Newsletter 111, 18 January 2016

Breaking news: Atmospheric CO2 affects global temperatures

South Bend news-times / Garrett P Serviss / 12 September 1918
Experiments show that the power of the atmosphere to trap heat is largely due to the water vapor it contains. It is also due, to some extent, to the carbon dioxide gas that is one of its minor constituents. Carbon dioxide is a remarkable heat retainer, but there is only a very small quantity of it in the air compared with the vast bulk of the atmosphere. It only amounts to about 3-100ths of 1 percent. But there is this significant fact about it, viz., that its amount is variable, to a slight degree at the present time, while there is evidence from past geological history that it was once vastly more abundant than it is now.

Now, how much carbon dioxide must the air gain in order that a perceptable effect on the temperature may be produced? Arrhenius answers that if all the carbon dioxide now in the air were removed the average temperature would fall nearly 38 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, if the present amount were doubled the temperature the temperature would rise more than 7 degrees, and if it were quadrupled the rise would amount to nearly 14 1/2 degrees.


Earthship 101

Our next presentation introduces another green housing option that allows us to live in harmony with nature – while avoiding endlessly rising utility bills and price shock at the grocery store, and at the same time cultivating the kind of freedom that can only come from living off the grid.

In her talk Earthship 101, Agata Bedynski, of Earthship Ottawa, will describe these unique, sustainable, off-grid passive solar houses, designed according to nature's principles. Bedynski, who holds a degree in environmental studies from Carleton University and a diploma in community and social development from Georgian College in Barrie, heads Earthship Ottawa, a learning group that gives interested folks exposure to the concepts upon which Earthships are based, as well as opportunities to work at various Earthship build sites around the region, acquiring hands-on experience in their construction.

In her presentation, Bedynski will show many photos of Earthships and their construction, including examples in eastern Ontario, and highlighting their six fundamental design principles. She's prepared to answer questions from the audience during her presentation, as well as afterwards when refreshments will be available.

WHEN: Sunday, January 24, 2:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Public Library, 23 Buell Street, Brockville

Understanding Islam and Muslims, in the Context of our Changing Community

Join us for this special presentation, offered in partnership with the Refugee Assistance Committee Brockville & Area. Guest speaker is Barbara Lois Helms. Helms is currently the Executive Director of Dar-ul-Ihsan Centre for Islamic Education, and Chair of Cornwall Interfaith Partnership (CIP). She has been active in the Cornwall area for the past two decades, participating in interfaith dialogue, pastoral care, community education, cultural consultancy, and professional training on issues affecting or relating to Muslim populations. She has a BA in Comparative Religion and a Master's in Islamic Studies (both from McGill) and a Master's in Counselling Psychology from Athabasca University.

WHEN: Monday, February 8, 4:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Memorial Centre, Megadoma Drive, Brockville

Upcoming Presentations

February 28: Fire Chief Ghislain Pigeon: Local Emergency Preparedness
March 20: Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health: Implementing the Healthy Communities Vision

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


New Mailing List for TB Volunteers

Think you might like to help out from time to time with TB projects or at events? Sign up here to our new TB-VOL mailing list to receive an occasional "call for volunteers".

Transition Brockville Sustainability Library

TBSL shelves at Leeds County Books
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 procedures are available on our website.

Steering Committee

  • The Transition Brockville Steering Committee normally meets at 7:00 pm on the second Wednesday of the month at Bud's on the Bay, 17 Broad Street. The next SC meeting will be on Wednesday, February 10, 2016. 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


Annual report on Community Strategic Plan

Recorder & Times / Ronald Zajac / 03 December 2015
In the area of energy conservation, the city has a ceiling of nearly 11 million kilowatt/hours of electricity used by municipal operations per year, which it has exceeded for the past four years, coming in at nearly 15.5 million in 2014. Similarly, Brockville has set as a target annual em...

[ See also: Brockville Community Strategic Plan Progress Update 2015 ]

Thumbs-up for Brockville bike network

Recorder & Times / Ronald Zajac / 08 December 2015
Brockville council has given the green light to bike lanes. City councillors on Tuesday backed the recommendation of their finance, administration and operations committee to proceed with the first phase of a cycling network in 2016. "It's really a step forward for Brockville," s...

Energy program tempts Brockville

Recorder & Times / Ronald Zajac / 09 December 2015
Hire an "energy manager," city councillors were told on Tuesday, and Hydro One will cover a majority of his or her salary, based on energy savings targets. What's more, if the city exceeds those targets, the utility could even pay more, to the point where Brockville is making money ...

