Newsletter 114, 18 April 2016

Crushing the global record for hottest start of any year

Climate Progress / Joe Romm / 15 April 2016
Global map of temperature anomalies
NASA reports that this was the hottest three-month start (January to March) of any year on record. It beat the previous record — just set in 2015 — by a stunning 0.7°F (0.39°C). Normally, such multi-month records are measured in the hundredths of a degree.

Last month was the hottest February on record by far. It followed the hottest January on record by far, which followed the hottest December by far, which followed the hottest November on record by far, which followed the hottest October on record by far. Some may detect a pattern here.

We reported two weeks ago that "Last Month Was The Hottest March In The Global Satellite Record." It was also the hottest March on record — by far — in the dataset of the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), as the World Meteorological Organization tweeted Thursday.


Next up: Mallorytown-area couple describes living off the grid

Kaldeway residence

Peter and Annette Kaldeway know what it's like to power their lives on at most five kilowatt hours a day.

For the past three years they've been living in an off-grid house they built on a rural property in the Mallorytown area. They use solar panels and wind power to generate their electricity; they collect rain water in cisterns, and cook and heat with a wood-burning cookstove. They have a large vegetable garden and from it put up preserves for winter consumption. They also forage the woods for some edibles.

Peter, a retired chemical plant operator, will describe in some detail the systems they use to generate their own electricity and provide water without using a well.

Annette will talk about the "lifestyle" of off-grid living and how they use the gifts of nature to their advantage in many ways for their everyday life. She cooks most meals in winter on the wood cookstove, which also (along with sunlight through south-facing windows) heats the house.

Many of the tasks that keep their lives running smoothly are shared, and that sense of working together with a common purpose is rewarding for them.

Following their talk, the Kaldeways will invite the audience to ask questions. Everyone is welcome at this free public presentation.

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

Upcoming Presentations

May 29: Feature documentary: This Changes Everything*
June 26: TBA

*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.

Cycling Network Petition

TB's online petition in favour of protected biking lanes on Laurier Blvd. was presented to the City's Finance, Administration and Operations committee at its meeting on Tuesday, March 15. In presenting the petition, TB coordinator Hugh Campbell used the time available to read many of the supportive comments made by petition signers.

Implementation of Phase One of the cycling advisory committee's cycling network plan will continue, however the Laurier component may be delayed somewhat. It will be subject to further review by the committee and City, working with partners like Brockville Police, Fire Dept, Safe Communities, Health Unit and others, and considering constructive input from residents.

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 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 Tuesday, May 10, at 10:00 am. Our SC meetings are open and anyone may attend.

  • 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


Progress on community hub

Recorder & Times / Ronald Zajac / 30 March 2016
A "community hub" at the Bartholomew Street housing complex should be open and operational by the end of April, the city police force's point person on the project said Wednesday. Meanwhile, another community hub project could take shape in the city's downtown core, added Brockville ...

Vision for renewed Kemptville College gets backing from BDO

Leeds Grenville Economic Development eNews / 05 April 2016
Top accounting firm BDO Canada is endorsing the Municipality of North Grenville's vision for a re-invented Kemptville College. The BDO Business Assessment analysis supports the municipality's plan to create a non-profit, multi-tenant education and community hub focused on low-carbon i...

Increasing the grain value chain in E. Ontario

Eastern Ontario AgriNews / Sandy Burns / March 2016
There's an increasing demand for local, organic food, but growing that market in Eastern Ontario comes with its own set of challenges. It takes the collaboration of producers, processors and wholesalers to meet those challenges and promote growth. This was the key message at the Increasing t...

Bushgarden Farmstead Cheese enhancing 5th-gen dairy farm

Leeds Grenville Economic Development eNews / 15 March 2016
ELGIN - Young entrepreneur and farmer Nigel Smith has found a way to enhance operations on his family's century-plus dairy farm by re-introducing cheese making, a craft his great grandfather once excelled in. "The more I researched it, the more fun cheese became," Nigel says of his de...

City called a leader in green innovation

Kingston Whig / Elliot Ferguson / 30 March 2016
Forward Water Technologies, a company spun off from GreenCentre Canada, was last year selected as a top 10 Innovator in the LAUNCH System Challenge, a platform founded by NASA, Nike, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. Department of State. Forward Water Technologi...

TBSL shelves at Leeds County Books

Welcome to Climate Watch

TVO / 14 March 2016
Welcome to's hub for coverage of our changing climate and the way people, governments and businesses in Ontario are responding to it. We're interested in how the climate changes are affecting people in Ontario — the human impact of warmer weather and more frequent storms. Animal migrations are being disrupted i...


