Newsletter 106, 17 August 2015

Climate change nightmares already here

Rolling Stone / Eric Holthaus / 05 August 2015
Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people. In Washington state's Olympic National Park, the rainforest caught fire for the first time in living memory. London reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest July day ever recorded in the U.K.; The Guardian briefly had to pause its live blog of the heat wave because its computer servers overheated. In California, suffering from its worst drought in a millennium, a 50-acre brush fire swelled seventyfold in a matter of hours, jumping across the I-15 freeway during rush-hour traffic. Then, a few days later, the region was pounded by intense, virtually unheard-of summer rains. Puerto Rico is under its strictest water rationing in history as a monster El Niņo forms in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifting weather patterns worldwide.


Learn about permaculture at Mallorytown area Open House next weekend

Taking advantage of the last days of summer, our next presentation is an on-site Open House being hosted by Kurt Liebe and Michelle Morin at their permaculture-based Miku Valley Farm near Mallorytown.

This Open House is an opportunity for visitors curious about permaculture to learn from someone who's actually doing it. Permaculture is a design system for sustainable living and land use. The core of permaculture, Liebe suggests, is an ethic that works in harmony with nature. Given that ethic, a lifestyle tends to evolve that focuses on providing much of your own food and learning to return your "wastes" to the environment in a sustaining cycle that keeps the land nourished and productive.

"We're excited to welcome members of Transition Brockville and the general public to this event," Liebe says. "We'll be here from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days and will be having informal tours as folks arrive. We will schedule a more comprehensive formal tour at 1 p.m. each day." Picnic tables will be available to visitors, and farm produce may be on sale as well.

Like thousands of permaculturists the world over, Liebe and Morin want to make the world a little better by working with nature, not against it. They are taking a long term, multi-generational approach to building the productivity of the farm so that it will benefit the farm's future stewards and the local community over many generations.

"Michelle has put together the elements of an urban garden using permaculture," says Liebe, "to show people how they can use permaculture elements wherever they live, even in an apartment building."

WHEN: Saturday, August 22 and Sunday, August 23, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. - rain or shine
WHERE: Miku Valley Farm, 130 Quabbin Hill Road, Mallorytown [ Google Map ]

To reach the farm from the east, take Mallorytown Road (401 exit 675) north to the village of Mallorytown, turn left onto County Road 2, turn right onto Quabbin Road, then left onto Quabbin Hill Road. From the west, take Reynolds Road (401 exit 659) north, turn right onto County Road 2, turn left onto Blue Mountain Road, then right at Quabbin Hill Road.

Upcoming Presentations

September 27: Harvest Potluck Supper and Annual Review
October 25: Dr. Adrien Djomo, Queen's University: An Update on Climate Science

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

Gordon Beck photo card

Gordon Beck photo cards

TB has received a supply of evocative Gordon Beck photo cards for our use as thank-you gifts for our monthly speakers. Showing local town and country scenes, these cards have been provided to us at cost by the From Here to Infinity Gallery located at 213 King Street West in Brockville. Relatively new to Brockville, the gallery offers a wide selection of original art, jewellery and giftware, Beck's photos in a variety of formats, and a rear section full of rare and collectible books.

TBSL shelves at Leeds County Books

Transition Brockville Sustainability Library

The TBSL is open and operating seven days a week at Leeds County Books, 73 King Street West in Brockville. This collection of over 80 books offers 'big picture' analyses of the science behind climate change and resource depletion, thoughtful discussions on civilization, economics and ecology, and manuals for on-the-ground building of personal and community resilience. A complete catalogue and borrowing instructions are available on our website.

Steering Committee

  • 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 September 14, 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


Help kick start renewable energy projects in North Grenville

Sustainable North Grenville / John Brauneisen / 13 August 2015
The Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op (OREC) is expanding to accept new members from across Eastern Ontario. This is good news. This expansion is in conjunction with the launch of OREC's fourth shareholder offering, which seeks to raise $1.7 million to invest in six local solar rooftop projects, and add 758 kW of generation to OREC's generating portfolio. How does this directly impact North Grenville, one might ask?...

Area hydro buildings bought

Recorder & Times / Wayne Lowrie / 11 August 2015
GANANOQUE - The hydroelectric generating facilities here, along with nine other area power plants, have been bought by Energy Ottawa. Energy Ottawa purchased the industrial buildings at 5 King Street in Gananoque from Fortis Energy last month at an undisclosed price as part of a package deal that incl...

Greg Aultman

Aultman Furniture proves there is a market for reclaimed wood

Leeds Grenville Economic Development / 11 August 2015
Greg Aultman knows how to turn new and reclaimed lumber from local Canadian resources into sturdy, attractive and unique pieces of furniture. Aultman Furniture - The Green Woodworkers! is located in Maitland and has been in operation for five years. Greg and his wife Nathalie decided to st...