Healthy Kids Community Challenge - Funding and survey

Healthy Kids Community Challenge - Leeds and Grenville / 06 January 2016
Leeds and Grenville is one of 45 communities across Ontario taking part in the Healthy Kids Community Challenge (HKCC)! The Healthy Kids Community Challenge unites communities with a common goal of promoting children's health through physical activity and healthy eating....

Local recipients win OMAFRA Agri-food innovation award

Eastern Ontario Agrinews / Candice Vetter / December 2015
Four Eastern Ontario farms were recognized for Agri-food Innovation at an Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) awards ceremony in Kingston on Nov. 14. Bluegrass Farm near Jasper was recognized for their greenhouse operation. As well as heat from the sun, Leel...

The Operations Department is responsible for the care and maintenance to all trees on city property. This brochure has been prepared to inform the general public of some of the Policies and Procedures surrounding the City's tree maintenance and removal operations.

Restoration of the prison farm at Frontenac Institution

Save the Prison Farm / 25 November 2015
Restoring the prison farm in Kingston is not just a local issue, but a matter of good corrections policy and programming that could be implemented at other prisons in Canada. Restoring the farm at Frontenac could be the beginning of establishing farms at many other institutions. Kingston and the Island...


Ontario releases new climate change strategy

Government of Ontario / 24 November 2015
Ontario's Climate Change Strategy outlines the steps the government will take, including: Introducing climate legislation that, if passed, would establish a long-term framework for action and make the cap and trade program law in Ontario. Integrating climate change mitigation and adaptation c...

Guelph: A triumphant co-op town

Guelph Chamber of Commerce / Chris Tiessen / January 2016
For this special issue, we've collapsed col.lab.o.rate and MBF together with a special focus on Guelph's co-ops. After all, if there's a single sector that manages to effortlessly collapse the categories 'business' and 'community', it's the co-op sector. And if there's a...

Renewable energy co-operatives grow in Ontario

OSEA / Yvonne Ho / 16 December 2015
The following is a guest post from CanSIA and the Solar Canada Conference, which discusses the increase in local, small scale renewable energy co-operatives in Ontario over the past few years, thanks to the start of the Feed-in-Tariff program back in 2009. Renewable energy co-operatives date back into the 1990...

Investors get wider access to private capital markets

Globe and Mail / Clare O'Hara / 12 January 2016
With plummeting oil prices and a declining Canadian dollar, investors in Ontario seeking alternative investments can now access private capital markets that were once available only to high-net-worth individuals. Last October, provincial regulators announced that a new offering memorandum (OM) e...

What is the future of MicroFIT in Ontario?

SWITCH / Newsletter / 22 December 2015
SWITCH recently participated in the Ministry of Energy's consultation and engagement on a concept proposal for the net metering/self-consumption (NM/SC) program that will take the place of the microFIT program in Ontario. You can find a Q&A document summarizing questions from the webinar and in-person ...

Ontario private sector readies for energy reporting

REMI Network / Barbara Carss / 08 December 2015
Proposed amendments to Ontario's Green Energy Act signal the government's intention to mandate reporting of energy and water consumption in privately owned buildings. Tabled in late October as part of Bill 135, the Energy Statute Law Amendment Act, the legislation includes provisions to require...

CTV News has learned the Ontario government is considering making home energy audits mandatory before posting a property for sale. The energy audits would pinpoint spots where homes waste heat and electricity. The property would be given a rating number similar to what consumers see on home appliances. The gover...


Why 2016 could be the year of green energy

The Tyee / Tyler Hamilton / 13 January 2016
The sun could be starting to set on the fossil-fuel era as it rises on the age of clean energy. Decades from now, as historians attempt to draw a clear line between the two periods, 2015 may prove the most obvious point of demarcation. The past 12 months saw the fossil-fuel divestment movement reach...

Montreal unveils its climate adaptation plan

Montreal Gazette / René Bruemmer / 23 November 2015
Over the last 50 years, the snow clearing period in Montreal has dropped from 103 days to 73. The summer season has become nine days longer, and is expected to become another 10 to 30 days longer still in the coming decades. Freeze-thaw episodes have increased by 30 per cent since 1942, height...

Canada warming at twice the global rate

CBC News / 23 November 2015
Canada's rate of warming is about twice the global rate, according to a climate change briefing presented to the country's premiers on Monday. For the first time in nearly seven years, federal, provincial and territorial leaders gathered together in Ottawa with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Their meeting comes a w...