Increasingly hard to feed our families

Globe and Mail / Murat Yükselir, Evan Annett / 05 April 2016
With food prices rising, middle-class Canadians say they're feeling the pinch too. Food prices are rising, the loonie isn't going as far as it used to, and Canadians of all income levels say it's increasingly hard to feed their families, according to a new Angus Reid Institut...

Herbicide resistance major problem in Canada

The Western Producer / Robin Booker / 17 March 2016
Canada places third on the list of countries with the highest number of herbicide resistant weeds. North America has more resistant weeds than other continent. Ian Heap, in charge of an international survey of herbicide resistant weeds, said herbicide resistance is having a major e...

MEC commits to a 100% renewable powered future

On Co-op / Ontario's Co-op Current / 24 March 2016
Bullfrog Power®, Canada's leading green energy provider, and Mountain Equipment Co-op, Canada's leading outdoor retailer, are announcing a significant expansion of their environmental partnership. MEC is committing to a 100 per cent renewably powered future by choosing both green electricity an...

Little environmental diligence from builders and homeowners

Globe and Mail / John Lorinc / 16 March 2016
While estimates vary, climate experts say that buildings account for about 20 to 30 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions (the figure varies depending on the source of the electricity used to heat, cool and light buildings). Residential homes account for about half that amount, according to federal...


How is spring unfolding this year?

National Phenology Network
The Extended Spring Index models are a powerful way to track the progression of spring across the continent. This year, we are applying these models to gridded temperature data to map the start of spring, as represented by these models, on a fine scale. [This] map shows how different this year's progress of the lea...

Carbon emission release rate 'unprecedented' in past 66m years

The Guardian / Damian Carrington / 21 March 2016
Humanity is pumping climate-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere 10 times faster than at any point in the past 66m years, according to new research. The revelation shows the world has entered "uncharted territory" and that the consequences for life on land and in the oceans may be mor...

TBSL shelves at Leeds County Books

Arctic sea ice extent breaks record low for winter

The Guardian / Suzanne Goldenberg / 28 March 2016
A record expanse of Arctic sea never froze over this winter and remained open water as a season of freakishly high temperatures produced deep – and likely irreversible – changes on the far north. Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre said on Monday that the sea ice cover att...

The boom and bust of sub prime oil and natural gas

CREDO / Brian Davey / 23 March 2016
The aim of this article is to show that the shale industry, whether extracting oil or gas, has never been financially sustainable. All around the world it has consistently disappointed profit expectations. Even though it has produced considerable quantities of oil and gas, and enough to influence oil and gas p...

Our economic growth system is reaching limits in a strange way

Our Finite World / Gail Tverberg / 17 March 2016
We are experiencing a world economy that seems to be reaching limits, but the symptoms are not what peak oil groups warned about. Instead of high prices and lack of supply, we are facing indirect problems brought on by our high consumption of energy products. In my view, we have a double pump prob...


How to explain climate change to your kids

Romper / Katherine Don / 28 March 2016
As the earth continues to warm and the polar ice caps continue to melt, the question of how to explain climate change to your kids has become a real parenting issue. On the one hand, being real about climate change is an important aspect of raising a responsible, knowledgable citizen of the world. On the ot...

The unbearable hypocrisy of being an environmentalist

The Guardian / Madeleine Somerville / 05 April 2016
This tension is familiar in the lives of most environmentalists. Some own cars; some still eat meat. The more famous in our midst regularly fly great distances to speak about the horrific impact of carbon emissions – such as the 53lb of CO2 released by their airplanes with each and every mile traveled. This unbearable hypocrisy is a struggle for the individual and a delight for the critic, yet it seems both necessary and inescapable...

REEP GREEN Solutions is offering a free online course on how to make your home more energy efficient. Through a series of interactive videos and blog posts, the course walks homeowners through steps to make their homes more comfortable, save money, and help slow climate change. The first lesson provides an overview of ...

Answers to your most common solar energy questions

Mother Earth News / Simone Garneau / 14 March 2016
Now that spring is here, many homeowners are thinking about taking advantage of the warmer weather and longer days to tackle some home improvement projects. You don't need to look very far to find a great opportunity to increase the value of your home and save you money in the long run – jus...

Growing and cooking with parsnips and sorrel

Mother Earth News / Barbara Damrosch / April/May 2016
Sorrel is the horse to bet on — so early that it's up as snowdrops bloom. What a welcome sight it is! When it comes, we're ready to use its lemony flavor to spark up salads and give a fresh taste to soups. Meanwhile, the root cellar empties out as remaining stores turn spongy and spr...

