Newsletter 107, 21 September 2015

What megablazes tell us about the fiery future of climate change

Rolling Stone / Tim Dickinson / 15 September 2015
Pervasive drought and record temperatures have turned forests from Fresno to Fairbanks into tinderboxes. And it's only getting worse.
This is the present, and the future, of climate change. Our overheated world is amplifying drought and making megafire commonplace. This is happening even in the soggy Pacific Northwest, which has been hard-hit by what's been dubbed a "wet drought." Despite near-normal precipitation, warm winter temperatures brought rain instead of snow to the region's mountains. What little snow did hit the ground then melted early, leaving the Northwest dry – and ready to burn in the heat of summer.


Next up: Harvest Potluck Dinner

Newsletter readers and their friends and family are invited to our annual Harvest Potluck Dinner, to be held on Sunday, September 27, at 4:00 pm, in the hall of St. Paul's Anglican Church.

Bring one or two of your favourite dishes created from local foods, whether from your own veggie garden, the Farmers' Market, or a neighbouring farm. It's amazing the variety of food – from appetizers and soups, to main dishes and salads, to desserts – that fill the buffet table at our Transition potlucks.

We'll also take this opportunity to socialize and share news, to review Transition Brockville's accomplishments over the past year, and to look ahead. As the conversation about climate change goes increasingly mainstream, we'll discuss what role Transition Brockville – and you – can play in making a difference for the future.

WHEN: Sunday, September 27, 4:00 pm
WHERE: St. Paul's Anglican Church, 21 Pine Street, Brockville

Upcoming Presentations

October 25: TBA
November 22: 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.


Transition Brockville at Culture Days

Join in the fun at our booth on King Street West on Saturday, September 26, as we peel, core and slice fresh and tasty apples, all with a few flicks of the wrist! We will also be demonstrating food dehydrators (great for sliced apples!), solar ovens and Big Berkey household water filters.

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 normally meets at 7:00 pm on the second Monday of the month at Bud's on the Bay, 17 Broad Street. Accommodating the long Thanksgiving weekend, the next SC meeting will be on Tuesday, October 13, 2015. Our SC meetings are open. If you'd like to participate in some broad-ranging discussions on resilience and sustainability, please consider attending.

  • 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

Our ambition is to support our local community to provide access and information and help to develop skills and confidence to choose, prepare, store, grow, eat and share a variety of affordable, sufficient, safe, nutritious, enjoyable and – where possible – locally grown and produced foods...

Food Conference registration now open

Leeds-Grenville Economic Development eNews / 09 September 2015
Registration is open for the Eastern Ontario Local Food 2015 Conference. The event is being hosted by the Cities of Belleville and Quinte West, in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Rural Affairs. Producers and others that support local food can r...

West End Well grocery store, café to close

Ottawa Citizen / Laura Robin / 15 September 2015
"After months of adjusting operations, seeking advice from food service specialists, and consulting co-op members and customers, we have concluded that the current business model is not financially viable," said Bill Shields, the co-op's co-founder, in a release Tuesday. "We will therefore...


New FIT/microFIT price schedule for 2016

IESO / 17 September 2015
The IESO has posted a new FIT/microFIT price schedule for 2016. The IESO is required to review the prices offered to generators under the FIT and microFIT programs annually to ensure both ratepayer value and a fair return on investment. A slide deck and some FAQs have also been posted that provide background and supp...

Ontario net metering/self-consumption background webinar

Ontario Ministry of Energy / 18 September 2015
Background materials for this August 27 webinar can be downloaded here: A Dropbox account is not required for these downloads.

Lights coming on at Queen's Park

Ontario Clean Air Alliance / 14 September 2015
The lights appear to be coming on for the governments of Ontario and Quebec when it comes to seeing the mutual benefit of increased electricity trade. Following the joint cabinet meeting held by the two governments last week, Ontario announced that "On energy, the provinces took another signifi...

Community Hubs in Ontario

CO-OPS WORK: The On Co-op Newsletter / 11 September 2015
Last month, the Premier's Advisory Group on Community Hubs published their report, Community Hubs in Ontario: A Strategic Framework and Action Plan. The report focuses on ways the province can support community planning, integrated service delivery, and the community infrastructure neede...