Bottle filling station

New water bottle filling stations being installed

City of Cornwall / 22 July 2015
"These stations will provide convenient access to safe municipal water while at the same time highlighting the importance of water in our community as part of the Cornwall Blueprint initiative," said John St. Marseille, General Manager of Infrastructure and Municipal Works. "We hope it will make it easier fo...

Bike maintenance station installed at Fort Henry

Ontario By Bike / Update – August 2015
Already a certified bicycle friendly tourist attraction, visiting Fort Henry National Historic Site of Canada just got a little bit more convenient for cyclists. Steam Whistle Brewing recently installed a Bike Repair Station outside the event centre at Fort Henry in Kingston. The station includes a bike rack, a 10-tool stand for light repairs and a tire pump...

The Ontario Energy Board says the environmental risks of the $12 billion Energy East pipeline project outweigh the potential benefits, and warns it will drive up natural gas prices. "What we have found is there is an imbalance between the economic and environmental risks of the project and the expected benefits for Ontarians," said OEB vice-president Peter Fraser as he released a report on Energy East...

Gap looms in Ontario's fight against climate change

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario / 07 July 2015
Ontario's acting Environmental Commissioner Ellen Schwartzel offered some praise for the provincial government, but also a warning the government will find it difficult to meet its next target for combatting climate change. On the eve of the Climate Summit of the Americas, Schwartzel prai...

Map showing B.C. wildfires

Map of B.C. burning

Castanet / Jon Manchester / 21 July 2015
A map of the province posted to the B.C. Wildfire Service Facebook page dramatically shows how much of British Columbia is burning. It's so covered in red flags, it appears the entire Southern Interior is on fire. Wildfire forest firefighters are currently responding to 254 fires across the province. As of Monday, the Wildfire Service responded to 113 new fires, 98 of which were lightning-caused...

It's a hotter world we live in now. One in which any of us living on Earth are now four times as likely to experience a heatwave than we were during the 1880s. And at the most extreme end of this spectrum are the heatwave mass casualty events – which this year have been very numerous and widespread. Italy, Egypt, the Persian Gulf, Pakistan, India and Japan have now all experienced mass hospitalizations and deaths due to the excess heat of a world forced to rapidly warm by human fossil fuel emissions...

Europe and Pacific Northwest face record heat

NASA Global Climate Change / Michael Carlowicz / 15 July 2015
For two weeks in late June and early July 2015, western Europe and the Pacific Northwest of North America endured record-setting heat and parched landscapes. Other parts of the world got a taste of the heat, too, as new temperature records were set on three continents. The map abov...

The skinny on wet bulb temperatures

Robert Scribbler / 31 July 2015
Thirty five degrees Celsius. According to recent research, it's the wet bulb temperature at which the human body is rendered physically unable to cool itself in the shade. At which evaporation no longer cools the skin. A temperature that results in hyperthermia, heat exhaustion and heat stroke – even when sitting still and out of direct sunlight over the course of about 1-3 hours. It's the physical limit of human heat endurance.

The primary factors involved in determining wet bulb temperature are atmospheric temperature and humidity. The temperature of an air parcel cooled to saturation (100 percent humidity). Basically, it's the coolest temperature human skin is able to achieve by sweating...

Historic droughts happening around the world

The Weather Channel / Terrell Johnson / 28 July 2015
If you live in the United States, especially if you live on the West Coast, you're no doubt well aware of the historic, years-long drought in California, which now has spread across 97 percent of the state with nearly half the state falling into the worst category, exceptional drought. But ...

Increasingly difficult for the world to produce enough food

Business Insider / Lydia Ramsey / 03 August 2015
The possibility of increased food shortages looms in a nearer future than we'd care to believe. Citing the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the latest Grantham Mayo van Otterloo (GMO) quarterly report noted, "humanity is risking 'a breakdown of food systems linked to war...

'Bombshell' study: World's oceans could rise higher, sooner, faster

Common Dreams / Jon Queally / 21 July 2015
According to the new study–which has not yet been peer-reviewed, but was written by former NASA scientist James Hansen and 16 other prominent climate researchers–current predictions about the catastrophic impacts of global warming, the melting of vast ice sheets, and sea level rise do not take into ...

'Historically unprecedented' glacial ice melt

International Business Times / Avaneesh Pandey / 10 August 2015
The first decade of the twenty-first century has not been a good one for the planet's climate. Of the 15 warmest years on record, 14 have occurred since 2000. Rising global temperatures have also made glaciers -- ice masses that currently occupy nearly 10 percent of the world's to...