Floods in Canada are going to get uglier

Huffington Post Canada / Ed Struzik / 16 November 2015
Floods are by far responsible for most of the natural disasters in Canada. Between 1900 and 2013, 289 flood disasters occurred across the country. That's more than the next three major disaster events – hail, wildfire, and snowstorms – combined. Many studies, including one by Natura...

Homeowner? Brace for flood of insurance hikes

The Tyee / Colleen Kimmett / 24 November 2015
Last summer, the people of Burlington, on the western edge of Lake Ontario, found themselves the target of a rogue weather system that dropped 7.5 inches of rain on their city in less than three hours. People had to swim from their abandoned cars. More than 3,000 homeowners suffered property damage, ...


WEF: Threats to global economy in 2016

Guardian / Larry Elliott / 14 January 2014
The annual assessment of risks conducted by the [World Economic Forum] before its annual meeting in Davos on 20-23 January showed that global warming had catapulted its way to the top of the list of concerns. A failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation was seen as likely to have a bigger impact than the sprea...

Global economy fuelling more business interruption

The Guardian / Pamela Duncan / 11 December 2015
The cost of business interruption is on the rise with the average cost of claims between 2010 and 2014 exceeding €1m, according to a report. Research by Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty states that the increase is due to the ever greater interconnectivity of the global economy. A fire or...

US hit by multiple billion-dollar weather disasters in 2015

Climate Change News / Alex Pashley / 08 January 2016
Ten bouts of extreme weather wreaked billion-dollar losses on America last year due to a strong El Nino and global warming, according to a federal agency. Mississippi floods in December and California wildfires throughout the summer were among events which claimed 155 lives and destroyed th...

Will the oil & gas industry's crash cascade into contagion?

Oil Pro / Mark Harrington / 11 January 2016
As noted in prior pieces, this crash is far different and far more fundamentally impactful than the 86/87 calamity. In 86/87, a major culprit was grossly bloated corporate overhead. My colleague William Weekley and I launched the Energy Vulture Funds in 1986 to grab those opportunities, and were fortun...

Los Angeles' enormous methane leak

Motherboard / Melissa Cronin / 26 December 2015
One of the biggest environmental disasters in US history is happening right now, and you've probably never heard of it. An enormous amount of harmful methane gas is currently erupting from an energy facility in Aliso Canyon, California, at a startling rate of 110,000 pounds per hour. The gas, ...

Climate change could lead to significant declines in electricity production in coming decades as water resources are disrupted, said a study published on Monday. Hydropower stations and thermoelectric plants, which depend on water to generate energy, together contribute about 98 per cent of the world's electricity p...

Study: Climate change rapidly warming world's lakes

NASA Global Climate Change / 16 December 2015
Climate change is rapidly warming lakes around the world, threatening freshwater supplies and ecosystems, according to a new NASA and National Science Foundation-funded study of more than half of the world's freshwater supply. Using more than 25 years of satellite temperature data and ground measu...

North American crops highly affected by climate change

Globe and Mail / Ivan Semeniuk / 06 January 2016
Global food production is increasingly likely to be disrupted by extreme weather driven by climate change, say researchers behind a new analysis published on Wednesday in the journal Nature. And, paradoxically, the impact could be greatest in places where farming practices are the most technically...

Understanding natural and human systems is an essential first step toward reducing the severity of climate change and adapting to a warmer future. Maps and geographic information systems are the primary tools by which scientists, policymakers, planners, and activists visualize and understand our rapidly changing world. Spatial informatio...

Can we afford the future?

Richard Heinberg / Museletter 282 / November 2015
As a child of the 1950s I grew up immersed in a near-universal expectation of progress. Everybody expected a shiny new future; the only thing that might have prevented us from having it was nuclear war, and thankfully that hasn't happened (so far). But, in the intervening decades, progress has ...

Your local hydro company [Hydro One in Brockville and area] and the IESO (Independent Electricity Systems Operator) have joined together under the HOME ASSISTANCE program to help Ontario homeowners and tenants make their homes more energy efficient. The HOME ASSISTANCE Program (HAP) provides income-eligible homeowners, residents ...

Ontario Electricity Support Program

Ontario Ministry of Energy
If you are a customer of an electricity utility and in a low-income home, you may qualify for a reduction on your electricity bill through the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP). You could receive a credit on your electricity bill. Beginning in 2016, the OESP will reduce the cost of your household electricit...