Enwave's cooling system chills Toronto's core

CleanTech Canada / David Kennedy / 08 September 2015
Sunken in the frigid depths of Lake Ontario – out beyond the carnival lights of Centreville and the dull whir of island airport turboprops, five kilometres due south of the Toronto skyline – three high-density polyethylene pipes pump thousands of litres of near-freezing lake water t...

A top Canadian meteorologist warns that municipalities aren't prepared to deal with the impacts of an increasingly volatile climate that can bring devastating floods one season and a drought the next. In the last five years, Canadian cities have been buried in record-breaking snowfall, scorched by unprecedented wildf...

SEE ALSO: 4 to 8 inches of rain in one hour floods Sioux Falls, SD

Decentralising Canada's energy system

OurPower / Madison Van West / 02 September 2015
In 1973, E.F. Schumacher coined the term "small is beautiful," and in light of today's climate crisis, this is truer than ever. The good news is, when it comes to our energy needs, we already have the knowledge and technology to build small (and beautiful) through decentralised energy (DE)...

Canada falls far short of Pope Francis' call for ecological justice

KAIROS / Policy Briefing Paper No. 42 / July 2015
Laudato Si (Praise Be), On Care for our Common Home, has been the most anticipated and commented upon papal encyclical in history. Writing in his straightforward style, Pope Francis addresses climate change in the context of a globalized economy that is threatening the Earth's capacity to sustain...


The psychological risks posed by global warming

Climate Progress / Jeremy Deaton / 16 September 2015
We spend vast amounts of time and personal energy trying to calculate the most urgent threats posed by climate change. Washington, D.C. psychiatrist and climate activist Lise Van Susteren, however, says the most insidious danger may already be upon us. She's not talking about heat, drought, ...

Hottest month on record portends global warming speed up

Climate Progress / Joe Romm / 20 August 2015
Last month was not just the hottest July on record. Since July is "the warmest month of the year globally," NOAA's latest monthly State of the Climate Report, notes that July 2015 "was also the highest among all 1627 months in the record that began in January 1880." There never was any sl...

Much of the European continent has been affected by severe drought in June and July 2015, one of the worst since the drought and heat wave of summer of 2003, according to the latest report by the JRC's European Drought Observatory (EDO). The drought, which particularly affects France, Benelux, Germany, Hungary, the...

4 to 8 inches of rain in one hour floods Sioux Falls, SD

Washington Post / Jason Samenow / 28 August 2015
A deluge of epic proportions swamped portions of Sioux Falls, South Dakota Thursday evening. Jay Trobec, the chief meteorologist for Keloland TV out of Sioux Falls, said thunderstorms unloaded up to 4-8 inches of rain in less than an hour. The torrential downpours blocked intersections and bo...

Wildfire smoke: The health threat that won't go away

NPR / Nancy Shute / 25 August 2015
I stepped out my parents' front door last Thursday, expecting a typically glorious summer day in southern Oregon. Instead, I was hit with acrid wood smoke that stung my eyes and throat. The air was thick with haze that obscured the mountains. I quickly retreated inside. Health departments across the West are...

Two degrees of climate change may be too much

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists / Dawn Stover / 04 September 2015
Today we're only about halfway to the 2-degree mark, yet the climate is already haywire. Numbers such as 2 degrees and 350 parts per million (or ppm, which many climate activists have identified as a "safe" level for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) have become enshrined ...

World running out of time to save oceans

IPS News / Thalif Deen / 07 September 2015
"Human impacts on the sea are no longer minor in relation to the overall scale of the ocean. A coherent overall approach is needed," the report stated. According to the United Nations, the Assessment marks the first time ever that scientific experts have assessed the current knowledge on the biol...

Islamic declaration turns up heat

IPS News / Kitty Stapp / 19 August 2015
Following in the footsteps of Pope Francis, who has taken a vocal stance on climate change, Muslim leaders and scholars from 20 countries issued a joint declaration Tuesday underlining the severity of the problem and urging governments to commit to 100 percent renewable energy or a zero emissions strategy....

Pension funds must consider climate-change risks: legal study

Yahoo News Canada / Bob Weber, The Canadian Press / 08 September 2015
"The typical pension plan is thinking 70 years down the road," Thomas said Tuesday. "They have to make sure that their current and future beneficiaries are all taken care of." In that kind of time frame, the report concludes that climate change creates a series of risks for...

