sustainability Library will be launched at a special event during the DBIA's next Sidewalk Sale on Saturday, July 11. Details to follow.

Steering Committee update

  • Our Steering Committee has been undertaking a Strategic Review since April, the second such review since the group was formed eight years ago. We have completed a review of our Vision, Mission and Values statements, and expect to complete the process over the next month with new visual branding and a review of our Governance structure and Projects lists.

  • 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 July 13, 2015.

  • Members of the SC 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

The Two Rivers Food Hub is launching a pilot run of its new CSA* program for the summer/fall 2015 season. This year's Two Rivers CSA growers are all sustainable, small-scale farmers and market gardeners in Lanark and Leeds-Grenville. Members will receive a weekly box of fresh, seasonal vegetables, berries, fruit and other treats, and directly suppo...

The following lays out Ecology Ottawa's initial assessment of the City's proposed Term of Council Priorities, a document outlining what the mayor and council are planning to prioritize in the coming years. The Term of Council Priorities will guide city action on issues like healthy watersheds and clean water, tr...

Car-free condos planned for Ottawa

Ottawa Citizen / Matthew Pearson / 30 May 2015
Bruce Yateman says "the time has come" for Ottawa's first car-free condominium development. Following the lead of builders in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary, Yateman's company EcoCorner Inc. is proposing to build a nine-storey building in the ByWard Market that will offer no parki...

Alternatives to gas pedal

Cornwall Standard-Freeholder / Greg Peerenboom / 22 May 2015
Chances are good the city's air will be a little cleaner for at least one week, and hopefully beyond. That was the general feeling, as advocates rang in the Active Transportation Challenge on Friday at one of Cornwall's busiest intersections. Cornwall councillors Elaine MacDo...


Why isn't Ontario's power cheaper?

CBC News / 10 June 2015
Many Ontario residents complain about the high cost of electricity but people in northwestern Ontario face the added frustration of being situated right beside Manitoba, where our neighbours enjoy much lower prices. That cheap power is so close, we can almost hear it humming through the wires....

Ontario restricts use of neonicotinoids

Globe and Mail / Eric Atkins / 09 June 2015
The Ontario government has unveiled North America's first agricultural restrictions on a widely used class of pesticides blamed for the decline in bees and other pollinators. The controversial regulations aimed at reducing the use of neonicotinoid insecticides made by Bayer AG and Syngenta AG by 8...

Solar is the new oil. Again.

Ottawa Citizen / Kelly Egan / 08 June 2015
Solar power is threatening to save the world again. And this time, it really, really means it. Forget the energy evangelists for a moment – trust your own eyes. You can't swing a cat in this town without hitting a solar panel. Hydro Ottawa reports that, in just over five years, some 720 renewable...

The Making Ontario's Roads Safer Act (Bill 31) receives unanimous support

Share the Road / Jamie Stuckless / 03 June 2015
On Tuesday, June 2, The Making Ontario's Roads Safer Act (Bill 31) was unanimously passed at Queen's Park. This modernization to the Highway Traffic Act includes provisions that will make Ontario's roads safer for all road users, including people on bikes. Bill 31 includes: 1m safe passi...

This report examines five different electric vehicle (EV) growth scenarios to estimate potential greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions and illustrate how EVs can form a key part of Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan, which calls for GHG reductions of 15% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% below 1990 leve...


The G7 and its 85–year carbon pledge

CBC News / Kyle Bakx / 09 June 2015
At first glance, it's praiseworthy. The world's leading economies commit to decarbon the world economy. Some environmental groups were quick to call the G7 announcement "groundbreaking," although not everyone is as supportive and approving. "It's not groundbreaking. It is politically cheap to pledge a non-b...

Natural capital: What Canada stands to lose

The Tyee / Chris Wood / 04 June 2015
Wherever economists look, they find that nature's contribution to Canada's wealth exceeds what appears in conventional accounts. The value of climate-threatening carbon stored in Manitoba's 50 million hectares of boreal forest, for example, was assessed last year at $117 billion -- 10 times the province's ful...

UN panel calls Canada a climate laggard

Globe and Mail / Shawn McCarthy / 04 June 2015
A group led by former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan is condemning Canada as an international climate laggard that falls short even of impoverished Ethiopia in the effort to combat global warming. The African Progress Panel, co-chaired by Mr. Annan and former U.S. treasury secretary ...

New approach to protecting groundwater needed

Globe and Mail / David Mclaughlin, Ralph Pentland, Adèle Hurley / 28 May 2015
Groundwater is Canada's hidden natural resource. Rich with freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams, we take for granted that this same abundance lies beneath us. Yet, Canada's true knowledge of the state of its groundwater remains spotty and deceptive. This is no...