Start your own sweet potato slips

Food Skills for Self Sufficiency
Starting your own sweet potato slips is easy, and it's an interesting process to watch. When I was a kid, my grandmother used to start her own sweet potato vines using a potato left over from the previous year's crop. I don't know how many years she maintained the same line of plants, but I know she did it every ...

A step-by-step guide to vermicomposting

Mother Earth News / Mary Appelhof / July/August 1983
My kitchen trash used to smell awful! Coffee grounds, banana peels, lettuce leaves, onion trimmings, orange peels, and plate scrapings all joined with an accumulation of papers, cans, plastic wraps, jars, and bottle caps to produce an unpleasant—and unusable—collection of refuse. Although...

The benefits of earthworms and how to attract them

Mother Earth News / Joel Salatin / April/May 2016
Joel Salatin is in awe of the benefits of earthworms and worm castings on Polyface Farms, where the hard-working critters boost soil health and increase farm productivity. He offers tips on how to attract earthworms to your farm or homestead. What fascinates you? What warrants your fixation? A...

Real life hacks to cut your carbon footprint

Yes! Magazine / Peter Kalmus / 14 March 2016
After estimating how his daily actions contributed to global warming, this NASA scientist found a better way to live. How does your carbon footprint stack up? Measure your impact with our emissions calculator. Many of the actions we take in our daily lives contribute to global warming. When we star...

5 ways nature boosts happiness, according to science

treehugger / Melissa Breyer / 18 March 2016
Anyone who has ever stepped foot in the forest or dipped a toe in a lake likely knows this, but nature is a happy-maker. With its fresh air and soothing appeal to all the senses, it is a sly mesmerist who can erase stress and instill wellbeing in a manner of minutes. Maybe you've gathered this on you...


  Sustainable Building Essentials Series

New Society Publishers
The Sustainable Building Essentials Series covers the full range of natural and green building techniques with a focus on sustainable materials and methods and code compliance. Firmly rooted in sound building science and drawing on decades of experience, these large-format, highly-illustrated manuals deliver comprehensive,...

  Farming the sea

Patrick Mustain / 2015
Bren Smith, owner of Connecticut-based Thimble Island Oyster Company, and director of the organization Greenwave, started growing kelp and shellfish as a reaction to several crises he faced in his own life: overfishing, climate change, and rampant unemployment in the fishing industry.

  Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms video abstract

Earth Institute Columbia University / James Hansen et al / 21 March 2016
Continued high fossil fuel emissions this century are predicted to yield: (1) cooling of the Southern Ocean, especially in the Western Hemisphere, (2) slowing of the Southern Ocean overturning circulation, warming of the ice shelves, and growing ice sheet mass loss, (3)...

  City hosts emergency-preparedness session

CKWS Newswatch / 22 March 2016
Scott Davis/City of Kingston: "We know that severe weather, extreme events, is increasing in frequency, we know that the possibilities of transportation emergency, whether it be 401, rail is high on our risk analysis, so we want to be prepared for those."

  David Suzuki reflects on his last 80 years

The National / 16 March 2016
Environmentalist David Suzuki sits down with Peter Mansbridge as he prepares for his 80th birthday.


Webinar: The Transition Movement in Canada

Dr. Blake Poland, University of Toronto
WHEN: Tuesday, April 19, 12 noon - 1:30 pm
WHERE: Online

A 3-year study on the emergence of Transition Initiatives in Canada is coming to a close and we want to share what we've been learning in this webinar and offer a space for live discussion. This is about your experience of working with(in) the Transition movement. Whether you are a Transition Initiative co-founder, member, community partner, or curious citizen, you will come away with fresh insights gained by research with nearly 100 Transition Initiatives across the country!

The webinar will start with a presentation of highlights of the study by Dr. Blake Poland, lead investigator from the University of Toronto, followed by responses/comments from expert panellists, Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition movement, and Transition trainer Michelle Colussi, from the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal. Questions from the audience will also be welcomed to contribute to the dialogue.


Friendly Garden Pest and Weed Control

Athens Garden Club
WHEN: Tuesday, April 19, 7:00 pm
WHERE: Athens District High School, 21 Church Street, Athens

Are you having problems with Japanese beetles or other pesky bugs in your garden? Are you wondering how to control weeds without harming the environment? Please join us at the next meeting of the Athens Garden Club where Mary Sherman Reid of Green Thumb Garden Centre will discuss friendly ways to control bugs and weeds without using chemical pesticides and herbicides. Please bring your questions and worst offenders to the meeting for the discussion period. Everyone welcome!