Making sense of the sudden market plunge / Chris Martenson / 25 August 2015
The global deflationary wave we have been tracking since last fall is picking up steam. This is the natural and unavoidable aftereffect of a global liquidity bubble brought to you courtesy of the world's main central banks. What goes up must come down -- and that's especially true for the wor...


Greening your 'back to school'

Winnipeg Green Action Centre
If you are getting ready to head back to school, for yourself or your kids, chances are you will be stocking up on supplies and maybe refreshing your wardrobe. Education is about planning for the future, so it is more important than ever to think about how your choices affect the planet. With a bit of planning, you c...

Five ways to make your family's commute more fun

Evergreen / Jacqueline Waters / 11 September 2015
Back to school doesn't have to mean back to car rides. Start your day with a fun active commute to school. Does your child like to walk, bike, scooter? The natural choice for kids is to pick an active mode of transportation over yet another car ride. You will love it too after experiencing the ...

How to get better gas mileage

Mother Earth News / Todd Kaho / Summer 2012
A little bit of human control can go a long way toward meeting or even exceeding a car's mpg rating. The following 12 fuel-efficient driving techniques are easy to learn and apply. Try these tips for how to get better gas mileage and call upon your competitive spirit to see how much you can improve y...

A plan for food self-sufficiency

Mother Earth News / Cindy Conner / October/November 2012
Providing high-quality food for your family year-round takes foresight and planning, plus healthy doses of commitment and follow-through. Whether you grow as much of your food as you can or you source it from local producers, the guidelines here will help you decide how much to produce...

Green manure cover crops

West Coast Seeds
"Green manure" is the name given to cover crops that are planted for the purpose of adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil. These plants can be as effective as animal manure in producing humus, thereby increasing soil fertility and structure. Cover crops are inexpensive to plant, and serve multiple purposes. Best of...

Freezing vegetables from your garden

Mother Earth News / Barbara Pleasant / August/September 2013
Freezing vegetables is a fast and easy form of food preservation, and most crops, such as asparagus, broccoli, green beans, peppers, summer squash, dark leafy greens and all types of juicy berries, will actually be preserved best if frozen. Part of the beauty of freezing vegetables is ...

Join us

Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op
A lifetime membership with OREC is $100. Membership supports OREC's operations and administrative costs, provides you with benefits (listed below) and allows you to vote at member meetings (see OREC's governance model). Any resident of Eastern Ontario can become a member. Eastern Ontario is defined as the City of Ottawa and the counties...

We'll take away your old fridge or freezer and recycle it, free of charge. To qualify, fridges must be 15 years or older and freezers must be 20 years or older. We'll also take away window air conditioners and dehumidifiers. Book your free pickup by October 31, 2015.

Three highlights of switching to LED fixtures

CFM&D / Michael Schratz / 30 July 2015
Around the world, and in every industry, companies are looking for new ways to run leaner and greener, to reduce both operating costs and their environmental impact. Equipment, production and process improvements are often the first lines of attack, but these mostly call for expensive upgrades and cause...

Small engines - big polluters

Econogics, Inc. / 22 February 2014
Small gasoline engines are big polluters. With either no, or token, emission controls, primitive combustion techniques, and typically significant spillage and evaporative losses, they damage our environment out of all proportion to the useful work they accomplish. On a scale comparable to our gasoline and diese...

Why money isn't everything

CBC Ideas / Paul Kennedy / 12 May 2015
The world over, alternative currencies are helping societies solve key issues. In Japan, volunteers earn redeemable friendship tokens when they care for the elderly. In Brazil, one city's garbage crisis disappeared when it gave people bus tokens for their trash. We're also hearing about Toronto's tool libr...

AACC-SEED-COWS / Sarah White, Todd Cohen / 2014
Community leaders and elected officials, along with planners and scientists and other resiliency principals, should be calling on local colleges to help mobilize the community and train its workers. The point is not to bounce back, but – particularly in low-income communities already battered ... / Karen Rybold-Chin / 04 September 2015
Resilience is a common principal of permaculture, says Dave Boehnlein, co-author of the book Practical Permaculture. In this Mother Earth News interview, Boehnlein stresses the importance of incorporating redundancy, such as with planning access to potable water. "If the water stops c...