Fact Sheet: The TPP and Canada

CCPA / Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew / May 2015
Like all current free trade agreements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is only marginally about trade. A far greater part of the text – thousands of pages in more than 30 chapters – has to do with harmonizing regulations (financial, health and safety standards, etc.), reinforcing intellectua...


Humans creating sixth great extinction of animal species

The Guardian / Adam Vaughan / 19 June 2015
The modern world is experiencing a "sixth great extinction" of animal species even when the lowest estimates of extinction rates are considered, scientists have warned. The rate of extinction for species in the 20th century was up to 100 times higher than it would have been without man's impact...

In denial: We pursue endless growth at our peril

Peak Prosperity / Chris Martenson / 29 May 2015
Sadly, it's on the natural fronts that human denial seems to be at its most extreme. Hollywood visions and SciFi fantasies aside (where humans live in sealed capsules and subsist entirely on man-made foods), humans are 100% utterly dependent on the natural world for their survival. Food, water, oxy...

It's about love, and it's time we said so

The Guardian / George Monbiot / 16 June 2015
Who wants to see the living world destroyed? Who wants an end to birdsong, bees and coral reefs, the falcon's stoop, the salmon's leap? Who wants to see the soil stripped from the land, the sea rimed with rubbish? No one. And yet it happens. Seven billion of us allow fossil fuel companies to pu...

Latest global temperature data are breaking records

The Guardian / John Abraham / 15 June 2015
Just today, NASA released its global temperature data for the month of May 2015. It was a scorching 0.71°C (1.3°F) above the long-term average. It is also the hottest first five months of any year ever recorded. As we look at climate patterns over the next year or so, it is likely that this year will ...

A month of extreme weather around the world

AP / Seth Borenstein / 29 May 2015
Even for a world getting used to wild weather, May seems stuck on strange. Torrential downpours in Texas that have whiplashed the region from drought to flooding. A heat wave that has killed more than 1,800 people in India. Record 91-degree readings in Alaska, of all places. A pair of top-of-the-scale typhoo...

The great ice sheets are melting with increasing velocity. Melt ponds are forming over Greenland, then pounding heat down through the ice like the smoldering hammers of ancient Norse fire giants. Warming mid-depth ocean waters are eating away at the undersides of Antarctica's great ice shelves. Pools of fresh wa...

Suicide by pesticide

Peak Prosperity / Chris Martenson / 22 May 2015
While it's always possible that the bees are suffering 'death from a thousand cuts' -- where it's no one specific thing but rather a wide range of minor insults, ranging from loss of forage to herbicides to fungicides to pesticides -- there's actually quite strong evidence pointing to a s...

What's next for world's largest federation of worker-owned co-ops?

Yes! Magazine / Mary Hansen / 12 June 2015
A conversation with Mondragon President Josu Ugarte on the future of the mega-cooperative. Mondragon Corporation, a federation of 103 worker-owned cooperatives based in the Basque region of Spain, could provide an example. Unlike Nike, which is controlled by a small group of shareholders, ordinary wo...

The alternative currencies movement

Wall Street Journal / Jon Sindreu / 21 May 2015
One of the main contenders in this weekend's local elections in Barcelona, Spain's second-largest city, recently made an eye-catching pledge: To create a new currency for the metropolitan area. There have been a number of experiments with alternative currency in Europe, North America and els...

I've spent nearly a decade thinking about why people get stuck on climate change: stuck in debates, denial, what looks like indifference, and the awful discomfort that comes with the question "But what can I do?" In search of answers, I've interviewed dozens of experts in psychology, neuroscience, s...

Reviving the lost art of fixing / Ute Scheub / 12 June 2015
At the Repair and Service Center in Vienna, the long-term unemployed retrain to be "mechatronic engineers" and repair electronic devices. Founder Sepp Eisenriegler tirelessly initiates networks, projects, and cafés–all dedicated to the art of fixing things. Dishwasher baskets. Washing machine drum...

Grow berries that thrive where you live

Mother Earth News / Barbara Pleasant
Easy to grow, quick to bear and naturally resistant to disease, supernutritious berries are the best fruits to grow organically. Plus, they rarely lose their newly fertilized flowers to late spring freezes – a common heartbreak with tree fruits. Whether you want ready-to-pick fruit "candy" or juicy s...

Summer planting for fall and winter eating

West Coast Seeds / 12 June 2015
At this time of year when gardeners are busy weeding, thinning and watching their crops grow, it is also the perfect time to plant seeds for fall and winter harvest. In addition, certain quick growing vegetable seeds can be sown now to enjoy all season long. Imagine harvesting fresh greens from your garden for ...

Lightning safety

Environment Canada / 09 June 2015
Each year lightning kills approximately 10 Canadians and injures approximately 100 to 150 others. So, how do you keep yourself and your family safe when lightning strikes? Read the tips and information below and stay safe! The first and most important thing to remember is that if you can hear thunder, you are...

