Newsletter 113, 15 March 2016

"Old normal is gone": February shatters temperature records

Slate / Eric Holthaus / 01 March 2016
Global map of temperature anomalies
Our planet's preliminary February temperature data are in, and it's now abundantly clear: Global warming is going into overdrive.

There are dozens of global temperature datasets, and usually I (and my climate journalist colleagues) wait until the official ones are released about the middle of the following month to announce a record-warm month at the global level. But this month's data is so extraordinary that there's no need to wait: February obliterated the all-time global temperature record set just last month.


Next up: Implementing Brockville's Healthy Community Vision

A healthy community is one where everyone – regardless of income, education or ability – can live an active life, eat healthy food, work and play safely, and find support for making healthy choices.

Dr. Paula Stewart
The Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Healthy Communities Partnership is encouraging all organizations, municipalities, businesses and community members to endorse this vision and take steps to make it reality. The Healthy Communities Vision was presented to Brockville City Council and endorsed by it last fall.

Transition Brockville has invited Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the tri-counties, to lead a discussion workshop on the Healthy Communities Vision at our next presentation.

Stewart will focus on two areas of particular concern to the Transition movement: healthy food (including growing, preserving and cooking it) and physical activity (such as walking and cycling). She will show a four-minute video on the Vision, describe some of the current initiatives to realize the vision, and then break the audience into small groups to discuss either healthy food or physical activity.

If you want to see the Brockville area promote healthy food and physical activity for all, take this opportunity to help generate ideas for practical action in these areas and share them with the larger group. Together the group can identify concrete ways to act on these ideas.

WHEN: Sunday, March 20, 2:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Public Library, 23 Buell Street, Brockville

Upcoming Presentations

April 24: Peter and Annette Kaldeway: Living Off the Grid
May 22: Feature documentary: This Changes Everything*

*Co-sponsored by the Brockville Chapter of the Council of Canadians

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

Transition Brockville supports the installation of a two-way protected bicycle lane along Laurier Boulevard, as approved in principle by City Council last December. It is consistent with City policy as established in its Official Plan, in its Sustainability Plan and in its Healthy Communities Vision.

A small group of residents has been vocal in opposition to the new cycling lane, which TB sees as largely uninformed reaction. In fact, the addition of a cycling lane will address many of the concerns they have expressed, eg. through the calming of traffic along Laurier and increasing its safety for existing and new users, whether traveling by car, by foot or by bicycle.

The rationale behind the cycling network and specific rebuttals to naysayer arguments are shown in a series of FAQs on the Active Brockville website.


We urge you to contact City Councilors to express your support, either by email or by phone. And sign our petition to City Council. TB will present this petition in a delegation to the FAO committee at 4:15 pm on Tuesday, March 15. The petition will remain open for signing.

Growing Seedy Saturday

Brockville Recorder & Times / Jonathon Brodie / 06 March 2016
Christine Stesky, TB and Brandy Smith, BPL

Brockville hosted its second Seedy Saturday this past weekend at the library, an event where anyone from the experienced gardener to someone who has never touched soil can come down and learn some tricks of the trade and pick up some seeds for free. The concept behind the event is to get people interested in gardening and show why it's important to grow your own food and plants.

This is the first year Transition Brockville helped organize Seedy Saturday and volunteer Chris Stesky pointed out she has noticed a growing movement of people wanting to supply their own food amidst tough economic times and climate issues like the drought in California that have increased the price of particular imported goods.

One appropriate use for old tires is in Earthship homes. Earthships are passive solar homes that are built largely with used tires. Another common reuse application for old tires is garden bed construction, in which florae are planted in soil contained by old tires. A question we frequently receive during our free CC...

TBSL shelves at Leeds County Books
Thanks to generous donor Brenda Poole, 15 new titles will be added this month to the TB Sustainability Library. The TBSL is open and operating seven days a week at Leeds County Books, 73 King Street West in Brockville. This collection 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.

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".

Steering Committee

  • Our Steering Committee normally meets at 7:00 pm on the second Wednesday of the month at Bud's on the Bay, 17 Broad Street. Next month will be an exception, with the meeting to be held on Thursday, April 14, at 10:00 am. 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

No Idling sign

The call for healthier school travel

Active Brockville / Alan Medcalf / 27 February 2016
Much research has been done for the health and learning benefits of walking or cycling to school. It's also shown that a significant "rush hour" traffic load is comprised of people driving kids to school, most often very short distances. Yet recently published research delves into the qu...

Going green gets easier

Kingston Whig-Standard / Ian MacAlpine / 07 March 2016
With the intention of helping Kingston businesses and organizations become more environmentally conscious, Sustainable Kingston will be launching a new initiative on Thursday afternoon. The program, Green Economy Kingston, will provide support, resources and networks for businesses and or...