Ben Falk is a permaculture designer based in Moretown, Vermont. In this video, he speaks about different aspects of homesteading and cold weather, notably his wood cook-stove which also heats water, and his compost-powered greenhouse heating system. He also talks about the importance of being engaged with the l...

Mother Earth News / Steven McFadden / 12 August 2015
We must reckon with reality, or be overwhelmed. To maintain adequate production of food, fiber and fuel through the 21st century, we must make changes that will enhance the adaptive capacity of agriculture. This is not an academic debate. This is a stark reality that no amount of billionaire-f...

What challenges are researchers facing with communicating the seriousness of climate change? Why is there so much debate against the scientific evidence? Today Esty Dinur talks with climatologist Michael E. Mann and journalist John H. Richardson about this.


Global Limits - Local Resilience

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

TB Presentation to Probus Club of Brockville. Probus members only.

Fall Tree Planting

Friends of Mac Johnson Wildlife Area
WHEN: Saturday, September 26, 9:00 am - noon
WHERE: Former landfill site at 3300 Parkedale Ave. west of Kent Boulevard, Brockville

Join the Friends of Mac Johnson Wildlife Area, CRCA Staff and TD for a fall tree planting. Bring your shovel, work gloves and your energy! Register online at ... or just show up!

Brockville's First Culture Days Celebration

Brockville Arts Cooperative
WHEN: Saturday, September 26, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
WHERE: King Street West, downtown Brockville

Downtown Brockville's DBIA is hosting this event and will be closing King St. West between Home and Perth Streets to allow those involved in arts and culture to celebrate Culture Days and help increase awareness of arts in the community.

Culture days is a 3 day-long annual cross-Canada volunteer movement to raise the awareness, accessibility, and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural lives of their communities. With the support of volunteer groups at the national and provincial levels, hundreds of thousands of artists, cultural workers, organizations and groups self-mobilize to host free participatory public activities over the last weekend of September each year.

More info: Press release at EON-TV

Harvest Potluck Dinner and Annual Review

Transition Brockville
WHEN: Sunday, September 27, 4:00 pm
WHERE: St. Paul's Anglican Church, 21 Pine Street

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

Managing Energy

WHEN: Monday, October 5 - Tuesday, October 6
WHERE: Four Points by Sheraton, Kingston

Managing Energy is an energy summit for southeastern Ontario's energy management professionals. This intensive day of speakers, panel sessions, and networking will provide energy managers in the industrial, commercial, and institutional sector with the tools they need to:
  • Reduce energy consumption and lower costs for their organizations
  • Identify new opportunities for savings
  • Be aware ofregulatory changes that could impact business
More info:

Transition Brockville Steering Committee

Transition Brockville
WHEN: Tuesday, October 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.

Local Foods Harvest Dinner

REAL Smiths Falls
WHEN: Saturday, October 17, 5:30 pm
WHERE: Gallipeau Centre, 361 Queen Street, Smiths Falls

Our annual local foods harvest dinner is being prepared by Bruce Enloe of the Two Rivers Food Hub and served up just down the hall in the Gallipeau Centre. Come enjoy a delicious buffet meal featuring foods produced close to home in Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, as well as some entertainment and silent auction. The bar will be open, and a nice selection of local beers and Ontario wines will be featured. Tickets will be $60, and available at the REAL Deal Store and Modern Thymes in Smiths Falls by September 1. This is REAL's major fundraiser for the year, so come support environmental action in your community!

Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference

WHEN: Wednesday, November 4 - Thursday, November 5
WHERE: Travelodge Belleville, Belleville

Excitement is mounting for the upcoming 5th Annual Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference! EOLFC15 is our region's annual conference bringing together stakeholders from all aspects of our local food system. This year's hosts, the Cities of Quinte West and Belleville, have worked creatively to develop a dynamic event that will be the best one yet!

The momentum building in the Eastern Ontario local food system is not an accident. It is the result of years of hard work, creative ideas, and local food champions working together to make strong connections.

This year's conference is the place to further cultivate that creative thinking, and to collaborate with others to learn, share, and network. Some new sessions will see not only our speakers, but our delegates sharing their knowledge and building solutions. Book time with mentors. Be swept away in a series of quick, idea-generating presentations that will be sure to spark creativity and energize. And, be a part of round-table discussions and conversations that will move the bar, motivate, and create lasting connections. In short, this year's conference will be a place of ACTION!

More info and registration: EOLFC15

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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