TB Tidbit: Living with less plastic

Transition Brockville / Lisa Callaghan / 17 January 2016
As plastic waste builds up in the oceans and is increasingly found in the bellies of birds, fish and marine mammals, there are changes we can make in our daily lives to transition away from these petroleum-based products. Here are some of the ways we can combat this problem.

How to change the world in 3 easy steps

Insurge Intelligence / Nafeez Ahmed / 23 December 2016
The fact is, as individuals, neither of us has the power to change the entire world. And that's okay. We need to accept that, and focus on what we can change, rather than obsessing over what we can't, which is precisely an egoistic symptom of the prevailing paradigm. So there you have...

People are more likely to have a lower weight if they regularly engage in high impact walking compared to doing another vigorous activity like going to the gym, according to new LSE research. The results are particularly pronounced in women, people over 50, and those on low incomes. Dr Grace Lordan, a specialist in hea...

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 b...

10 reasons to build an earthbag house

Mother Earth News / Atulya K. Bingham / 01 December 2015
It might have been more by luck than judgment, but earthbag building has proven itself perfect for my experience level, my climate, the topographical features of my land and my aesthetic taste. It's easy to master for first time builders, and fairly invincible in terms of strength. Ea...

We speak with one of the world's leading climate scientists who has come to the Paris talks with a shocking message: The climate crisis is more severe than even many scientists have acknowledged. Kevin Anderson is deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and professor of energy and...

Beyond Crisis / 04 December 2015
Paul speaks with Beyond Crisis in Ottawa on abrupt climate change; the earth's warming creating dramatic loss of sea ice in the Arctic; and the urgent need to act NOW to reduce emissions, cool the Arctic and slow the warming trend. This piece gives a detailed analysis on the risks we face from Arctic warming ...

Catharsis Media / 02 February 2015
John Howe: I am a retired-engineer, farmer, speaker, and author who has focused on every aspect of this subject, especially searching for quantitative facts and possible solutions.

One of the most important thought leaders, activists and entrepreneurs of our era will illuminate the groundbreaking Project Drawdown. It's the first systematic attempt to do the math on the most effective climate solutions and technologies that already exist, and the impact they would have if they scaled in a r...

Transition Bournemouth / 22 July 2015
Video presentation by Transition Network's Rob Hopkins, shown at Bournemouth University's Festival of Learning in July 2015.

An interview with David Holmgren. This is the full length interview from the upcoming documentary A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity.

CIRESvideos / 02 May 2014
History of atmospheric carbon dioxide from 800,000 years before present until January, 2014.


Two Rivers Food Hub tour

NFU Local 316
WHEN: Wednesday, January 20, 10:30 am - Noon
WHERE: 361 Queen Street, Smiths Falls

Come join us to see how a successfully run food hub is operating just a stones throw away and perhaps get some ideas on how to develop a similar operation right here in Kingston/Frontenac/Lennox and Addington. Following the tour some of us will be going out for lunch and all are welcome to join to continue the discussion and to socialize.

How much: $10
Registration is required as space is very limited. Please email to reserve your spot.
Transportation: You are responsible for your own transportation but we can help facilitate carpooling.

Friends of the Brock Trail Meeting

WHEN: Thursday, January 21, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
WHERE: West Community Room, 1000 Islands Mall, Brockville

Several members have done an audit of the Trail and we will be addressing those issues. Your attendance and participation would be most welcomed!

Understanding Islam and Muslims, in the Context of our Changing Community

WHEN: Monday, February 8, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
WHERE: Brockville Memorial Centre, Brockville

Guest speaker Barbara Helms is currently the Executive Director of Dar-ul-Ihsan Centre for Islamic Education, and Chair of Cornwall Interfaith Partnership (CIP). She has been active in the Cornwall area for the past two decades, participating in interfaith dialogue, pastoral care, community education, cultural consultancy, and professional training on issues affecting or relating to Muslim populations. Presented by Transition Brockville and the Refugee Assistance Committee Brockville & Area.

2nd Annual Seedy Saturday

WHEN: Saturday, March 5, 10:00 pm - 2:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Public Library, Brockville

A free, drop-in seed exchange. Area horticultural and garden clubs are being invited, and individuals are welcome as well! Presented by Transition Brockville and the Brockville Public Library.

Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit

WHEN: Wednesday, April 13
WHERE: Kemptville

Details to follow. Mark your calendars!

Earth Day

WHEN: Friday, April 22

Earth Day is the largest environmental event in the world. More than six million Canadians – including nearly every school-aged child – participate in an Earth Day activity in their communities. We partner with and support hundreds of organizations across the country, as they engage Canadians in annual celebrations of this special day.

More info:

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.