Examples of walkable communities

Mother Earth News / Jay Walljasper / 20 May 2015
It's mistakenly assumed that no one in smaller communities walks, except between their pick-up truck and the Walmart entrance. Actually, walking is far more common in smaller communities across the country than people think. In towns of 10,000-50,000, 8.5 percent of all trips are made on foot, s...

Online course: Sustainability in Everyday Life / Chalmers University
Daily headlines warn of new chemical dangers, species on the edge of extinction, global warming-- framing our planet as "at risk." Some people stop listening, others get alarmed, while some others want to learn more in hopes of making a difference in the world. In this free online course, you will learn how ...

7 great reasons to ride your bike to work

Green Action Centre / Dave Elmore
Want to ride your bike to work (or anywhere) but you're worried if it will work for you? You're not alone. There are many reasons why people who would like to ride have not yet turned that into action. Let's look at the great reasons why riding your bike to work and other places is a great decision and how...

Dal with rhubarb / Alaina Sullivan / 21 March 2012
Rhubarb, with its stringy stalk and rouge skin, is often paired with fruits, though it is actually a vegetable. Its tart flavor is typically tempered by sugar (think pie, compotes, etc.), but here it is incorporated into a savory dish that preserves its natural zing. The rhubarb stalks join a ...

Most useful tools for a half-acre homestead

Mother Earth News / Lloyd Kahn / June/July 2015
Summon the word "homestead" and you likely think of hardy farmers with 10 or more acres on which they keep livestock, grow and preserve a great deal of their own food, and fell trees to build their homes. But more modest-sized homesteads are more attainable for most people, and these smaller-sc...

The Guardian / Stephanie Kirchgaessner / 18 June 2018
The pope's 180-page encyclical on the environment, released on Thursday, is at its core a moral call for action on phasing out the use of fossil fuels. But it is also a document infused with an activist anger and concern for the poor, casting blame on the indifference of the powerful...

Earth Policy Institute / Lester R Brown / 12 June 2015
Excerpt from The Great Transition. In April 1954, top scientists gathered in Washington, D.C., to hear something new: voice and music broadcast by a solar-powered radio transmitter. Scientists at Bell Labs in New Jersey were demonstrating their invention, the first practical solar cell, wh...

Earth Policy Institute / Lester R Brown / 16 June 2015
Excerpt from The Great Transition. In the global transition from fossil fuels to wind and solar energy, wind has taken the early lead. Wind is abundant, carbon-free, and inexhaustible. It uses no water, no fuel, and little land. It also scales up easily and can be brought online quickly. L...

The Fifth Estate / 11 June 2015
For this issue of The Fifth Estate we hand you over to Australian cartoonist Stuart McMillen, a Canberra-based science communicator who has spent over 12 months drawing his 120-page comic Peak Oil, which was released earlier this month.

GRIT Magazine / Robin Mather / 24 January 2014
Bagged feed at a farm supply store currently costs about 35 cents per pound, so feeding one hen for a year will cost close to $30. The number of eggs each bird lays varies depending on her breed, age, and your management choices, but you should get 200 to 250 eggs per year. So, in the end, you'l...

Post Carbon Institute / Richard Heinberg / 23 April 2015
Can we keep growing the economy and avoid diminishing returns by switching energy sources? The transition to renewable solar and wind technology is both necessary and inevitable. But can it solve all our problems?

Unkle Adams / 18 November 2014
Powerful rap video on climate change.


Downtown Brockville Sidewalk Sale

WHEN: Saturday, July 11
WHERE: King Street, Brockville

Many great specials - Local Talent - Children's Jumpers - Martial Arts Demos - And MUCH MORE!

Launch of TB Sustainability Library

Transition Brockville
WHEN: Saturday, July 11, 2:00 pm
WHERE: Leeds County Books, 73 King Street West, Brockville

Thanks to a grant from the Brockville and Area Community Foundation, Transition Brockville is establishing a new lending library of sustainability-related books in partnership with local bookseller Leeds County Books. Join us for the launch of the TB Sustainability Library at this special event during the DBIA's next Sidewalk Sale.

Transition Brockville Steering Committee

Transition Brockville
WHEN: Monday, July 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.

Stop 'Energy East' Meeting

Ecology Ottawa
WHEN: Saturday, July 14, 7:00 pm
WHERE: Pretty Street Community Centre, 2 Pretty Street, Stittsville

The spectre of a project that would move tar sands oil across Canada and only a couple kilometres from Stittsville continues to hang over us all. Come to our information meeting and get informed! Agenda of the meeting
  • Description of the projects and its risks – there's no good reason to agree to this
  • Where we are at opposing this project - this news is encouraging!
  • What you can do to help stop it
  • Questions and answers, discussion

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.