The impending ecosystem collapse

Counterpunch / Robert Hunziker / 14 July 2015
Signals of planetary stress are literally off the charts, meanwhile the world continues spinning like always, as people go to work, drive cars, go out to dinner, and watch TV, some read books but not much these days. Those routines of going to work, out to dinner, and so forth maintain an equilibr...

Coming of age in the age of extinction

In These Times / Martin de Bourmont, Dayton Martindale / 10 August 2015
A 2007 poll of more than a thousand middle schoolers found that almost 60 percent feared climate change more than terrorism, car crashes or cancer. Roughly the same percentage thought more needed to be done to combat the threat, and more than 40 percent reported that concern...


The truth about bike trailers for kids and babies / Euan McKenzie / 31 July 2015
The quandary: Do you really need to wait till they're 8 or 9 years old before you can get back out on your bike? One of the best things about being a parent is doing stuff with your kids. I heard someone say once that something like 80% of being a good parent is just showing up. It can be a scary truth, but just about everything you do with them or around them in some way shapes their future and their outlook on life. This includes bike riding...

There really is no such thing as 'away'

NASA Global Climate Change / Laura Faye Tenenbaum / 30 July 2015
We say we throw our trash away. But, where is 'away'? Yesterday I was meeting with a few scientists down at the University of California, Irvine. Like any other campus, there were plenty of trash cans. Except they weren't called trash cans. Some were labeled "recycling" an...

Faith communities need to get on the bus

OSEA / Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko
I remember when I first started working with the Hamilton faith community through Environment Hamilton, about five years ago. We had a volunteer who was instrumental in establishing that first contact and helping us build relationships by screening Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," followed by a presentation on cli...

20 crops that keep and how to store them

Mother Earth News / Barbara Pleasant / August/September 2012
Success with storage crops hinges on finding methods that convince the crops that they are enjoying a natural period of dormancy in unusually comfortable conditions. This typically involves slowing physiology by controlling respiration (usually by lowering temperature) and/or providin...

The universal fermented pickle recipe

Mother Earth News / Kevin West / 27 July 2015
In making fermented pickles, also called brined pickles or lacto-fermented pickles, the brine acidifies naturally, thanks to the activity of beneficial lactobacillus bacteria. The microbiology is fascinating and complex, but all you really need to know is that the beneficial lactobacillus bacteria oc...

Everyday solar cooking

Mother Earth News / Joel Dufour / August/September 2015
Summer's arrived and the heat is inescapable. You don't want to turn on the stove to make dinner, which will heat up the house even more. If you're like me and don't have air conditioning – or if you're energy conscious and keep the AC low – cooking indoors can be unbearable...

16 tips to crowdfund a tool library in your town

Shareable / Cat Johnson / 13 July 2015
Tool libraries are much-loved community resources, and for good reason: they expand access to tools, save members money, and strengthen relationships between neighbors. However, they aren't easy to start, but that's changing. New fundraising, social media, and inventory management tools are making it eas...

NEW IN MEDIA / 13 August 2015
Vermonters have long been mindful about preserving their small communities, and protecting and strengthening the local businesses that give their communities such unique character. One of the ways they have done this is by voting with their wallets. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that Vermonters...

This almost 2-hour long interview was recorded in Samuel Alexander's backyard in a Melbourne suburb in April 2015. Part of it is slated to be used in a documentary called "A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity", written and produced by Jordan Osmond and Samuel Alexander. The documentary is set for rele...


Open House at Miku Valley Farm

Transition Brockville
WHEN: Saturday, August 22 and Sunday, August 23, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm - rain or shine
WHERE: 130 Quabbin Hill Road, Mallorytown, ON

Bring the whole family and explore this permaculture farm. A guided tour begins at 1:00 pm on both days.

Vegetable Gardening Workshop: Harvesting/Preserving/Garden Cleanup

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

Last 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 someone else who would like to attend.

Transition Brockville Steering Committee

Transition Brockville
WHEN: Monday, September 14, 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.

TB Presentation to Probus Club of Brockville

Probus Club of Brockville
WHEN: Monday, September 21, 10:00 am
WHERE: Brockville Country Club

Probus members only.

Harvest Potluck Supper and Annual Review

Transition Brockville
WHEN: Sunday, September 27, 4:00 pm

Green Energy Doors Open 2015

WHEN: Saturday, October 3
WHERE: Ontario-wide

Green Energy Doors Open is a province-wide, year-round communications campaign and showcase of individual, community, and commercial sustainable energy projects. It is organized and spearheaded by the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association. The initiative aims to showcase advancements in the sector, demonstrating that Ontario is already on the path to building a 100% clean, sustainable energy system. The event is free to participate in as a host and to attend. More info here.

Transition Brockville Steering Committee

Transition Brockville
WHEN: Monday, October 12, 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.

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.