Ontario's long awaited cap-and-trade plan

Lexology / Stikeman Elliott LLP / 26 February 2016
Yesterday, the provincial government released its 2016 Ontario Budget and with it came the details of their much anticipated cap-and-trade plan. The plan, which will be governed by the Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act, will be linked to existing cap-and-trade systems in Quebe...

Impact of Ontario's cap-and-trade plan on gasoline prices

Transition Brockville / 01 March 2016
Some back-of-the-napkin calculations by Alan Medcalf: It looks like the additional cost at the pumps will start at $0.043/litre. NRC estimates that the average vehicle produces 2.3kg/CO2 per litre burned, which means that CO2 will be priced into the pumps at $18.70/metric ton of CO2 – quite a bit below ...

Sudbury food forest takes step forward

Sudbury Star / Jim Moodie / 08 March 2016
On Monday, Carrie Regenstreif of Fruit For All spelled out her vision for a community food forest to a dozen local green thumbs and 100-mile dieters at a meeting in downtown Sudbury. "A food forest, in general, is an area that's planned very carefully to mimic a natural forest," she said. "The plants ...

Ontario investing in energy literacy

Ministry of Energy / 19 February 2016
Ontario is investing $1.35 million over the next three years to educate students on ways to conserve energy and help fight climate change through the Ontario EcoSchools program. Ontario EcoSchools is an environmental education and certification program for students in kindergarten to grade 12. Program res...

Tanker truck fallen through ice

Giant metaphor crashes through the ice in Canada's North

cantech letter / Nick Waddell / 07 March 2016
An 80-thousand pound metaphor crashed through the ice in the Northwest Territories Saturday in the form of an off-white Western Star fuel tanker. The CBC reports that the tanker was carrying heating fuel to Deline, a town of about 500 near the Great Bear Lake. The accident happened just three days...

SolarShare Co-operative announced today that it has hit the $15 million mark in sales of its Solar Bonds – the largest investment amount a renewable energy co-op has ever raised in Canada. The milestone is reflective of the public's growing interest in investments that make positive environmental and social i...

Our Warming World
Our Warming World looks at the everyday ways environmental change is impacting Canadians. From the effects of global warming on tourism to aquatic osteoporosis in Canada's lakes, this series looks at all the little ways in which we interact with our changing natural world.

Map of 72-hour rainfall in southern U.S.

Mangled jet stream aims river of moisture at central US / 09 March 2016
Over the past few weeks, a record warm El Nino has been slowly cooling down in the Equatorial Pacific. One of the top three strongest events on record, this particular warming of sea surfaces in the Pacific coincided with never before seen global heat as atmospheric CO2 levels spiked to above 405 parts per million on some days during February and March. The record warm sea surface and atmosphere held a never before seen excess of water vapor and moisture in suspension – primarily over the Equatorial Ocean zones. And as the world hit peak temperatures during early March and began to back off a little, some of that massive excess of moisture was bound to wring out somewhere. For such events, all you really need is a trigger...

Global warming basics: What has changed?

Open Mind / 04 March 2016
I started the "Global Warming Basics" posts specifically to help people who are interested in what's going on, wondering whether we should do something about it and what, but want to keep things simple. My purpose isn't to turn you into a scientist – it's just to give you enough information to make sense out...

Climate change is wreaking havoc on our mental health

Toronto Star / Tyler Hamilton / 28 February 2016
As a provincial coroner and past palliative care physician, Dr. David Ouchterlony has seen suffering and death up close, experiences that have occasionally led to brief moments of sadness. But Ouchterlony describes such emotions as "trivial" compared to the dread he feels when thoughts about c...

Map of 72-hour rainfall in southern U.S.

Growing up free: Inspiring a love of nature

Mother Earth News / Bryan Welch / 07 March 2014
"What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?" – E.M. Forster (1879 – 1970) I think I'll join Richard Louv in calling for universal experiences in the natural world as a fundamental part of every child's education. Ex...

Jam on: The universal jam recipe

Mother Earth News / Kevin West / 09 February 2016
I call this a Universal Jam Recipe because it works with any fruit (other than citrus, which is a somewhat different beast). You can make jam with whatever grows well where you live. Now, in May and June, strawberries and rhubarb are available in much of the country; California already has cherri...

Seasoning and maintaining your cast-iron skillet

Mother Earth News / Kirsten Lie-Nielsen, Days Ferry Organics / 26 January 2016
Home cooks and chefs alike rave about using cast iron in the kitchen. The sturdy, durable skillets are an ideal way to cook a wide variety of meals. A skillet in the kitchen will quickly become integral to your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Why is cast iron so desi...