More info:

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:

SMARTenergy Tour - Straw Bale Construction

SMARTNet Alliance
WHEN: Saturday, April 23, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
WHERE: Solacity Inc., 825 Van Buren Street, Kemptville

Come and learn all about the construction of a straw bale warehouse/office. Join SMARTNet Alliance on Saturday, April 23, 2016 as we head over to Solacity to learn all about the features the owners implemented to build their straw bale warehouse/office. The owners will share their experience and knowledge of building the straw bale warehouse which includes:

  • Straw bale walls
  • Passive solar and geothermal and hydronic heating
  • Daylighting with light-shelves to provide office lighting
  • Designed for solar on the roof with carbon-neutral (net-zero) potential
  • VERY energy efficient through high insulation, air-sealing etc.
  • and many more features!

More info: registration-21790886127

Brockville Community Cleanup

Cleanup organizing committee
WHEN: Saturday, April 30, 9:00 am - noon
WHERE: City-wide

The Brockville Community Wide Clean-up organizing committee is comprised of volunteer community members and students. Each year, the committee coordinates with City of Brockville staff and with the financial support from environmentally conscious businesses, in an effort make our city clean.

The greatest efforts come directly from local volunteers and neighbours, who pitch-in armed with rakes and garbage bags. Each year this event draws a few hundred volunteers, removing tonnes of garbage and recyclable rubbish from our parks and green spaces.

Sign-up and more info:

Culture Days info session

WHEN: Thursday, May 5, 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
WHERE: Brockville Public Library, 23 Buell Street, Brockville

Culture Days invites everyone to explore, discover and participate in arts and culture in every community across the country. In 2015, more than 2 million people participated in 7,600 activities in nearly 900 cities and towns. Last year, more than 2000 activities were presented across Ontario.

This year's Culture Days weekend will take place on September 30, October 1 and 2, 2016. Once again, the event will feature free, hands-on, interactive activities that invite the public to participate "behind the scenes"—and to discover the world of artists, creators, historians, architects, curators, and designers at work in their community.

As a grassroots, collaborative movement, Culture Days relies on your participation. Whether as an arts or cultural organization, an artist, a municipality, a school, a citizen, a business person…everyone can play a role in shaping this event. So get involved!

More info:

Keeping the Garden Going

Country Roads Community Health Centre
WHEN: Thursday, May 5, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
WHERE: Country Roads Community Health Centre, 4319 Cove Road, Portland

Organic pest control, watering, weeding and mulching, harvesting the early crops, and succession planting for a fall crop. OPEN TO EVERYONE - new and experienced vegetable gardeners

Registration: Contact Anne at 613-359-6000 or

Brockville Farmers Market opens

WHEN: Saturday, May 7, 8:00 am
WHERE: Market Street West, Brockville

Butterflies in the Garden

Gananoque Horticultural Society
WHEN: Wednesday, May 11, 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
WHERE: Herbert St. Entrance, Carveth Care, 375 James St., Gananoque

The May meeting of the Gananoque Horticultural Society features the topic of Butterflies in the Garden. Dave Cybulski of The Garden of Hope will suggest plants to bring butterflies into our gardens. Visitors welcome! We Are Green. Please bring a mug.

More info:

Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit

Healthy Communities Partnership
WHEN: Friday, May 13
WHERE: North Grenville Municipal Centre, 285 Cty Rd 44, Kemptville

Are you interested in living in a healthy active community? One that is safe for walking and cycling? Learning how towns are transforming themselves into a more livable place? Are you an engaged citizen interested in living in a town like this? Learn about these simple concepts that make towns healthier, more vibrant and stronger economically. Perhaps you're a downtown business person, discover the economic potential of pedestrian and cycle friendly communities? Or a town planner or staff person, learn best practice techniques of others building healthier towns. Maybe you're a resident that wants to be able to get around your community more easily and safely on foot or on a bike. Join us at the Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit.

More info and registration:
Deadline for registration is May 6th, 2016.

Annual Plant Sale

Gananoque Horticultural Society
WHEN: Saturday, May 14, 8:30 am - 11:00 am
WHERE: Gananoque Recreation Centre, 100 King St. E., Gananoque

Dig up your extra plants to donate or just come and find something new for your garden. Free advice on "how to grow". All monies raised support local Horticultural Society projects.

More info: http://www.

Container Gardens, Raised Beds and Small Spaces

Athens Garden Club
WHEN: Tuesday, May 17, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
WHERE: Athens District High School, 21 Church Street, Athens

Donna White of Green Things will be discussing the many creative ways we can plant everything from flowers, to herbs, to vegetables in containers or raised beds. She will be doing a demo and providing ideas on putting together a container to enhance your patio or garden. Everyone welcome!

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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