25 best plants to grow in the veggie garden

Mother Earth News / Sharon Astyk / November 2015
There are a million gardening books out there to tell you how to grow perfect tomatoes and lettuces. And that's important – in my house, salsa is a food group. For those of us attempting to grow a large portion of our calories ourselves, however, tomatoes and lettuce are not sufficient – we ...

Seed starting: 12 easy setups for home gardeners

Mother Earth News / Shelley Stonebrook / December 2015/January 2016
Growing your own seedlings indoors can save you big bucks, as well as open up a whole new world of crop variety options. When you start seeds at home, you aren't limited to the, well, "garden variety" plants available at most garden centers. You can order seeds of anything...

Community gardens as places of connection and empowerment / Annah MacKenzie / 03 March 2016
Since their origin in US cities at the end of the 19th century, the popularity of community gardens has tended to increase during periods of crisis. And as we face new challenges such as the rising rates of chronic health issues like obesity, heart disease, and depression, along with socioeconomic...

Randy Buchanan made heating unit from pop cans, aluminum eavestrough downspouts, old window.

  Village Vancouver – How can a big city become a village?

Peak Moment TV / 26 February 2016
How do you empower an entire metropolis to transition towards more localized living in a post-petroleum era? Founder Ross Moster and board members Ann Pacey and Rand Chatterjee of Village Vancouver (B.C.) Transition Society view Vancouver as a network of neighborhood-sized villages. They encourage neighbors ...


GreenProfit Conference 2016

WHEN: Monday, March 21
WHERE: Four Points By Sheraton, 285 King Street, Kingston

Some of the topics being addressing at this year's GreenProfit include:
  • The Future of Rooftop Solar in Ontario
  • Rural Communitiesand Renewable Energy
  • Renewable Energy's Next Generation
  • Energy Storage and Our Sustainable Energy Future
  • Municipalities and Energy Policy
More info:

Growing Hops in Ontario

Two Rivers Food Hub
WHEN: Monday, March 21, 9:30 am - noon
WHERE: Two Rivers Food Hub, 361 Queen Street, Unit 5000, Smiths Falls

Interested in growing hops? Not sure where to start? This workshop is for you! With an explosion in craft breweries in Ontario, as well as strong demand for locally sourced ingredients, now is a perfect time to consider the option of growing hops. This in depth all day workshop will help you navigate the path towards successful hops production. Exciting speakers include OMAFRA agronomy experts, Nicholas Schaut from Big Head Hops as a processor, Ron Brennan from Old 4th Hop Yard as a grower, and brewers from Beaus All Natural Brewery.

This event is organized by the Two Rivers Food Hub, Just Food and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Lunch provided. Seating is limited. Cost is $30.00 (includes fees and HST). Register at

Getting Started in Vegetable Gardening

Country Roads Community Health Centre
WHEN: Thursday, March 24, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
WHERE: Country Roads Community Health Centre, 4319 Cove Rd, Portland

Picking a garden type (container, raised bed, etc.), deciding what to plant, starting seeds, and preparing an in-ground site. Featuring local organic gardener Dave Alguire.

OPEN TO EVERYONE - new and experienced vegetable gardeners
How to register: Contact Anne at 613-359-6000 or at

Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit 2016

WHEN: Wednesday, April 13
WHERE: North Grenville Municipal Centre, 285 County Rd 44, Kemptville
  • Local and Provincial 'Happenings' and Updates
  • Cycling
  • Pedestrian Walkways and Audit
  • Share the Road
  • Trails
  • Lunch break feature: Mayor's Slow Bike Race
Further details and registration info to come soon.

Ensuring a Productive and Successful Garden

Country Roads Community Health Centre
WHEN: Thursday, April 14, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
WHERE: Country Roads Community Health Centre, 4319 Cove Rd, Portland

Simple organic techniques and soil fertility (composting, mulching, cover crops), setting out seedlings, using floating row covers, etc. Featuring local organic gardener Dave Alguire.

OPEN TO EVERYONE - new and experienced vegetable gardeners
How to register: Contact Anne at 613-359-6000 or at

9th Annual North Grenville Sustainability Fair and Market

Sustainable North Grenville
WHEN: Sunday, April 17, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
WHERE: North Grenville Municipal Centre, 285 County Road #44, Kemptville

Discover great ideas for your Greener Lifestyle!
  • Source local green products and services
  • Savour local and organic foods
  • Create in the kid's area
  • Enjoy local live music
  • Electric vehicles on display
Free admission! For information, to book a table or to volunteer, please contact Jeanne or Clare at

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.